By: Dominic Jones
To celebrate tonight's premiere Star Wars Rebels (at 9pm on Disney Channel), Dan Brooks over at StarWars.com, the official Lucasfilm website for all things Star Wars, was able to sit down Rebels executive producer and Episode VII consultant Simon Kinberg. They discuss a variety of topics related to the new series. We've selected an except from the interview wich you'll find below, and you find the rest of interview here.
StarWars.com: Before we delve into “Spark of Rebellion,” can you talk about how you came to Lucasfilm and got involved with Star Wars Rebels?
Simon Kinberg: Forever, I’ve been a fan of Star Wars and I’ve been a huge fan of [Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy. Star Wars, I never had access to, but Kathy I’d met a bit over the years, and had always wanted to work with her just because I’ve loved so many of her films.
When she was coming to work at Lucasfilm we had a meeting. She said, ‘I’m going to be working on Star Wars, and is it something you might be interested in?’ And I said, ‘Uh, yeah.’ We just started having casual conversations, which led to a meeting with George Lucas.
StarWars.com: Oh, wow.
Simon Kinberg: Yeah. It was one of the most thrilling and daunting meetings of my life, as you can imagine. That meeting was about working on the films. I was really excited about it, and signed on to write one of the movies, which I’m gonna do, and to be part of the community of writers who were talking generally about what to do with the new Lucasfilm and Star Wars properties. That’s how I ended up a consultant on [Star Wars:] Episode VII.
It was about a few months after that — I’d been meeting with them, talking about the movies — that Kiri Hart, who heads up the Story Group, actually e-mailed me. ‘Hey, one of the first things we’re going to do is an animated show for Disney networks.’ She knew that I had a five- and nine-year-old. Two boys. And she knows that Star Wars is a big point of connection for me and my kids. She thought, because of that, it might be a great, fun thing to work on that could access my love for Star Wars, and also theirs.
At [San Diego] Comic-Con [this year], I was standing on the convention floor where they had the huge booth for Rebels. A massive video screen in the middle, huge posters of all the characters, life-size models of the characters. It was really the biggest footprint at Comic-Con this year. It was kind of astounding. I was standing there, in awe of it, just looking up at these characters that hadn’t existed a year and a half before, and suddenly were the new generation of Star Wars characters. I scrolled back to find that initial e-mail from Kiri that sort of set it all in motion, at least for me.
At the time, when I first read that e-mail, they had a general sense of the show, but none of the specifics in terms of the characters and stories, and really, the world of it. So, yeah, I wrote back to that e-mail, ‘Absolutely, anything with Star Wars, I’m interested in. I really like the idea of being able to do something that would be targeted toward my kids and a new generation of Star Wars fans.’ And then we just started meeting: me, and Kiri, and [creative executive] Rayne Roberts, the Story Group, and [associate producer] Carrie Beck. We just built it from the ground up, together.
One of the first things they said was, they had the paradigm of the A-Team, where they wanted it to be a group. We [agreed], from the beginning, that we wanted it to be the origin story of the Rebel Alliance. So, they really loved the structure of the ensemble crew doing missions week to week, and being a little bit on the outskirts of the law the way that the A-Team was. I think the thing I brought to it, initially, was focusing those characters as a family. The A-Team is a different model, because they’re all roughly the same age. They’re all adults, and their dynamic is as friends and peers. I thought it would be great if this crew could be built around the different archetypes of family members. So you have the father, the mother, the older brother, the middle sister, the little brother who’s the sort of runt of the litter, and the pet. I mean, Chopper is the family dog or cat.
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