“Trust in the Force…in time a new hope will emerge.”
I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan. Not an obsessed fanboy by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve seen all the movies countless times, collect the figures, read a bunch of EU novels and general geek out about the universe, characters and stories that George Lucas created. Part of me is a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve only ever watched a small handful of The Clone Wars episodes. After the brain-tingling news that Disney had acquired the rights from LucasFilm, I made the decision that I was going to fully immerse myself back into the Star Wars Universe in spite of the naysayers. Initially Rebels didn’t really appeal to me that much but after reading a ton of articles and interviews from the creators and seeing early concept art I was hooked. The Star Wars revival has officially begun and here’s my thoughts:
One thing that was missing from the prequels was the dark tone and gritty feel of a world in turmoil under the tyrannic rule of the Empire. There seems to be this bizarre obsession amongst Star Wars fans that everything needs to be “dark” and “murky” and while Rebels never goes overboard it does its best to get the synergy just right. Straight away we’re thrown back into that world when Ezra, our young protagonist, battles it out with Kanan and his company in an attempt to steal cargo from a group of Stormtroppers. Something as small as witnessing the bullying tactics of Imperial Agents or hearing the blissful sound of a TIE fighter swooshing through the air really helped to bring back fond memories from the original trilogy. Despite Kanan and Ezra’s ulterior motives behind the cargo theft both characters are brought together in a stunning opening segment that introduces all the main heroes perfectly, all of whom are very diverse in their appearance which helps us to get to know and care about them.
Ezra is more than meets the eye. He’s adventurous for his age, able to worm his way out of trouble to a certain extent and doesn’t shy away from a fight. The rest of the group are fairly familiar archetypes. Kanan, the fearless leader who recognises his younger self in Ezra is joined by Sabine, Zeb, Hera and Chopper. It soon becomes evident that Ezra isn’t just another kid trying to make ends meat when he uncovers a Jedi holocron which is used to help remind us about the events that took place up to where we are now. Obi-Wan returns to warn all remaining Jedi to “trust in the force.” It also becomes clear that Kanan isn’t just another space cowboy doing his bit to snuff out the Empire. If you saw the full trailer then you know what I’m talking about and I have to stress that the scene gave me goosebumps. Agent Kallus served as a worthwhile villain but we all know The Inquisitor is the main bad guy. I’m glad he was only teased at the end (in hologram form similar to The Emperor) rather than appearing right from the start.
Overall the story was well executed and the animation was decent for the most part although there were parts that could have been a little more polished, especially the Wookiees. I fully expect the animation to get better. Yes there were some cheesy lines but this is a Disney animated show after all so it’s worth remembering that it’s mainly aimed at the younger generation. Even though that is the case there’s plenty of great moments in there for all ages to enjoy, even more so when you think that in just over a year we will be enjoying Episode VII on the big screen. It will undoubtedly garner comparisons to The Clone Wars, which seemed to improve heavily with each season.
Spark of Rebellion was extremely enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying for a first episode. It did everything right. Introducing the main players and highlighting their characteristics isn’t an easy accomplishment considering there was only 40 odd minutes to work with. No doubt hardcore “fans” will hate it because it isn’t The Empire Strikes Back. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our band of misfits next week!
Gavin Logan – Follow me on Twitter