When we first heard of Star Wars Rebels, we were quite skeptical about how well it would do. Fresh off the conclusion of the excellent Clone Wars series Rebels took a new direction by introducing characters that were not the typical Skywalkers nor clones.
They were what seemed to be extremely minor cogs in the larger scale as they come from a lesser known planet Lothal. This was a time when the Jedi Knights were being hunted down by the empire- 14 years after the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire.
Premise and Characters
At the start of the series, Ezra Bridger- young orphan street rat through run ins with the Empire that is now expanding it’s reach and rule to the planet Lothal, encounters Kanan Jarrus- one of the last surviving Jedi from the old Republic. Kanan is also a crew member aboard the Ghost – a smuggling ship ran by Hera Syndulla who is a gifted pilot and tactician. Other members of the crew are Sabine Wren- an ex-stormtrooper candidate who just so happens to be Mandalorian, Zeb – a Lasat honor guard and one of the first races to stand up against the empire (and face extinction because of it) and last but certainly not the least- Chopper– a droid who can be best described as a mix of R2 and Bender from Futurama.
As the series progresses, there are numerous cameos ranging from Wedge Antillesall the way to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Check out the list here.
There are 3 things that I think really set this Star Wars series apart from others.
1. The Design – Star Wars would spot this a mile away. The color palette, the costumes and general feel of the series is distinctly from the original vision of Ralph McQuarrie.
2. Timeline – This series spans quite a long period. You get to see Ezra grow up through the series that starts 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and ends around the same time as the Battle of Endor.
3. Characters – The characters and their trials and tribulations aren’t focused mainly on the Skywalkers and their exploits. There are cameos and side stories but the main timeline for Rebels stands on it’s own well enough because of the impeccable writing.
Rebels was surprisingly even more enjoyable to me than Clone Wars was. Even though Clone Wars started setting the tone for future canon for the franchise, Rebels brought back the old mystique that A New Hope had. The characters weren’t perfect- they were just run of the mill people who were special because they fought for a future that was meant for more than them. The stories felt human and relatable because the struggle wasn’t just a hodgepodge of missions that made them heroes.
The last episode of the animated Star Wars series aired 5 March 2018. It was a great series that earned it’s place in the already crowded SW Universe.
Rebels ends as it began- with HOPE for the future.