Before we can set off on the next installment of the Star Wars saga with Episode VII, there’s still a little more back story in need of filling in. Specifically, what events followed after Episode III – where we saw the birth of Darth Vader, the destruction of the Jedi, and the end of the Republic – and led to the rebellion that’s already in full swing at the beginning of Episode IV.

Enter Star Wars Rebels, Disney XD’s newest animated series that is serving as a bridge between the two trilogies. Premiering this fall, Rebels will be our first look at the ‘post-Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm’ Star Wars universe; along with the prequel novel, A New Dawn, Rebels will be the launching pad for their new shared media universe (or galaxy, if you prefer).

With Rebels setting the stage for this next phase of the franchise, expectations for the series are high. Yet, with Dave Filoni (supervising director on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Lucasfilm’s Director of Creative Content Strategy Carrie Beck, and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) heavily involved, Rebels appears to be in good hands. Also on board as an executive producer is Greg Weisman (Young Justice, Gargoyles), just in case you needed more animation pedigree to calm any anxieties you might have about Rebels‘ creative team.

From the clips and trailers that have been shared so far, Rebels is following the tried and true formula of many adventures – a group of ragtag nobodies coming together to fight impossible odds. Though hopefully, Rebels will make good use of its eclectic band of characters, and (like Clone Wars before it) spend time developing and defining them beyond their given archetypes.

Keeping the promotional buzz strong, Disney XD has dropped three more TV spots for Rebels. Watch the first above, and two more below:

For the most part these spots only offer glimpses of the action – teasing us with what’s to come – but they’re also presented in a way that drives home the series’ role as the bridge between the saga’s chapters. Obviously, the “Timeline” spot makes this the most apparent by using clips straight from the previous live-action Star Wars films.

Still, each of these spots manages to effectively put the focus squarely on the beginnings of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire and how its ramifications are felt throughout the original trilogy – and beyond. This is something even Kinberg recently commented on, hinting at how what’s seen in Rebels could conceivably play a larger role in Episode VII than we initially thought.

star wars rebels sabine art attack Star Wars Rebels TV Spots: Fight the Empire

In addition to stressing Rebels strong ties with the film franchise, these spots manage something else many Star Wars fans – especially women – will likely appreciate: putting strong female leads front and center. This is most noticeable in the final spot, “Take a Stand” which only mentions two characters by name: Hera and Sabine. And while their inclusion on Rebels is not only refreshing but welcomed, you have to wonder how much their being featured in the build up to the series’ premiere is in response to the criticism the Star Wars Universe continues to receive for its lack of female characters.

All in all, we here at Screen Rant are very excited for Star Wars Rebels and the new avenues into the Star Wars Universe it will open. What are your expectations for the series? Is it one of your must-watch shows of this coming fall TV season? Sound off in the comments below!

Star Wars Rebels premieres with the one-hour special “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” on Disney XD on October 3rd, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It begins its regular series run a week and a half later on October 13th (also at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD).

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