Though the primary fan focus is obviously on director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, the first official look we’re going to get at the revamped universe is the upcoming animated series Star Wars: Rebels. The ostensible replacement for Clone Wars, Rebels is the first new addition to the canon in the post-Disney buyout of Lucasfilm world. Set to premiere later this fall, we’ve been getting a steady stream of looks and promos, and the latest is this new, seven-minute preview, which takes the form of an extended clip from the show.
Set in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Rebels shows a world where the Empire tightens its grip on the outer rim planets. You can see that in this video when the Imperial troops arrest that guy for selling fruit on the street without a license. As this fascism festers and spreads, pockets of resistance spring up, and we see the first sprouts of what will eventually become the Rebel Alliance.
This rebellion is personified in the series by a small group of insurgents that you get to meet here. Ezra Bridger is essentially a street-smart version of Luke Skywalker. He’s a loner, a solitary figure who dreams of adventure, of something grander than this, and boy howdy does he find it when he meets the rest of the crew. There’s Kanan, described as a cowboy-Jedi, keeping his skills with the Force under wraps after Order 66 disbanded the Jedi Order. Zeb Orrelios is a Lasat warrior, essentially the muscle of the team. Sabine Wren is a trigger happy Mandalorian with a penchant for graffiti. There are two other members of the team who you don’t meet in this clip. First is Hera Syndulla, the tough as nails pilot of a ship called The Ghost, and Chopper, a sassy little astromech droid in the R2-D2 vein.
I’m not sure, but this clip definitely appears to come from early in the first episode. You don’t really know anyone yet, and they don’t all know each other. Kanan is obviously impressed and intrigued by what he sees in Ezra. You have to imagine that, should the kid get out of the sticky situation at the end of this reel, the Jedi is going to track him down.
I’m still not particularly enthused by the style of the animation in Rebels, but the more we see, the more it looks and feels like Star Wars. They do a good job of capturing the swashbuckling action that makes that far, far away galaxy so much fun, and it’s hard to go wrong starting with a daring heist and speeder chase.
Star Wars: Rebels is set to debut this October on the Disney Channel before it makes its way to what will be its regular home, Disney XD.