Star Wars fans got some much-needed news at a special panel at this weekends’s WonderCon convention in Anaheim, CA. Executive producer Dave Filoni made an appearance with Star Wars: Rebels voice talent, Vanessa Marshall and the show’s art director Killian Plunkett. Together, they showed a new clip from Rebels.
Marshall voices the character of Hera, the pilot of the group’s spaceship The Ghost. Filoni, who also worked on The Clone Wars and the massively popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, had some insider info for fans concerning the character, including the fact that Amy Beth Christensen was instrumental in bringing Hera to life.
Marshall added that she’s a huge fan on the Star Wars franchise. “I try not to nerd out.” she says, “It’s an honor.” Her previous credits include Young Justice (a project of Rebels co-executive producer Greg Weisman) and The Spectacular Spider-Man.
According to Filoni, Walt Disney Television Animation has had direct input with the development of the show’s animation style. “To get their input on animated style designs was great. It was a big help. It was a benefit to make the animated styles fuse.” Specifically, Filoni said that Disney’s Tangled had a big influence on how the team is handling the animation of characters’ facial expressions.
Filoni says that Rebels is “more what you would clichély call ‘animated.’ Clone Wars was much more reserved; much more lifelike. This can play broader. That’s good for the humor we’re trying to capture at times and the drama we’re trying to capture at times.”
The focus of the panel was very much centered on the character of Hera, leaving out any other characters aside from the crew’s grumpy droid, Chopper. This marks a departure from Lucasfilm and Disney’s previous strategy. This is likely due to fan backlash over the emphasis placed on male characters at New York Toy Fair a few months back. No doubt referencing the controversy, Filoni remarked, “People talk about strong female characters. I just like to make really good characters. If they’re strong, that’s an aspect of their character.”
Star Wars: Rebels premieres on Disney Channel this fall with a one-hour special, followed by a regular series on Disney XD.