This past weekend at New York Comic Con, one of the biggest surprises was the release of many of the various details on the upcoming Lucasfilm animated series Star Wars: Rebels, which is set to air towards the end of 2014. While most of the attention is being paid to every rumor surrounding Episode VII, Star Wars: Rebels will in fact be the first Star Wars product from the House of Mouse.
Up until now, all we’ve known is that the show is set “some time” after the last animated series, The Clone Wars, which ended abruptly after the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, and that the young rebels of the series would have a ship named “The Ghost.” And that’s all we knew, until this weekend.
Although Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo and executive producer David Filoni kept mum on details on who the protagonists would be on this series (rumor has it an older Asohka Tano from The Clone Wars will figure into it somehow), at New York Comic Con they revealed plenty of other details, including the name of the primary location, a frontier world called Lothal. The series will be set about fourteen years after the events of Episode III, and about five years from the events of Episode IV: A New Hope. During this time period, for many citizens, the Galactic Empire has, in a lot of ways, been a welcome change for the galaxy – at least for citizens in systems close to Coruscant, where it’s provided “security and stability, no matter the cost.” There is an almost fanatical devotion to the Empire, especially among the citizens of the core planets.
In fact, the panel officially answered a long standing Star Wars fan question: The Stormtroopers from the classic trilogy are apparently not clones. “Clone Troopers basically stopped production after the Clone Wars ended; with Stormtroopers, they’re citizens that volunteered. The lab-grown Clone Troopers had too much individuality, ultimately, and the Emperor decided you can find better loyalty from fervent patriots who volunteered.”
Another great aspect that was revealed was that much of the visual design for the show came from old concept paintings from the conceptual artist for the classic trilogy, the late Ralph McQuarrie. The design team is going out of their way to match the look of the original trilogy as much as possible, especially McQuarrie’s art. And it isn’t just the old concept art they’re drawing inspiration from, it’s from the old Kenner toys from the 1970s, too. One of the vehicles from the old toy line, the Imperial troop transport, was never featured in any of the movies, but will be brought to life some thirty five years later. Just how big of a bunch of fanboys are the team behind this show? So much so that there’s even a small extra little piece on the Stormtroopers guns on the series, because the old toys had a little “bump” on them not seen in any of the movies.
But the BIG reveal of the panel was that of the main villain – The Imperial Inquisitor. Tasked by Darth Vader himself to hunt down and kill the last few remaining Jedi, and sporting a Darth Maul-esque double lightsaber of his own, it appears the Inquistor (one of many it seems) is going to make life very difficult for our rebel heroes, whoever they may be. But you can now almost count a Jedi among the main principal cast, if only for this reason. Of course, fans at the panel asked about characters like Darth Vader and Princess Leia, both of who are around during this time period, and although Hidalgo and Filoni remained mum on the subject, I’d bet real money both will show up at some point-especially Darth Vader.
So has all this been enough to whet your appetite, Star Wars buffs? Or are you so over the Galaxy far, far away at this point that you’ve given up all hope? Chime in below.