Don’t you hate it when you try to save your planet’s future and you just end up getting a bunch of Galactic Empire strongarms creating misery everywhere? Such is the case in this extended preview for Star Wars Rebels, the Force-filled Disney XD series that is set to bridge some of the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The first seven minutes of any series, much less one in this universe, need to be as compelling as it gets, and though the video above isn’t as fetching as it probably sounded on paper, it’s new Star Wars stuffs!
To be more clear, it’s new Star Wars stuffs…with Freddie Prinze Jr. voicing one of the leads, a clandestine Jedi named Kanan. I know none of the characters from this animated series will be involved in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, but there’s something ironically gratifying about picturing Prinze Jr. walking amongst the cinematic Jedi. Someone start a fan fiction Instagram account.
Anyway, this is a pretty solid way to immediately immerse viewers into this new storyline, and Disney XD wisely decided to debut it during the network debut of last week’s Phineas & Ferb: Star Wars crossover episode. Welcome to Lothal, a planet where the Galactic Empire makes itself at home by filling the streets with Stormtroopers, enforcing strict laws and eating other people’s fruit. Enter Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), a 14-year-old con artist who dreams of being something more. (Spoiler: he is something more!)
Ezra sees two rebellious types – renegade Jedi Kanan Jarrus (Prinze Jr.) and the Chewbacca-ish enforcer Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum) – making a move to steal some kind of a cargo shipment that the Empire is about to take away on speeders. Always the ne’er-do-well, Ezra decides to take one of the speeders for himself, which leads to a minutes-long chase scene ending in Ezra’s certain doom! That’d be something if they just killed this kid off right in the beginning, but I’m pretty certain he’ll live to see the eighth minute of Star Wars Rebels.
All in all, it felt more like a good looking video game’s cutscene than the opening of a TV show, but that’s not necessarily a disparaging comment. I’m not sure why the music wasn’t more aggressive during the action beats, with throwaway lines like “That’s never good!” taking its place. The CGI is clean and the direction is clearheaded, so the action looks good; it just feels static, as if someone thought the show would get too intense for children and toned it down. Still, this is just the beginning, and the trailer teases many more otherworldly adventures to come during this first season.
With a supporting cast that includes David Oyelowo, Vanessa Marshall, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Isaacs, James Arnold Taylor, Tiya Sircar and Greg Ellis, Star Wars Rebels is setting its blasters on “Debut” for Disney XD at some point in October. How well do you guys think this will tide fans over until Abrams’ highly anticipated Episode VII?