If you thought Season 1 of Star Wars Rebels was great – you haven’t seen anything yet! In the preview alone, we saw glimpses of Hondo, the return of Captain Rex, more of Ahsoka Tano, and of course the menacing presence of Darth Vader. Star Wars Rebels is truly a bridge between the Clone Wars era and the era from A New Hope. More and more characters from both are appearing as the stories become interwoven. But what is so great about the job Dave Filoni (writer and executive produce of Rebels) and the crew at Rebels is doing, they are able to keep the focus on the crew of the Ghost (Hera, Kanan, Ezra, Sabine, Jeb, and Chopper). To be able to balance the fan excitement over the return of much beloved characters while still focusing on the story and character development of our new heroes is incredibly difficult. As Simon Kinberg (writer and executive producer for Rebels) said at the Season 2 press conference, “There’s an automatic pressure when you do anything with the words ‘Star Wars’ in the title…It’s like writing books for the Bible, like adding books to the New or Old Testament. Once you start, you know the pressure is going to be THAT (high) throughout.” Indeed Star Wars fans can be incredibly protective of the continuity of characters and Star Wars lore. Yet if Season 1 is any indication, they will continue to do a remarkable job.
On top of what we’ve seen in the trailer, another fan favorite returns in the Season 2 premiere. I’m not going to tell you who because some things are better left as a surprise, but be sure to watch on June 20th when the first episode of the new season premieres to find out who it is. Unfortunately, the rest of Season 2, like Season 1, will begin airing in the Fall which means a long wait for us loyal fans. For those lucky enough to see the premiere at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (SWCA), it means an even longer wait! But seeing that first episode was jaw-dropping fun tinged with a bit of chilling excitement, and gives us a lot to look forward to. At the press conference, Dave said that Season 1 was about exploring how Ezra fit into this new family of his but in Season 2 we’ll have a chance to look more in depth at all the characters and explore their backgrounds in greater detail including finding out about Ezra’s parents, Sabine’s family, Kanan’s background, and even Chopper.
When asked about the role Sarah Michelle Gellar would play in the upcoming season, Freddie Prinze, Jr. (who plays Kanan) answered, “My wife? She played the Wookie in season 1. She plays Chewbacca’s lady in our show in Season 2….outside of that I can’t tell you anything because it would spoil the surprise. She’s really hairy. She has a great low growl. And she can grunt with the best of them.” Of course he was kidding, but it was a light-hearted and funny moment – one of many that filled the hour we got to spend with Dave, Simon and the entire cast. Freddie got another great response in when someone mentioned that the entire crew of the Ghost had Biblical names. He responded, “Is Chopper Old Testament or New Testament?” And when one person asked if Dave knew what was coming up for Season 2, he said, “The answer is ‘I don’t know…’ but I DO know so that’s a blatant lie.” The entire room laughed out loud.
They were all gracious and funny and endearing people and it’s so easy to see why the show does so well. The cast have such a great rapport together and really look out for one another. They all seem to sense not only the responsibility of their roles (especially super fan Vanessa Marshall who plays Hera and nearly equally super fan Freddie), but they seem humbled by the experience of it all. My favorite was when they walked out on stage for the Rebels panel at SWCA taking pictures of the audience. They just seemed so genuinely pleased to be there. Probably the most touching answer of the day was when someone asked Freddie to describe his role as a voice actor rather than being on screen and if there was any transition between the two. Freddie responded, “I honestly have more fun doing this than any acting job on camera that I ever did…It’s a lot easier if you’re a father of two to work once a week in the valley for six hours than to go to Australia for six months and not see your family. So it’s not a transition for me at all. I wanted to be a father more than an actor so once my daughter was born I already had one foot out the door.” He paused for a moment and then asked Vanessa without turning around to look at her, “Are you crying?” And everyone burst out laughing. They all attested to Freddie’s devotion as a father and Vanessa said he was the best in the world. To which Freddie responded, “No, no. Top 10 maybe.”
Overall, this kind of respect, love, fun, kidding around, and mutual admiration of one another bleeds on to the screen when we watch this amazing show. So if you haven’t jumped on board yet, you’ll find yourself hooked. And for those of us who are already hooked, I’ll be waiting along with you for Season 2! May the Force be with you!