Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Opinion: Rebels: All Grown Up?

By: David Gremillion

Star Wars Rebels is the hottest topic in the Star Wars Universe since the Death Star got mouse ears. Episode VII seems so far away, so vague, and shrouded in mystery. Who’s in? Who’s not? Who’s just messing with us? Will Reed Richards really get in a dogfight with Luke in his X-Wing? Will it be shot exclusively in the United Kingdom? What’s the plot? Does it follow Return of the Jedi? Is it set fifty years in the future? How do I get a part? Will there be a singing and dancing number about how Ben Skywalker longs for more out of life while birds and squirrels sing with him?

The announcement of Rebels comes as something we can reach out and touch. It deals with familiar territory, yet touches on a time period that is mostly unknown. What in the name of Wicket happened between Episode III and IV? There are far more questions than answers, despite the upcoming release of John Jackson Miller’s novel “Kenobi”. Yet despite all the fanfare, there is one little hang up in all this. Like a mynock chewing on some power cables, something isn’t quite right in the Star Wars Social Media Galaxy.

Disney announced that Filoni is back and running the show on this. Star Wars fans kept chewing.
Disney announced that we’ll have an hour long pilot. Star Wars fans gnawed away.
Disney announced it will premiere on the Disney Channel before ultimately moving to the Disney XD…and Star Wars fans groaned.

Now that the Clone Wars had taken a collectively darker turn, fans are concerned that the Mouse will Strike Back. Surely this news means that Star Wars Rebels will be strictly for children with more cute and less aggressive. More kiddie and less violent. You know…a show written by Jedi.

Keep in mind I believe the children are our future. Yes, the Clone Wars certainly had its share of moments for the youth of the world. Yes, you just thought of the “Youngling” arc and the “Droid” arc from Season 5. However, I don’t believe that Star Wars Rebels will follow that path, at least not primarily. Sure, there will be C3PO stumbling around and R2 bailing him out of trouble. We might even get a few Ewoks. But my Spidey-sense is tingling that is not the direction we’ll see the show go, despite being on the Disney XD.

While Disney is writing the checks, it is pretty clear that Filoni is calling the shots here. The same Dave Filoni took the Last Airbender series from penguin sledding to exposing inner turmoil. Who did Filoni immediately announce was working with him? Simon Kinberg, who worked on Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Elysium, and X-Men: First Class. Say what you want about the movies themselves, but you have to admit these were not happy-go-lucky movies that remind you of the Apple Dumpling Gang. Greg Wiseman is also onboard. Older fans will remember him from the “Gargoyles” series, which had a pilot featuring mass genocide of the Gargoyle race. Yeah…cute. He also had a hand in Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, Young Justice, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Sure, those shows have their light moments, but these guys were not brought on for this show to be cuddly. This show has all the promise of being something special. In fact, Kathleen Kennedy herself said: “Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.” Kids AND parents? Those of us that grew up in the 1970s and 80s? That also doesn’t sound cuddly.

But the final point to make is the period this is set in. At the end of Episode III, Anakin had turned to Vader, Palpatine had slaughtered thousands of Jedi, oppressed countless trillions of citizens, and sent the forces of good scurrying to the far corners of the galaxy. If the Phantom Menace was the best of times, then this show will capture the absolute worst of times.

Save the tickle fights for later, this could get grim. 

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.


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