Trailer Thoughts: Star Wars: Rebels (SDCC2014 Edition)

Once Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the rights to pretty much all future Star Wars movies and cartoons and comics and what not was finalized last year and news began filtering in of all the new things being planned, one of the ones to come out was that the House of Mouse was going to deliver on a new Star Wars animated series set in the period between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope. The first trailer released was somewhat decent, though problematic, but I was kind of excited that a different period was being considered for the format, given that most of the previous work was so focused on the Clone Wars themselves.

And this past week at San Diego Comic Con 2014, Disney released a new trailer that also contains some extensive footage of the animated series, and this is kind of where I am beginning to lose some interest because the story appears to be rather haphazard and the characters appear to be cliches in the way that only Disney can do, though sometimes to great net-positive effect, and the animation doesn’t really work so well for me either, especially not after having seen three excellent seasons of The Clone Wars (it rain for a total five seasons!) and other previous Star Wars animated work, from what I remember.

Star Wars - RebelsStar Wars: Rebels is the first animated series in the franchise to be put into production following the acquisition and as such, there are very high expectations of it because of that, since Lucasfilm has had a strong animated division for a good few years and while the material has almost always strayed towards the Clone Wars era, the quality has always been strong. Sure, The Clone Wars was often dependent on the villains acting less than smart, and the same goes for the heroes, who would similarly often blunder along. But in a net effect, The Clone Wars was supremely good and it made for some really great moments.

When Rebels was announced, I was cautiously optimistic of it, though I was somewhat confused why the creators went with yet another Jedi-on-the-run-and-in-hiding lead character, when there have already been so damn many of them in the Star Wars: Expanded Universe, especially in the comics and the novels. It kind of doesn’t really make all that much sense to me since it treads much the same ground already covered. New situations, same character type, same character history type. Kind of gets boring, you know.

Ideally, in my own estimation, Disney would have been far better served by going into the unknown, so to speak. Unless I am mistaken, it has already been declared that going forward only the movies and television shows constitute official lore, with the various books and comics and what else being declared non-canon. So in that context, Disney should have just taken the end-point of Return of the Jedi and gone on from there to show how the Rebellion turned into the New Republic, how the Empire was brought down, how Leia and Han truly fell in love and married, and how Luke built up a new Jedi Order. That shows much more promise to me because then anything and everything is open to the creators, instead of narrowing themselves like they have done.

Still, all isn’t doom and gloom really. I am a huge fan of almost everything to do with Star Wars, even when the content isn’t exactly to my tastes such as some of the recent comics (those by Matt Kindt actually, to give an example) or some of the novels from across the various eras. So it isn’t as if I won’t be lining up to watch Star Wars: Rebels when it comes out. I most certainly will, though I will be going in with some very low expectations of the whole thing.

The story in the trailer, as it is shown, well it is okay I suppose. It gives an extreme brief run-down of the characters, and kind of sets the tone of the series as well. The most interesting character here has to be the Inquisitor, a Sith-like antagonist who is going to be the villain to Kanan’s hero. Kanan himself, what little I’ve read up on him since the announcements as Disney has trickled out the details, seems to be an interesting figure certainly, but he pales next to the Inquisitor. For one, the Inquisitor is much more badass and two, while Kanan is just another rogue Jedi who escaped the Empire’s Order 66, the Inquisitor feels very much like a fresh and unique character. That has merit for me.

If there’s any real stumbling block to the series for me, it is that Kanan’s sidekick and potential padawan Ezra is a real klutz. His character screams inept and kill-me-now. Such is quite typical of Disney fare unfortunately and I’m really wary of how it is all going to be shown on the show itself. Fingers crossed that it won’t be as bad as I fear.

One moment of light though? A female Mandalorian. Which is cool. Totally cool. Mandalorians are awesome. Boba Fett is awesome. Whoever this female Mandalorian is, I hope she is awesome too. A character like her, executed well, could well be a truly awesome thing. I dig.

The animation itself, it is far too clean and obviously CGI. I mean, I’m just not a fan of the particular style that the show is going for, and there’s no edginess to it either. Perhaps that is something else that I should have expected from Disney but I am indeed very disappointed. I wanted something rougher, something that would visually get across the tone and atmosphere of the supposed story and what not. I’ll take what we get, but once again, I don’t have high hopes for the show. A lot is going to depend on the story and the characterisations and the execution is what is going to matter most, more than anything else really.

Still, when all is said and done, almost anything looks good in 1080p, and Star Wars: Rebels does have a good effect on that resolution scale. Guess it might really not be all that bad after all. We can but hope, so say I.


Posted on July 30, 2014, in News, Trailer Thoughts, TV Show News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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