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October 15, 2017

"Star Wars Rebels" Fourth and Final Season Premiere

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This week, Monday, October 16th, "Star Wars Rebels" starts its countdown to the end with the one-hour fourth season premier episode "Heroes of Mandalore: Parts One and Two."

[Unattributed photos and video courtesy of Disney]

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For those who may have fallen a few (or more than a few) episodes behind, you can now binge watch all three preceding seasons on the DisneyNow app. For those lacking the time or who just need a quick reminder, Disney has put together a collection of clips to acquaint you with the story so far:

This first episode of the season focuses on Sabine who, on a mission to rescue her father from the Empire, finds a devastating weapon and must decide whether to use or destroy it.

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For a more in-depth look at "Star Wars Rebels," we can take a look back at this year's Star Wars Celebration Orlando at which Rebels was represented in a couple panels. The first was "Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates," with Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo.


[The panel begins at 1:25:00]

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--Filoni on George Lucas wanting to bring back Darth Maul: "We would be in a story meeting and he would often say something like 'I've got an idea and you're going to love it' and I was always like 'oooh. That so seldom lines up. But then he said 'we're going to bring Darth Maul back,' and I said 'really...how does that work?' And he goes 'I don't know! You'll figure it out!'"

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--On Maul: "Maul hasn't experienced any personal growth. He hasn't gotten over anything. He hasn't grown, except in his anger and his need for revenge."
--On the Obi-Wan-Darth Maul fight: "I know it's dangerous to not do a big fight, I know a lot of people would want a big fight, and it's just Maul's technique to go really quick, 1-2-3. So it didn't feel like Maul if he didn't get a shot in at all, so that it's block-block, then he goes for that move...that's where I decided to put that move in (the move that took down Qui-Gon.) It also visually tells the story that Obi-Wan paid attention, you know that moment was put into his brain, and that he could defeat it. Again, it shows a progression from master to apprentice that Obi-Wan then could later defeat something that Qui-Gon couldn't."

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--Filoni had originally planned for nine clones to return to Rebels as an homage to Walt Disney's Nine Old Men of animation, but Production cut them down.

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Later on in the course of the weekend, "Star Wars Rebels" had their big Season Four panel with Executive Producer Dave Filoni, Steve Blum, Taylor Gray, Tiya Sircar, Freddie Prinze Jr, and Vanessa Marshall in house.

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[The panel begins at 1:10:00]

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--Prinze Jr.: "Season 4, he's still blind but he sees more than he has ever seen before. He knows what path these rebels need to be on--it takes him some time to figure it out, but once he does, it is a certainty that you have seen in other Jedi before, and you will recognize it as a historical moment in this character's development and growth...Season 4, the stuff that Kanan has to go through is very adult, but Star Wars has always been very adult, even for kids, and it teaches real lessons and the good guys don't always win and sometimes people you loved, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, who's supposed to be there forever...that moment for me, as a kid, is what locked me into Star Wars, because it seemed real...and Obi-Wan got got, and that made me hate Darth Vader for three movies! So when you see a Jedi with clarity, I think you sort of...you get a sense of belonging to that person, 'cause you've seen Kanan struggle for so many years to be a decent Jedi. But I think his mistakes made me fall in love with him, and I hope his faults are what make you guys fall in love with him too."

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--Sircar: "If there are any Mandelorian fans out there, I think you will be happy with some specific episodes in this upcoming season. I think you might be surprised where we end up and...who might show up? There might be some people you know, there might be some people you've never seen before, they might all be Mandelorian...is that good? I will say that I think Sabine is in a new place this season. Over this last Season 3, we saw her sort of step into her own in a way we hadn't seen her before--we always knew she was super capable...the epitome of this Mandelorian warrior who happens to also be this incredibly creative artist--I don't think we've seen that kind of dichotomy before...I think she's gotten beyond those issues with this family and now she's got all these other issues with her other family, and we'll get to explore some of those in Season 4."

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--Marshall: "I think things are coming to a pinpoint there, and I think that she's really impacted by the losses that the group experiences in Season 3. I think she's more focused and committed than ever to get the job done. It's vital, it's essential, and...not that she was kidding earlier, but I think the windows of opportunity and...not the hope, because they always have hope, but I feel they are pressed to the very edges of their ability to handle what's put before them. It's now time to really get it done, and I think you'll see that in Season 4."

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--Blum: "He's actually becoming a more responsible citizen, I think, rather than just being a tough musclehead, so I think we'll be looking forward to him making maybe smarter remarks and better choices. We'll see."

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--Gray: "We've seen him grow up. He's seen the good and the bad...Season 4 is really a thing of deciding what kind of Jedi--and even transcending that--what kind of person he wants to be as he grows up, having seen everything. And he realizes that as he's stepped away from Lothal and joined this family and become dependent on them and learned what he can, it's now time to go back and see what he can do for his people."

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--Filoni: "I firmly believe that each generation has to have their own piece of Star Wars. I feel that this show, for a lot of kids growing up with it, is as much a part of Star Wars as any of the movies, and I really appreciate that love from you guys. And I feel creatively, that I can make this story about these characters the most meaningful that it can be by arcing it to where I need to get to at the end of this season. So I know that's tough, it's tough for me, but believe me, I can say that I know what it's like when I don't get to end a series, and what happens when you don't end a series is you wind up making t-shirts and you have to prolong...it wasn't as fun."

After the big presentation the panel members (minus Prinze Jr.) met for a somewhat smaller press conference.

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--Filoni notes that while the winding down of the series may include somber and tragic events, this is part of the hero's journey that must be experienced to achieve a joyful, inspirational whole.
--He also predicts that Kanan and Ezra in this last season will explore their relationship and commitment to The Force and face the choice of whether to act out of fear and succumb to wickedness, or hold fast to their belief and faith in love and virtue and stay with the Light Side.
--On being asked what about their characters do they wish kids to find inspirational: Marshall picks Hera's ability to hold onto hope; Blum likes Zeb's willingness to be vulnerable; Sircar thinks Sabine demonstrates how people can form new families where they least suspect; and Gray admires Ezra's self-confidence and inner strength.
--Thrawn is the first major villain to return for another season.
--Marshall was elated to hear Hera mentioned in "Rogue One," as "it's like a life insurance policy."

"Star Wars Rebels" returns for its fourth and final season beginning Monday, October 16 with five airings of the one-hour episode "Heroes of Mandalore: Parts One and Two" throughout the day (12:30am, 3:00am, 7:30am, 5:30pm and 9pm EDT/PDT) on Disney XD and the DisneyNow App.





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.

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