J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII won't have a presence at the 2014 International Comic-Con in San Diego this week; Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm are instead bringing the first canonical installment in the new Star Wars order, the animated series Star Wars Rebels, and will host a preview screening during the 'Con. Ahead of then, however, an extended trailer for the Rebels TV show has dropped online (watch it above) - one that does the best job of selling this series out of the promos released to date, in this writer's opinion.
Rebels, as the extended trailer breaks down, takes place between Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope - with Emperor Palpatine's Galactic Empire having only begun to tighten its iron grip on the Star Wars galaxy. The timeline of the series will allow for certain familiar characters to pop up during the show's run (see: Obi-Wan Kenobi in the new trailer), but the vast majority of Rebels' players - members of the Rebellion and Imperials alike - are going to newcomers to the franchise.
The focus in the latest Rebels trailer (and, without a doubt, the show itself) is Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), a young man from humble beginnings, who falls in with a ragtag team of characters - including Jedi-in-disguise Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Mandalorian (and... um, part-time hipster street artist) Sabine (Tiya Sircar) - who, together, help to form a larger, more organized resistance against the Empire.
Basically, in terms of its story components, Rebels appears to derive certain elements from A New Hope (Ezra as the Luke Skywalker-esque protagonist on a hero's journey), but marries them with "family on a spaceship" tropes (see: Star Trek, Firefly, etc.). Indeed, just as The Operative relentlessly pursues the Firefly clan in the film Serenity, the Rebels crew find themselves being pursued by both Imperial Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) and the mysterious Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs). Rebels' extended trailer also nicely lays out why both of these villains end up being called upon to hunt down the show's heroes.
As detailed in the above poster, a select number of the people who make the journey to San Diego for the International Comic-Con this year will get to preview Rebels before everyone else does - as the show's one-hour pilot won't air until later this year. As mentioned before, though, the TV series will also have a panel at the 2014 International Comic-Con, where additional material from the series will be shown - as detailed in the official description below.
The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Room 6BCF
The Empire. The Rebellion. The Beginning. Star Wars Rebels, Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated animated series detailing the start of the fight against the evil Empire, is coming this fall — but fans can get a big sneak peek at San Diego Comic-Con.
Lucasfilm’s special panel, The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels, will feature executive producer Dave Filoni, as well as the first panel appearance by executive producer Simon Kinberg and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray. They’ll discuss making the show and will reveal exclusive content from the upcoming series for fans in attendance.
Based on the latest trailer, it seems as though Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni - working alongside writer/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and producer Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice) - may now have a stronger hold on how to create a Star Wars series that works as both kids' entertainment and an exploration of more complex stories set within the sci-fi/fantasy universe of Star Wars - similar to the later seasons on the animated Clone Wars TV series, which Filoni oversaw.
No doubt, there will still be some sticking points for certain Star Wars fans (see: mixed reactions thus far to the show's Ralph McQuarrie artwork-inspired aesthetic); not to mention, the possibility that the newest preview might ultimately not prove to be an accurate reflection of the show's general tone and style. However, for the time being, what's been show has got us interested in taking this return trip to an animated galaxy far, far away. Of course, feel free to let us know how you feel, in the comments section of this article.
San Diego Comic-Con 2014 takes place from July 24-27th this week, so stay tuned for our coverage (which shall include the Rebels panel).
Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney XD in Fall 2014.