Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012 has given rise to a new era for the multimedia Star Wars property that so far includes a third Episode movie trilogy, live-action spinoffs, video games and a second animated TV series in Star Wars Rebels, in addition to several novels and comic books that further fill in gaps in the modern Star Wars canon. Rebels in particular examines life in the Star Wars galaxy in the aftermath of Emperor Palpatine's rise to power and the formation of a unified Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire (seen on the big screen most recently in last year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Rogue One and Rebels together have painted a far more nuanced and detailed portrait of the Rebel Alliance than that offered during the original Star Wars movie trilogy. The ongoing Rebels season 3 has not only focused heavily on the events that led to the formation of a unified rebellion against the Empire, but the intricacies of The Force itself, via the introduction of characters such as The Bendu (pictured above): a being who exists "in the middle" of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, as well as the Jedi and Sith, accordingly.
The importance of balance in the Force is an idea that has emphasized in not only Rebels, but also Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and before them, the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. Speaking with Comic Book, Rebels showrunner and co-creator Dave Filoni (who also worked on Clone Wars) noted that this idea stems not from the original Star Wars movie trilogy, but rather from the prequel trilogy:
"I think it works into what the struggle is. You want to achieve this balance or you want to become ... I think it's a natural part of it, and really the introduction of this idea of balance comes from the prequels. That's where the prophecy of the chosen one and 'the one who will bring balance,' as quoted by Mace Windu, really comes from. So, I find that very interesting because the prequels add a tremendous amount of depth to all these things, especially ways of the Force. The people, I don't think realize that that's where it comes from, but it's not something that's natural to the original trilogy. It's something that stems from the prequels, which added a tremendous amount to what we know about Star Wars."
George Lucas' Star Wars movie prequel trilogy laid the groundwork for Rebels season 3 especially, in more ways than the show's ongoing exploration of The Force's 'grey area', as Filoni mentions. Episode I - The Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul returned from the dead (so to speak) in the Clone Wars animated TV series, but Rebels season 3 has seen the prequel trilogy veteran serve as an overarching antagonist and frequent complication to the season's proceedings. Part of what has made Maul on Rebels such an interesting antagonist is that his end goal and larger intentions are not entirely clear - and based on what Filoni told Comic Book, the showrunner has looked to Lucas' efforts on the prequel trilogy for inspiration here, too:
"One of the fundamental things to always understand about the light side and the dark side of the Force and the intentions that drive those things are willingness or will to be selfless or selfish. From those two key points of starting grow out either in enlightenment of selflessness or greed and fear and anger and hate, and you just go spiraling down and down and down, but those are the building blocks that George [Lucas] would always talk about and I always keep trying to come back to in everything I do because if you work from that point, then actually you can tell a story with the Force."
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson has similarly noted that the importance of the intention behind someone's use of The Force (be it the Light or Dark Side) was established in the Star Wars prequel trilogy - even arguing that Episode I-III is essentially a story about how Anakin Skywalker's "fear of loss" warps him and leads him down the dark path to becoming Darth Vader. With Rebels' Ezra Bridger having already meddled with the Dark Side once this season (by using a Sith holocron) and Maul poised to continue his efforts to sway Ezra into becoming his pupil over the remaining episodes of Rebels season 3, the impact of the prequel trilogy on Rebels and the larger Star Wars mythology will continue to be felt all the stronger, in the immediate future.
Star Wars Rebels continues tonight with 'Legacy of Mandalore' on Disney XD.
Source: Comic Book