Star Wars Rebels
The Force doesn’t seem to be asleep
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
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