Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Star Wars Rebels: Our Next Favourite TV Show? Probably!

5 years before Luke blew up the Death Star, young rebels unite!
At Star Wars Kidscast we're super-excited for the upcoming, all-new animated TV series Star Wars Rebels!

Hopefully the show will get a chance to shine on it's own merit and not be unfairly compared to The Clone Wars, which was as much for adult viewers as it was for kids, and at times clearly more for the grown-ups.

Even serious Star Wars fans aren't expected to know much about Star Wars Rebels yet - it won't be on until later this year - but like it or not Rebels will be first and foremost a family-friendly show. That may be stating the obvious for a show coming to Disney XD but many Star Wars fans seem to be expecting something mostly for adults.

"It’s different from Clone Wars, and it should be. I know some fans just see Rebels as an extension of Clone Wars, but it’s not. It’s an entirely different thing with a different feeling and a different vibe." Dave Filoni, Executive Producer, interview

Children's entertainment in the right hands can be smart, complex, fun, exciting and appealing to adults. Disney knows this better than anyone, even more so after years of working with Pixar, Studio Ghibli, The Muppets and Marvel Studios, and the creative team making Star Wars Rebels are certainly up to the task! Throughout it's 5-season run, many adult Star Wars fans unfortunately never gave The Clone Wars a chance because they thought it would be "too kiddie".  

Rebels may suffer from the opposite prejudice. As The Clone Wars was surprisingly intense and mature, Rebels may be light and fun in comparison, strongly suggested by the first teaser Disney aired:

The Clone Wars was a complicated show and had some very dark, even scary, episodes. Since many of the same creators are now working on Rebels, the easy conclusion would be that it will be similar in tone, but that doesn't mean it's accurate.

Star Wars Rebels' new villain: The Inquisitor!
Perhaps the tone will be similar to those Clone Wars episodes where Ahsoka teaches teenagers on Mandalore, or the Season 5 Younglings episodes. That's just fine with us but there is potential for backlash if the show doesn't live up to many adult fans' hopes.

With The Clone Wars you didn't know what to expect week-to-week. Sometimes the show was as heavy as The Empire Strikes Back, and sometimes it was C-3P0 bumbling around looking for fruit, Jar Jar juggling dinnerware or the antics of WAC-47 & Gascon. The intense episodes seemed to be balanced by some very silly ones. My feeling is that Star Wars Rebels will have a much more consistent overall tone of fun, adventure and action. Most importantly EVERY episode will be kid-friendly.

The main Star Wars Rebels ship The Ghost in action.
Here's why:
1) It's Disney!
Star Wars Rebels will premiere on the Disney Channel then move to Disney XD. Disney isn't afraid to occasionally be dark, but look at all the other shows on these channels. A serious, edgy, dramatic sci-fi series wouldn't really belong here.

2) All book tie-ins are kids' books (so far)
Where The Clone Wars had many tie-in books and comics for an adult audience as well as many titles aimed at children, so far all that is known about any tie-in books for Rebels are children's books. Scheduled for release in August 2014 are sticker books, a chapter book, two early readers, a junior novel and a Visual Guide. With the exception of two titles being from DK, all currently-announced books will be from Disney Book Group.

Coming soon from Hasbro!
3) Toy Announcement
Just this week released the first glimpse of any toy related to Rebels - the Hasbro 3 3/4" action figure of the Inquisitor. What's telling here is that the figure is not part of the collector-oriented "Black Series" (the super-poseable, super-detailed & super-expensive figures) but part of the more kid-oriented and reasonably-priced Saga Legends toy line.

Still not convinced? If you've been following the bits and pieces of Rebels released the past few months, it would seem like this is a very dark show focusing on the Empire and it's villains. However, have a look at what key people involved are saying and notice how often children are mentioned first as the primary audience:

"I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars." Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm Official Announcement

"Rebels is going to be the first point of entry for a new generation of Star Wars fans, and it will hopefully be a point of return for existing Star Wars fans." Simon Kinberg, Executive Producer

"We're very aware that for some people - kids in particular - this will be their first exposure to Star Wars and we take that responsibility very seriously. There's going to be a lot there for the fans to enjoy as well." Greg Weisman, Executive Producer Star Wars Insider #146

"The tone of the show is action/adventure, but with more elements of fun for the new generation of Star Wars fans and their parents!" Athena Portillo, Line Producer Star Wars Insider #146

Again this is all welcome news here! The purpose of this article is not to squash anyone's enthusiasm or anticipation of Star Wars Rebels, but to steer expectations closer to what it may really be like and to avoid disappointment over what looks to be a fantastic, groundbreaking show!

Further reading: We'll of course have plenty of Rebels news here, and as always visit frequently for the latest updates. Many other fansites have pages dedicated to covering Star Wars Rebels news:
Lightsaber Rattling

- Chris @SWKidscast

Agree? Disagree? Comment below! 


  1. More details...listen to Dave Filoni's comments about the tone of Rebels in a RebelForce Radio interview:

  2. Five points of articulation is RUBBISH as a toy. Even Lego mini figures are better that that! Tell me how that's kid friendly. It's not is it, it's cheep and rubbish.

    As for Rebels, it's going to be on Disney XD which is a channel for little boys not families and certainly not girls.

    1. I happen to like the 5-point articulation figures. I'll admit that that's partly because they are so similar to the original Kenner figures, but more importantly because they are more durable. More articulate figures like G.I.Joe did not make it through my childhood without broken legs, arms, thumbs. It was a horror show! I agree that the more articulate figures are awesome if you just want them on a shelf, but if you're a kid and going to actually play Wars with your Star Wars, the Saga Legends are much more likely to come out in one piece.

      As a parent buying a toy that's a BIG factor...will it break in 5 mins? So knowing they are more durable AND cheaper to buy than Black Series is a big plus!

      As far as Rebels goes it will be an oddball on Disney XD for a few reasons. Hopefully you'll give it a chance. -Chris

    2. Maybe that's a boy thing because all of my daughter's Star Wars and Clone Wars figures have survived unbroken until now (she's 10 and got her first when she was 6). As I said before Disney XD is a channel very definitely targeted at boys so I have low expectations for it being genuine family viewing, meaning inclusive of everyone in the family.


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