Star Wars Rebels

The Force doesn’t seem to be asleep

SFX - - View Screen -

So this is the show the

much- loved Clone Wars was can­celled for, seem­ingly for no bet­ter rea­son than the new Dis­ney- era Lu­cas­film has a mission to stan­dard­ise and canon­ise all on­go­ing Star Wars ex­panded uni­verse out­put. It’s not quite the first prod­uct of the new Lu­cas­film Story Group – that hon­our goes to the game Star Wars: The Old Repub­lic – Ga­lac­tic Starfighter – but it’s the most sig­nif­i­cant, as fans scour episodes for pos­si­ble Easter Eggs: char­ac­ters, con­cepts or hard­ware that may turn up in the new tril­ogy.

The show was al­ways go­ing to have a bumpy ride living up to the ex­pec­ta­tions of Clone Wars fans, and a lazy – but dif­fi­cult to avoid – crit­i­cism to throw at it is that Rebels does feel a lit­tle Dis­ney­fied. Rather than hav­ing its pre­de­ces­sors’ mas­sive can­vas of char­ac­ters be­tween whom it could pick and choose to con­cen­trate on with each episode, the new show cen­tres on one crew of rebels ( six if you in­clude the droid). Of th­ese, Ezra Bridger is of­ten front and cen­tre; he’s a teenage trainee Jedi and would seem to be an ob­vi­ous “iden­ti­fi­ca­tion” fig­ure for the Dis­ney Chan­nel’s key au­di­ence. The char­ac­ters’ de­signs also have a more cutesy feel and the colour pal­ette is brighter, re­flect­ing a su­per­fi­cially lighter, oc­ca­sion­ally slap­stick tone to the scripts.

All true. And yet you shouldn’t write the show off as pure kid­die fod­der from an ini­tial view­ing. While a cou­ple of episodes are lit­tle more than throw­away fluff, if you keep watch­ing, you start to see the depth of the show de­vel­op­ing, and re­alise that the nuts and bolts of what makes Star Wars such an en­dur­ing fran­chise are still in ev­i­dence. The char­ac­ters re­veal hid­den depths and the ca­ma­raderie and/ or an­i­mosi­ties be­tween them be­come more in­trigu­ing.

The battle scenes are of­ten breath­tak­ingly re­alised, the hard­ware feels au­then­tic, it’s gen­uinely funny in places and there are plenty of clever cameos from familiar char­ac­ters. Yes, it’s more Dis­ney, but it’s still very much Star Wars and streets ahead of the chan­nel’s other SF fod­der ( Lab Rats… shud­der!). Dave Golder

tv re­views and opin­ion We like, we like… but there’s some­thing we’re look­ing for­ward to more…

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