Last week was a big one for Star Wars animation fans as Lucasfilm introduced the public to the heroes of their new animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Using a week-long media roll out in which exclusive reveals were handed to various online media outlets, Lucasfilm and Disney were able to generate a lot of buzz for a show that, until last week, fans knew very little about. Here’s what we know so far:
In the first video released by Disney and Lucasfilm, executive producer Dave Filoni introduced fans to Kanan, who Filoni referred to as the “cowboy Jedi”. Kanan is voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr. who happens to be a huge Star Wars fan himself. I was surprised to learn that there would be a full-blown Jedi in the main cast. From what little we know about Kanan, he’s mostly buried his Jedi past (having apparently been only a Padawan when Order 66 came down) and now prefers a good blaster at his hip. However, we can assume he’ll soon have to dust off the ol’ lightsaber when he meets the next character in the show…
Ezra is a fourteen year-old pickpocket from the planet Lothal, a small agricultural planet with a large Imperial presence. Ezra, voiced by Taylor Gray, apparently lives on his own on the streets of Lothal, under the shadow of the Empire and gets himself into some sticky situations. Yet, somehow he always manages to get out of a tough spot by using what he thinks are his natural “instincts”. I think we all know what those are (pst, the Force). Ezra’s also got a thing for stormtrooper helmets, which he frequently steals.
Bringing a feminine perspective to the group is Sabine, a Mandalorian with an artistic streak. Sabine is voiced by Tiya Sircar. She was seen earlier in the week (before her reveal), with a very Fett-like helmet sparking speculation that this could be Ahsoka, from Lucasfilm Animation’s previous hit, The Clone Wars. Although that wasn’t the case, Sabine looks like a fun addition to the group. I especially like her habit of tagging targets with anti-Imperial graffiti.
The muscle of the gang, Zeb is an all-new alien addition to the Star Wars universe. Having been a member of an elite honor guard on his homeworld, Zeb has some military training and he puts it to good use against the Empire. The crew of Rebels says he always looks for the quickest, not-so-subtle way to get the job done and will jump at the opportunity to smash some “bucketheads”, the Rebels slang for stormtroopers. In the vein of characters like X-Men’s Beast, Zeb has an refined, intelligent side as well. He’s voiced by Steve Blum.
Hera, a female Twi’lek was the final main character to be revealed and is voiced by Vanessa Marshall. She is the owner and pilot of the rebel’s ship the Ghost and is described by the creative team as the “heart” of the group. She inspires them to keep trying and to pursue a higher calling. Also interesting is the fact that Hera shares a last name with a character from The Clone Wars, Cham Syndulla, who’s people were oppressed by the Seperatist droid armies before the Republic intervened. I have a feeling she’s going to be the fiercest rebel of them all.
By this point, I think Star Wars fans were happy to get just the smallest bit of Rebels news they could find. Instead, we got a huge buffet of awesome character introductions. Although opinions are always very diverse, the general consensus in the fan community seems to be that this first Disney-guided Star Wars project is feeling very much like it should. We can’t wait for more!