Star Wars Rebels is the first new addition to the canon since Disney bought Lucasfilm a few years back, and it certainly appears that people were hungry for new adventures in that far, far away galaxy. Along with positive reviews, the series debut garnered record ratings, and in advance of tonight’s new episode, we’ve got a couple of new clips and two new behind the scenes videos to fill the time between now and then.
Rebels actually premiered a few weeks back with the hour-long “movie” episode “Spark of Rebellion,” but the series proper didn’t truly start until last Monday with “Droids in Distress.” The episode scored 1.03 million viewers, making it Disney XD’s highest rated series debut since the network began back in 1999. Half of these viewers fell in the target 6-14 demographic, but there were quite a few older folks watching as well, as one of the things Rebels has been praised for is capturing not only the look, but the feel of the original trilogy.
Though it may be obviously aimed at kids—it’s a lot of fun, but don’t expect too much subtly or sophistication—but there is still some legitimate peril. This is readily apparent in this new clip above, which features Sabine and Hera poking around in the dark and running afoul of some nasty nocturnal creatures. These two characters are part of a group of insurgents standing up to the Empire as the evil entity tightens its grip on the galaxy. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, in the series you get to see the first inklings of what ultimately becomes the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy.
Then there’s this clip of Kanan, the Jedi leader of the core group. Battling the main series antagonist, the Inquisitor, you get a feel for the swashbuckling style of action in the show. You also gain some insight into the villain. You can clearly see that, not only is he a skilled fighters, he has a full grasp of the styles and techniques of lightsaber combat, as well as an overall knowledge of the larger history in play.
And speaking of lightsabers, this featurette, “Igniting a Legacy,” digs into how they got the look, feel, and sound of the iconic Jedi weapon right in Rebels. Here’s a hint: it’s a lot more in depth and intricate than you might expect, but it just goes to illustrate how much time and effort are going into making this feel like Star Wars.
There’s a lot of talk of the time period—though it falls between the two trilogies, it is closer to A New Hope than the prequels—and this interview with Freddie Prinze Jr., who voiced Kanan, is no different. He discusses how rewarding working in this timeframe is for fans, himself included, and talks about the differences between normal acting and voice acting. More than anything, however, you really walk away knowing what a huge Star Wars fan he is, and appreciating how totally stoked he is on his latest job.
Star Wars Rebels airs Monday nights on Disney XD.