Simon Kinberg keeps busy. He works on films about superheroes, mutants, and astronauts, and he gets to visit the galaxy far, far away on a regular basis. In short, he toils away in the kinds of playgrounds many of us dream about visiting. One of his ongoing projects is serving as executive producer on Star Wars Rebels. The animated series set in the years before A New Hope tells the story of the burgeoning Rebel Alliance through the perspective of one group of rebels.
Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels made its debut in June, and the season will continue on October 14. Exciting developments are ahead: Ahsoka has questions about Darth Vader, fan favorite clones from Star Wars: The Clone Wars are coming into the picture, and there are new villains for the Ghost crew to face. I spoke with Kinberg about some of the things we can expect to see in the upcoming season:
Nerdist: We’re just starting to see Season 2 of Rebels, but are you done with production already?
Simon Kinberg: Are we done with production? No, there’s still some stuff that we might be tweaking. But we’re certainly done with the development of the season.
N: In the preview for the upcoming clone episode, we see that Ahsoka is going in search of answers in regards to Darth Vader. Does that change her mission–does she become more preoccupied with Vader rather than the Rebellion?
SK: In her mission, she does sense this presence, and that’s become a big part of the second season. And yeah, it’s something that we explore and that relationship is something that we definitely get into in a big way in this season. She is very committed to the Rebellion, but she is also drawn toward this darker mystery that she feels she needs to solve.
N: Ahsoka revealed her identity to the Ghost crew, but does everyone in the Rebellion know that Ahsoka is Fulcrum or the identity of Fulcrum still a mystery to others?
SK: I think it’s still a mystery to some people. But our guys, like you say, are certainly aware of her. And the scope and reach of the Rebellion and the communication within the different rebel cells is something that is equally defined in the show as exploring a sort of origin of it and extent of it. We’re watching it grow. It’s not like it’s an insta-rebellion that just happened at the end of Season 1. It is something that continues to grow over future seasons. We have a lot of story to tell to see the alliance grow.
N: In the Season 2 premiere, we saw Kanan isn’t used to being back in an organization with rules. What challenges will he face as he starts working more with the Rebellion?
SK: It is the fundamental conflict with Kanan. He doesn’t really want and doesn’t trust larger organizations and anything that feels militaristic to him. Whereas Hera is more open to that. It creates a real challenge in their relationship, and it is something that he questions over the span of the whole season. He’s obviously distrustful of clones for obvious reasons as a Jedi. That relationship between Kanan and clones is a really big part of this season.
N: Well, sure. The last time he saw them it was pretty life-changing and scarring.
SK: Yes, it was life-shattering, as it was for all Jedi–at least the ones that didn’t have their lives ended. It’s a jarring thing to suddenly find himself on the same side as some of them.
N: Given that Kanan is Ezra’s teacher, how does his skepticism about the clones affect Ezra?
SK: Ezra doesn’t have the same predisposition exactly that Kanan has. He didn’t live through it the same way. So, Ezra is a little bit more open to them. That creates some conflict between Ezra and Kanan. Ezra is just all about taking on the Empire by any means and will take pretty much whatever help they can get, but Kanan is more distrustful. Ezra also struggles more with the idea of being a Jedi, and what it means, and what the most effective way to battle the Empire is. Ezra is more open, Kanan is more closed. That disagreement creates a lot of fodder for the season. It’s an interesting thing to invert the dynamic so Ezra is the one who’s a little more open and trusting, and Kanan is the one who’s shutting down a little bit.
N: You’re in a unique position. Everyone works with Story Group, but you’re actually working on the films as well. Can you talk about the potential of Rebels characters appearing in Rogue One since they take place in the same time period?
SK: There’s certainly potential for it. And as a fan of everything that Lucasfilm’s doing, it’d be fun to see different characters pop up across different stories. But the thing we’re really focused on is just making sure there is real continuity, that it is a unified universe from a story perspective, where anything that happens in Rebels is canon, in the same way as the original movies or prequels, the Clone Wars, and the movies going forward. There’s just a lot of care that’s taken to make sure that whatever happens in whatever different story right now is acknowledged, and that it actually feels like a coherent world or galaxy.
The idea of characters actually popping up or transferring from animation to live-action and live-action to animation, we’re obviously open to because we have a lot of characters from the original movie and actually prequels who pop up in Rebels as substantial characters. That was true in the first season and will continue to be true in the second season, I’d say. Our second season is more Clone Wars, but there are lots of characters from the original movies too, like Vader, who will be a big part of the show now. So we’ve talked about it, and the Lucasfilm folks are–I’ve never seen anything like it, where they’re so good at telling story over not just different media, but completely different worlds. It’s not just TV and animation and live-action and features, but it’s theme park attractions and comic books and novels and games and merchandise. All of it is incredibly well unified and planned. I’m not a part of all of that. I’m a part of some of it, and it’s neat to watch them work.
Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels picks back up on Disney XD on October 14 at 9:30pm ET/PT.