The upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels takes place between the events of Star Wars: Episode III and Episode IV, while exploring the rise of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire from the perspective of the "motley but clever crew of the starship Ghost." Judging by early footage, Rebels will begin its run as a show geared more towards a young audience, but older Star Wars fans may still want to tune in early on - if only because rumor has it that the series will introduce key elements that factor into the storyline for director J.J. Abrams' Episode VII in 2015.
Lucasfilm has announced that Star Wars Rebels will premiere with a one-hour movie (or, rather, a two-episode pilot), which we now know to be titled "Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion". This Rebels special will be available for verified users to view on WATCHDisneyXD.com and the WATCH Disney XD app starting next month on September 29th; it will premiere on Disney XD just a few days later on the evening of Friday, October 3rd, followed by the full series being launched shortly thereafter on Monday, October 13th.
As mentioned before, Rebels looks to have a kid-friendly bent to it during its early goings, as illustrated by the previously-released 3-minute shorts introducing the main characters - be it "cantankerous old" astromech droid Chopper or the "warrior firebrand" Sabine (voiced by Tiya Sircar). Other central players on the Rebels series include "cowboy Jedi" Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), "ace pilot" Hera (Vanessa Taylor), the "muscle" Zeb (Steve Blum), and "street-smart teenager" Ezra (Taylor Gray). Meanwhile, working for the Dark Side on the show will be such folk as The Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs) and Imperial Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo).
Rebels executive producer and co-creator Simon Kinberg - writer of X-Men: Days of Future Past and co-writer of Sherlock Holmes (2009) - has acknowledged that the series is taking its cues from the original Star Wars movie trilogy, both visually (see: the softer animation style inspired by Ralph McQuarrie's conceptual art for the first Star Wars film) and thematically, with regards to its fun swashbuckler tone. At the same time, however, he says the show ultimately "goes to some dark places," as it begins to really examine the impact of the Empire on the rest of the galaxy (and how that gives rise to a more organized rebellion).
Additional key creative personnel on Star Wars Rebels include co-creators Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Lucasfilm Director of Creative Content Strategy Carrie Beck (Star Wars: The Old Republic - Galactic Starfighter), along with executive producer Greg Weisman (Disney's animated Gargoyles series from the 1990s). All of these folk have produced smart kid-friendly entertainment in the past, which bodes well for their involvement with this new Star Wars TV series.
Star Wars Rebels begins with the one-hour special "Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion" airing on Disney XD on October 3rd, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the regular series getting underway on Monday, October 13th (also at 9 p.m. ET/PT).