Star Wars: Rebels had a major presence over the weekend at New York Comic-Con. Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo spoke to convention-goers about the upcoming animated series, revealing that the animated series will premiere on the Disney Channel with an hour-long special in October 2014. After that, it will make its way to Disney XD for half-hour installments during the weeks that follow. Rebels will be the first new Star Wars property since the Disney acquisition in 2012, so it’s going to be watched with some interest. Hidalgo provided some new info about the series, as well as introducing one of its primary villains, a Sith called simply “the Inquisitor.”
Rebels will take place 14 years after Revenge of the Sith, with the Empire is establishing itself in the outer rim of the galaxy. After the chaos of the Clone Wars, many planets just want stability, so when the Empire takes over the Republic, they don’t resist the new leadership. Much of the series will take place on the planet Lothal, a frontier world where the Empire is starting to establish a new way of life.
“The Inquisitor” is a servant of Darth Vader who is tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi left in the galaxy after Order 66 wiped out nearly the entire Order. The Inquisitor looks menacing with a new double-edged lightsaber. Rebels will also feature Emperor Palpatine and Vader, so it seems like the Inquisitor is not a full Sith Lord, but rather a henchman.
The look and design of the Empire in Rebels will closely resemble their original designs from A New Hope. In fact, the series takes place four years before the events of Episode IV. The show’s look is based on the works of Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston, so it will feel more like the original trilogy than Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which felt more like the prequels. We will get to see Tie-Fighters, Star Destroyers, and a new vehicle called AT-DP (All-Terrain Defense Pod), which is a mix between an AT-AT and AT-ST. The animated series will also feature The Imperial Troop Transport, based on a Star Wars toy from Kenner’s line in the 1970s.
The series will also include Stormtroopers instead of Clonetroopers. Hidalgo explained the differences between the two soldiers, which boil down to loyalty. Clonetroopers are clones, while Stormtroopers are citizen volunteers who want stability in the galaxy. The poster below, from Entertainment Weekly, is a recruitment tool designed to help grow the ranks of the Stromtroopers.
Pablo Hidalgo concluded the panel with the idea that Star Wars: Rebels will be about underdog heroes like the original trilogy. The big difference between Rebels and The Clone Wars is that the heroes were well established in the latter, Rebels will return to the rough and gritty world George Lucas created with A New Hope. It certainly sounds exciting to hear Star Wars will return to a lived-in galaxy, rather than the clean and shiny one we’ve been watching for the last 14 years since The Phantom Menace.
Producer Dave Filoni will serve as Rebels’ producer along with Star Wars writer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past), while Greg Weisman (Young Justice, Disney’s Gargoyles) will also executive produce the new animated series.
Star Wars: Rebels will air sometime in October 2014, first on the Disney Channel and then migrating to Disney XD.