Star Wars Rebels is the first big building block in the revamped, rapidly expanding Star Wars universe that Disney set up after buying Lucasfilm for an absurd amount of money a few years back. As a result of their new everything-is-connected approach, the action you see in the new animated series is going to have a far-reaching impact, and we’re already seeing key players from the franchise pop up. Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared in the first episode, C-3PO and R2-D2 showed up in the second, and now we’ve got your first look at the James Earl Jones-voiced Darth Vader you’ll be able to see shortly. And just for the hell of it, there are also a behind the scenes looks and new TV spots.
We heard a while back that Vader, complete with vocals by Jones, which is the villain’s natural state, is going to appear on Rebels, but it’s not in the form you might assume. He’s not slated to show up in a new episode, rather in an additional scene added into the series premiere, “Spark of Rebellion,” that will air on ABC on October 26.
The main villain, or at least the looming big bad, in the series is the Inquisitor, who could figure into upcoming installments, like Episode VII. Vader reportedly appears in an additional scene that is designed to flesh out this character some, as he only shows up at the very end of the debut. And what better way to make a character seem evil as hell than by linking him up with Darth Vader? This isn’t the Luke-I’m-your-father, emotion-having Vader we see later on in the original trilogy, this is Vader at the height of his stone-cold evil, force-choking-mother-fuckers phase.
This image of Vader—this is how we imagined he would appear—was tweeted by Dave Prowse himself, better known as the English body builder and actor who was the guy in the suit for the character through the original trilogy. While it doesn’t tell us much, this is ominous as all hell, and, like the rest of Rebels, has that distinct Star Wars feel that the prequels lack.
I’m curious to see what, if anything, Vader’s appearance here means for the expanding universe. We’ve seen concept art of his charred helmet from Episode VII, as well as heard rumors that he could appear in a flashback, so it’s going to be interesting to see what comes of all of this. If he does in fact show up, we hope that Jones will once again provide the voice. Otherwise it just won’t be the same.
Rebels is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and shows the Empire tightening its grip on the galaxy. In this oppressive environment, pockets of resistance arise, forming what will ultimately become the Rebel Alliance. This first TV spot shows off a couple of these insurgents, Hera and Sabine, and their exploits.
The second spot introduces the series as a whole, shows some of the main characters, both heroes and villains, and gives you a general idea of what’s going on and what you can expect.
And finally, this last video is an episode of Rebels Recon, a web series that dives into the action behind the scenes of the series. This one focuses on the first proper episode, “Droids in Distress,” interviews key players, including the likes of showrunner Dave Filoni, and explores various aspects of the show. All in all, it gives you a nice glimpse at the series beyond just what you see on your TV.