Before we even get to the new animated series Star Wars Rebels, the first official post-Disney buyout addition to the canon, it looks like we’re going to get to know the main core of characters. Lucasfilm has released a stream of shorts, each one focusing primarily on one piece of the main group—we’ve hung out with the sassy astromech Chopper, the Mandalorian graffiti artist Sabine, and muscle-bound badass Zeb—and now they’re back with another.
Titled “Not What You Think,” this three-minute short gives you the chance to spend some time with Ezra Bridger, and get to know the new addition to the Star Wars universe. Though, in the grand scheme of things, he fits into the Luke Skywalker mold, there’s also a bit of Han Solo to Ezra as well. Rebels is set in the between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, where the Empire is tightening its sinister grip on that far, far away galaxy, and there are seeds of rebellion popping up in the outer rims.
Ezra is a small planet kid who dreams of something bigger, of some grand adventure. He also has a natural aptitude with the Force. It’s raw and unformed, but definitely there, as you can see in this short as he just inherently knows when to duck and dodge as an Imperial officer shoots at him. (He also has a sweet little wrist rocket.) That’s the way he resembles Luke. At the same time, however, he’s also a hustler and a con artist looking out numero uno. That’s the Han side, bucking the system, dealing in black market goods, which, in and of itself, is a kind of resistance. But, also like Han, you can tell that, despite his self-centered stance and outward bravado, there’s much more to him and you know that he has a larger purpose and role to play in all of this. However long it takes, he’s going to come around to this side. It may be kicking and screaming, but he’ll get there.
In Rebels, you see the first sprouts of what ultimately becomes the Rebel Alliance. Ezra joins up with a crew that includes Sabine, Chopper, and Zeb, as well as pilot Hera Syndulla (she’s the one flying the ship named the Ghost, the one that shoots down the TIE fighter), and Kanan, a rogue Jedi, one of the few remaining after Order 66 outlaws them. It’s easy to assume that he’s going to serve as a kind of Obi-Wan style mentor to Ezra (though we do already know that Obi-Wan will appear in Rebels), guiding the kid, showing him the ways of the Force.
As much as I don’t like the style of animation or the look of this series, I can’t help but get excited about it. This is, after all, the first official addition to the universe, and more than anything, it feels like Star Wars in all the most important ways. We’ll have to wait to see how it connects to the larger plan—it supposedly has strong links to J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Episode VII—but it could be a ton of fun.
Star Wars Rebels is set to premiere on Disney Channel on October 3 with an hour-long special called “Spark of Rebellion.” On October 11 it will mosey on over to its regular home on Disney XD.