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March 30, 2016

"Star Wars Rebels" Season 2 Finale Tonight!

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Tonight, March 30th, the action-packed second season of "Star Wars Rebels" comes to a close with the one-hour finale "Twilight of the Apprentice: Part I and II."

[Photos and video courtesy of Disney]

For those who may have fallen a few episodes behind, you can quickly catch up with the episodes available for streaming on the DisneyXD website. For those lacking the time, here's the rough setup: The events in the series take place between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.While the Rebels have managed to elude the Imperial forces searching for them, the Force-sensitive Inquisitors continue to hunt Kanan and Ezra at every turn. In a desperate ploy to gain an edge over the Inquisitors, Kanan, Ezra, and Ashoka visit a ruined planet seeking knowledge of the Dark Side, but finding old friends and new enemies. Confrontations ensue, from which no one will emerge unchanged.

As a meeting with her old master seems increasingly inevitable, here's a video recap of Ahsoka Tano's history in case you (like I) still haven't finished Clone Wars.

Disney XD held a screening event this week at the Walt Disney Studios Theater, at which most of the major "Star Wars Rebels" cast and crew made an appearance.

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While I can't tell you much more about the episode or the discussion that followed without spoiling it, I can say that the finale has a lot of action and game-changing events that set up some interesting stories to be told in Season Three. Be sure to watch tonight, Wednesday, March 30 (9:00 p.m. ET/PT) on Disney XD!

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October 14, 2015

Star Wars Rebels Season 2: The Return of Old Friends and New Enemies

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Wednesday, October 14, starts the second season of "Star Wars Rebels"--the Disney XD series that bridges the time gap between Episodes III and IV in the Star Wars saga, and shows the gradual evolution of the Rebellion under the Empire's oppressive rule. [http://land.allears.net/blogs/lauragilbreath/2014/09/star_wars_rebels_so_it_begins_1.html]

This season shows an escalation of the conflict as the ragtag crew of the Ghost joins up with a larger group of rebels under the supervision of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" hero Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and faces off against legendary adversaries such as Darth Vader (James Earl Jones.)

In the first two episodes, Ahsoka sends the Ghost on a mission to find some old friends and recruit them as allies. That those friends turn out to be Clones (Dee Bradley Baker) only complicates matters for Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.,) whose memories of Order 66 and his Jedi Master's death are still painfully fresh.

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This season promises a deeper look into the backstories of our main characters: The fate of Ezra's (Taylor Gray) parents, Hera's (Vanessa Marshall) father, and Sabine's (Tiya Sircar) family will be explored, as well as Chopper's history. Keeping it in the family in real life, it was recently disclosed that one of the major villains for this season will be the Seventh Sister Inquisitor, voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar, wife to Freddie Prinze Jr.

In a recent press conference, Dave Filoni, Freddie Prinze Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Ashley Eckstein, and Dee Bradley Baker formed a panel that discussed many of the themes and developments for the upcoming season.

Having seen the first two episodes of the season, I can say that the show is off to an impressive start. Where the animation style was a little jarring last season, it has improved to a really cinematic level this time around. The art design is wonderful, with visual references to Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" in the Clone's mobile fortress.

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This beginning of this season skillfully treads a line between keeping the action family-friendly, yet giving the storyline enough weight and importance to be appealing to adults. While the antagonists are formidable (you are never under the illusion, for example, that the Darth Vader here is not the same Darth Vader that canonically slaughtered a roomful of kids in Episode III before he even got going on the Dark Side,) the protagonists are resourceful and never fail to demonstrate how determination and the strength they derive from their families--biological or consciously formed--lead them to prevail.

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"Star Wars Rebels" starts its new season Wednesday, October 14 (9:30 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney XD.

April 22, 2015

Star Wars Rebels: A Look Ahead at Star Wars Celebration

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Star Wars Celebration, the traveling four-day convention produced by Lucasfilm and dedicated to all things Star Wars, was held in Anaheim from April 16-19, 2015.

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Among its incredible myriad Star Wars offerings, it had an extensive look at the popular new addition to the Star Wars mythology, the animated Disney XD series "Star Wars Rebels."

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In front of a packed Arena, the cast of "Star Wars Rebels" joined Executive Producer Simon Kinberg and Executive Producer and Supervising Director Dave Filoni to talk about some of the new and surprising developments we can expect as a result of last season's events.

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Among other news, Darth Vader will return to menace the crew of the Ghost this next season, voiced again by James Earl Jones.

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Old "Clone Wars" friends Captain Rex, Wolffe and Gregor (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) and Ahsoka Tano (voiced by http://www.heruniverse.com/ Ashley Epstein) will also be putting in appearances to aid the fledgling rebellion.

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Afterwards, Filoni, Kinberg, Freddie Prinze Jr. ("Kanan,") Steve Blum ("Zeb,") Vanessa Marshall ("Hera,") Taylor Gray ("Ezra,") and Tiya Sircar ("Sabine") convened for a press conference.

Later that evening, anyone lucky enough to get in (the line for the screening was capped some two hours before start time) was treated to a sneak preview of the two-part season 2 premiere.

Skewing slightly darker and older than the brighter, more entry-level first season, the second season of "Star Wars Rebels" looks to be on a cinematic parity with even some of the feature film offerings, and should be on the viewing schedule of any Star Wars fan.

The next day, the last of the "Star Wars Rebels" panels took place with Filoni, Associate Producer/Co-Creator Carrie Beck, and Series Writer/Co-Executive Producer Henry Gilroy talking about the origins and inspirations for the series.

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Some points raised: The concept of the team that went around helping people who could find them was modeled after "The A-Team;" and they used all new characters, in part, so that the audience couldn't predict when this story would end and "New Hope" begin.

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If this was all the upcoming Star Wars news, it would still have been brighter prospects than the franchise has seen in awhile, but Star Wars Celebration Anaheim had just begun...

September 30, 2014

Star Wars Rebels: So it Begins...

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"If all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing!"

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This week sees the start of a new chapter in the Star Wars saga--"Star Wars Rebels."

This new Disney XD series takes place between "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," and "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." It tells the story of the Galactic Empire's increasingly oppressive rule over its citizens, and the burgeoning sparks of outrage that ultimately kindle into outright rebellion.

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Our entry point into the current state of affairs on the planet Lothal is Ezra Bridger, (voiced by Taylor Gray) a 14-year-old thief and con artist, with a finely developed sense of self-preservation, but an atrophied sense of altruism. A clear analogue to Aladdin, he is introduced in a sequence strikingly similar to "One Jump," even down to the local authorities running him off with the sneer "Loth-rat!"

As a result of his own innate sense of opportunism, and at least partially guided by the Force, Ezra is forced to throw his lot in with the crew of the starship Ghost--a ragtag band working to improve conditions for those downtrodden by the Empire.

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While the ship is captained by the motherly but authoratative Twi'lek Hera Syndulla (voiced by Vanessa Marshall,) it is Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.) who must resume the Jedi role he abandoned after Order 66 in order to teach the Force-sensitive Ezra. Together, with Sabine Wren (voiced by Tiya Sircar,) a Mandalorian demolition expert and tagger; muscle Zeb Orrelios (voiced by Steve Blum,) a Lasat honor guard; and a disgruntled astromech droid called Chopper, they begin to show Ezra the benefit of being part of a group and the value of caring about others.

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Helmed by Dave Filoni, the series can be expected to have a feeling of continuity with his last project, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." While both series, to some degree, revolve around young protagonists learning the ways of the Force, "Rebels" seems likely to revolve more around the team dynamics, with a less episodic feel than "Clone Wars." The CGI is occasionally a little jarring with a slightly different feel than the past animated series, but that may be due to the art design borrowing from the original Star Wars concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, which may be in turn designed to distinguish the series from the upcoming live-action Star Wars sequels.

Recently, Filoni and the voice cast of "Rebels" met at a press conference to answer questions about the new series:

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Ultimately, the series looks to fill in an interesting portion of Star Wars history, as the spirit of rebellion develops both in Ezra and in the galaxy at large. At what point does oppression and injustice become so widespread and intolerable that they overbalance a person's instincts to stay uninvolved? How much suffering does one have to see before deciding to take action against it? Compelling questions for any time, whether it's here and now, or a Long Time Ago.

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"Star Wars Rebels" will air its one-hour Movie Premiere on October 3rd, 9pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel. The Series Premiere will air on October 13th, 9pm ET/PT on Disney XD.

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About Star Wars Rebels

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Star Wars Rebels category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the previous category.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.