'Star Wars' Story of Clone Wars Expands in 'Rebels'

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'Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion'

'Star Wars Rebels' Crew
'Star Wars Rebels' Crew. Lucasfilm / Cartoon Network

The Star Wars saga continues with Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD. When Star Wars: The Clone Wars ended earlier this year, folks at Lucasfilm were quick to announce that another Star Wars CGI cartoon was in the works. Dave Filoni, who directed the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie and worked as a writer and director on the TV cartoon series, recorded a video announcement to keep fans' interest piqued.

See also: Catherine Taber (Padme Amidala) Talks about her Dreams Coming True

On October 3, 2014, Disney XD premiered Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion to kick off the new series. In Spark of Rebellion, we meet Ezra, a teenage boy on the wrong side of the Empire. He spends his days stealing food to feed himself, and occasionally helping a victim of the Empire's evil ways. When he ends up in the middle of a rebel mission, he finds himself a reluctant member of a team of brave and ambitious fighters.

Spark of Rebellion is a smart, action-packed and warm-hearted mini-movie. The look of Rebels is much like the CGI smoothness of The Clone Wars. This time, however, we get to see more of the Empire and its toys. Hearing the roar of Tie Fighters as they fly over our heroes gave me goose bumps when I watched it. The Imperial Star Destroyer didn't lose any of its majesty, or ominous presence, on the small screen.

Spark of Rebellion gets right to the story, right to the action. That's one of the things I love about the Star Wars cartoons; they don't spend a lot of time on exposition. They keep the episode moving and give you exposition as part of the ongoing story, which means there are no dull lulls spent catching us up.

With a lot of action, comes a lot of death. It's easy to forget how much death is really happening in Rebels because we don't see blood, we don't see gore. But you if tally the number of dead Storm Troopers and miscellaneous rebels, who we never meet, you'll find Rebels means business when it comes to body count. Any character could die, which means the stakes are high for our heroes. That scrubbed clean look of this CGI, however, means we never think twice about it.

Speaking of CGI, Rebels is just as gorgeous to watch as The Clone Wars. My only issue with the animation was that it's hard to portray Wookies, who are covered in fur. Hair and fur is notoriously difficult to animate in CGI. When you're pressed for time in a weekly series, and you don't have the budget of a big screen film, hair and fur look stiff and strange. Those Wookies looked out of place, even phony, in a world as shiny and rich as Rebels. Although, their scene is hilarious, which made up for their odd appearance.

See also: Browse the Gallery from The Clone Wars Episodes

The team dynamic of this rebel gang is already in place, and a lot of fun to watch. Spark of Rebellion had a lot throwbacks to Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Heck, there's even a battle between a Milennium Falcon-type ship and Tie Fighters, complete with the new rookie jumping into a gunner's seat, and finishing with a jump to Hyperspace.

The end of Spark of Rebellion promises a wonderful new TV series in Star Wars Rebels. The heroes talk of "new hope," as the stirring music of John Williams crescendos to the credits.

On October 13, 2014, Disney XD aired the first official weekly episode, "Droids in Distress." Star Wars Rebels is created by Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm Animation production is also executive-produced by Filoni and Kinberg as well as Greg Weisman (Gargoyles).

Click through the other pages to see more pictures and find out more about the characters who make up Star Wars Rebels.

 

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Inquisitor in 'Star Wars Rebels'

'Star Wars Rebels'
'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Cartoon Network

The Empire has a much larger presence in Star Wars Rebels than in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Imperial Star Destroyers, Tie Fighters and Storm Troopers are everywhere. (And Storm Troopers are just as stupid as ever. I love it when they're called bucketheads.) The big bad guy in Rebels isn't Darth Vader, however. The Inquisitor has scary tattoos and a double-bladed light saber that spins. The Inquisitor is hunting down remaining Jedi on Darth Vader's command. The Inquisitor is voiced by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series of movies).

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Kanan in 'Star Wars Rebels'

Jedi Kanan in 'Star Wars Rebels'
Jedi Kanan in 'Star Wars Rebels'. Luccasfilm / Cartoon Network

Kanan Jarrus is the only Jedi survivor from Order 66. He is hiding from the Empire. At first, Kanan seems a lot like Han Solo. He is certainly good at smuggling and stealing from the Empire. But where Han was doing it for the money, Kanan is doing it to help people who are suffering because of the Empire's greed and evil ways. He realizes Ezra has the Force and begins his training. Kanan is voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr. (24Scooby-Doo).

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Ezra in 'Star Wars Rebels'

'Star Wars Rebels'
'Star Wars Rebels'. Luscasfilm / Cartoon Network

Ezra Bridger is lost, an orphan. He's been living by his wits, stealing food to keep from starving and occasionally helping someone who's in trouble with the Empire. He's used to looking at for numero uno, until he meets Kanan and his rebel band. Ezra has the Force, which is how he first senses Kanan, who will become his Jedi Master. Ezra is voiced by Taylor Gray (Bucket and Skinner's Epic Adventures).

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Sabine in 'Star Wars Rebels'

Sabine in 'Star Wars Rebels'
Sabine in 'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Cartoon Network

Sabine Wren is smart and sassy. Her Boba Fett-like helmet hides her colorful hair. She's a young woman with a penchant for blowing up things, and she's good at it. She's also a graffiti artist, leaving her tags as a calling card. Sabine has one of my favorite lines in Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, "Blow it out your exhaust vent." Then, boom! Sabine is voiced by Tiya Sircar (Witches of East End).

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Hera in 'Star Wars Rebels'

Hera in 'Star Wars Rebels'
Hera in 'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Disney XD

Hera Syndulla is the ace pilot on the Starship Ghost in Star Wars Rebels. She thinks fast and her quick reflexes help the rebels escape some tricky situations. She's a Twi'lek with a big heart, helping Ezra accept his destiny. Hera is voiced by Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice).

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Zeb in 'Star Wars Rebels'

Zeb Orrelios 'Star Wars Rebels'
Zeb Orrelios 'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Disney XD

Zeb Orrelios has the strength of Chewbacca, but the sarcastic wit of Han Solo. He's reluctant to take in Ezra until the kid proves himself worthy of the group's loyalty. Zeb is voiced by the legendary Steve Blum (the vocie of Wolverine, Amon in ).

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Chopper in 'Star Wars Rebels'

Chopper in 'Star Wars Rebels'
Chopper in 'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Disney XD

Chopper is the all-purpose droid used by Kanan and his crew. Chopper is just as finicky as R2-D2 ever was, perhaps with more dents and scrapes. He loves a good prank. Chopper meets his original blueprint, R2-D2 in "Droids in Distress."

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Agent Kallus in 'Star Wars Rebels'

'Star Wars Rebels'
'Star Wars Rebels'. Lucasfilm / Cartoon Network

Agent Kallus isn't your run-of-the-mill Imperial Office. He's part of the Imperial Security Bureau, or what we would know as a police force's Internal Affairs. Not only does he chase our favorite rebels, but also he makes sure the Empires loyal citizens stay loyal. Agent Kallus is voiced by David Oyelowo (Jack ReacherLee Daniels' The Butler).

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Want more?

Star Wars: Clone Wars
Star Wars: Clone Wars. Cartoon Network

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars