With Star Wars: Episode VII on the horizon thanks to the new ownership at Disney taking the reins, the studio has been making their intentions clear: look to the future, and stop dwelling on the past. While that means more films than ever before, it’s also bad news for fans of the original films and The Clone Wars, as progress meant abandoning 3D re-releases, and cancelling the animated series in favor of a new one.
Given Disney’s focusing on the future, we were surprised to hear that Star Wars: Rebels – the animated series replacing Clone Wars – would once again be set in the past, following the formation of the Rebel Alliance that ultimately defeated the Galactic Empire. It seems not everything is changing at Lucasfilm, as new rumors concerning the show’s cast confirm that younger viewers will again be the prime audience.
According to sources of Bleeding Cool, not only will Rebels be set in the narrative gap between Star Wars: Episode III and IV – detailing the early days of the Rebel Alliance – but the main characters will also be teenagers, not experienced soldiers or Jedi. Besides confirming that Luke Skywalker isn’t the only member of the Rebellion who shot his first Stormtrooper before the age of twenty, we have to wonder: does this make the appearance of established characters more or less likely?
Although the feature films are undoubtedly the top priority for Disney, these new details are yet another sign of the studio’s commitment to drawing ‘inspiration’ from the original Star Wars films. Teenage heroes, while now somewhat of a staple in blockbuster films, have been a trademark of the Star Wars saga since the beginning; first Luke, then Anakin led the franchise before reaching adulthood, and the casting calls for Episode VII once again imply a core roster of teenagers going forward.
There will still be some who believe the leaked pitch for Star Wars: Reclamation – an animated series set in a genuinely new chapter of the Star Wars universe – would attract far more attention and excitement than a series following an army whose future and victory (and greatest heroes) is already well-known. That being said, it’s no surprise that the studio would prefer to keep the creation of the next major chapter in the Star Wars saga constrained to their feature films, not a weekly Disney XD series.
Despite that fact, we’d argue that there is reason to be optimistic – for the most devoted Star Wars fans, at least. After all, The Clone Wars was ostensibly directed towards a younger audience, but over the course of its four seasons found a way to add some truly inspired storylines to the larger fiction, and help offer justification and backstory to some of the series’ most important characters. Lest we forget, being set between both trilogies also means the writers of Star Wars: Rebels could have access to supporting characters from both.
The space between Episode III and IV is largely accepted to be nineteen years (with some wiggle room), during which time nearly all of the characters seen in the original trilogy – Wedge Antilles, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, for instance – fell under the “teenage” category. While it’s unlikely that any of these characters would headline the show, it would be feasible for them to crop up in the larger story. Only time will tell which old favorites or brand new characters will take up the Clone Wars torch, but we’ll keep you updated as more reports arrive.
What do you think of the decision to once again follow a group of teenage heroes in the early days of the Rebellion? Does the opportunity to see more characters from the original Star Wars trilogy make up for the show not being set in the future? Or is it the feature films you’re waiting for? Sound off in the comments.
Star Wars Episode VII is currently targeting a 2015 release.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.