By Richard and Sarah Woloski
STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION is classic STAR WARS. It follows Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle which was brilliantly demonstrated with Luke Skywalker’s journey in STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE. From the Call To Adventure, the Refusal Of The Call, the Mentor and allies to the struggles, the steps are all there for Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray). There is a clear story arch for him that will surely strike a chord in the younger viewers while teaching them a lesson about friendship and family.
Ezra Bridger is as a street rat out for himself, but when he inadvertently joins Hera’s close-knit band of Rebels, he begins to see the benefit of helping others. From giving food to those whose lives the Empire has ruined to reuniting a father and son Wookiee, Ezra is slowly discovering his place in the galaxy.
Each character is well developed and fun to watch. From the feisty astromech droid Chopper (this series answer to R2-D2) to the group’s muscle (and Chewbacca precursor) Zeb! It won’t take kids long to figure out everyone’s purpose and what each one brings to the cause of fighting the evil Empire. Already established in SPARK OF REBELLION is the relationships between Kanan and Hera and their romantically-tinged connection, and the antagonistic respect/hate relationship between Zeb and Ezra.
The biggest draw for the first generation of STAR WARS fans is that this series was modeled after the original concepts done by Ralph McQuarrie. This was the artist who came up with the original designs for STAR WARS back in the mid-1970’s. Anyone who grew up during this time period will instantly recognize the artistry and brush strokes from the Ralph McQuarrie portfolios that were commercially released for each of the original films. For the kids who don’t know this piece of STAR WARS history, they will love the character and color choices since they look like toys and action figures (even down to the way the Wookiee fur looks like molded plastic). Well played Disney, Well played…
Do you have to be a kid or a rabid STAR WARS fan to appreciate STAR WARS REBELS? We asked our correspondent George Gensler, a Star Wars agnostic who attended the NYC screening, her impressions.
STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION is a compelling story and a clever way to introduce viewers to the history of the show and characters and the progression of the series. The story stood on its own and I would be interested in it even if it weren’t connected to Star Wars. In fact, I’m setting my DVR to record it now. So, the bottom line is you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy STAR WARS REBELS, because the story is there, the characters are there, and the trailer at the end made me want to watch more.
We have set our DVRs to RECORD and are greatly looking forward to the first fully-realized televised STAR WARS project since the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm on October 30th, 2012.
STAR WARS REBELS debuts Friday 10/3 on the Disney Channel, with the series airing weekly on Disney XD beginning 10/13. Finally, SPARK OF REBELLION is released on DVD Tuesday 10/14. If you have Disney XD VOD or the Disney XD App on your Apple TV, you can watch SPARK OF REBELLION right now. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and turn on your TV!
To hear our full Skywalking Through Neverland Podcast episode all about the L.A.Premiere, Star Wars Rebels review and so much more, click below.