The new animated TV series Star Wars: Rebels marks the first new property released in the new Disney era of Lucasfilm. While fans anxiously await Star Wars: Episode VII in late 2015, Rebels could give them a taste to satiate their appetites. We’re already seeing how much influence Disney has on the Star Wars franchise, as the Mouse House has launched a new Star Wars: Rebels website with new images and banners.
Disney added Star Wars: Rebels to its Disney XD website after New York Comic-Con this past October. While the website is pretty sparse at the moment, new concept art and a snazzy Stormtrooper banner were recently added. Just looking at the Rebels portion of Disney XD is a firm reminder that Disney-ification of Star Wars has begun.
The new concept art shows Imperial Tie-Fighters and Star Destroyers, and lines up with what we’ve seen in A New Hope. Rebels feels somewhat familiar in that respect with the new animated series takes place a few years before the start of Episode IV. The Galactic Empire is starting to take over planets in the outer rim, ana a new band of teenage renegades start to sabotage the stranglehold on the planet Lothal. They do anything they can to undermine the new Emperor’s power and authority, and form the very early origins of what will become the Rebel Alliance. The group of kids travels in a spaceship called The Ghost, described as a mix between the Millennium Falcon and a B-17 bomber.
Recently, Lucasfilm released the first behind-the-scenes video of production. The new video features executive producer Greg Weisman talking about how the new seriesfits into the existing Star Wars saga. Weisman was a writer and producer on shows like Gargoyles, Young Justice, and The Spectacular Spider-Man, so hopefully he’ll bring the same gravitas with those series to Star Wars: Rebels.
Rebels will also introduce new characters to the Star Wars universe, including the Inquisitor. A servant of Darth Vader, he is tasked with putting down the fledgling rebellion, and hunting down the few remaining Jedi left in the galaxy after Order 66 wipes most of them out. It will be interesting to see if Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader appear in Rebels, or if it only features characters that are directly affected by the Galactic Empire.
Meanwhile, a recent rumor suggests that Billy Dee Williams might join the cast. Williams would likely reprise his role as the space pirate Lando Calrissian. At the moment, David Oyelowo, Freddie Prinze Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, and Steven Jay Blum are all expected to lend their voices. Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) will serve as Rebels‘ producer, along with writer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past).
Star Wars: Rebels will air sometime in October 2014, first on the Disney Channel, then on Disney XD.