I never watched The Clone Wars. There, I said it. The idea never really did anything for me, and I’m a huge Star Wars geek that actually LIKES the prequels, but when I saw the trailer for the Clone Wars movie and saw a baby Hutt (apparently, Jabba’s son – I don’t even WANT to know how he made him!), I decided no thanks, and steered clear. So when Star Wars Rebels was announced, I was sceptical, but the setting intrigued me, placed just 5 years before the events of Episode IV, the premise promised a much more Star Wars feel from my childhood, with the less flashy Old Republic designs and the more Imperial utilitarian feel to the ships, buildings and planets. So I gave it a shot.
Best decision ever.
There are some great character designs. I was expecting to find the main protagonist, Ezra, a 14-year old street urchin, to be incredibly annoying, as with most child/teenage characters, but he actually isn’t… In fact, none of them are, and each design evokes the Star Wars universe, in particular Zeb, the strong arm of the Ghost crew, who is based on a concept design for Chewbacca by the great Ralph McQuarrie.
The chase scene early in the episode is wildly entertaining, but feeling more like Indiana Jones than Star Wars, with even the soundtrack taking an Indy lilt as the titular Rebels weave their way through the city. Speaking of the soundtrack, it is heavily reminiscient of the original trilogy’s soundtrack, taking several beats from Episode IV in particular, which helps to capture the magic and excitement of the movies. The battle scenes throughout are just as exciting, with my fears of Disney making every skirmish with the Empire resulting in a hundred A-Team moments being completely unfounded (For those of you who don’t get that reference, then shame on you! The A-Team was notorious for having no-one die. A hundred bullets would be fired by the guys, but there wouldn’t be a scratch on anyone. Cars would explode, and helicopters would fall out of the sky, but people would always get out).
The Star Wars accent game kicks in too, but instead of Asian Neimodians, we get the very, VERY English Imperials, with the higher the rank, the posher they become, but all the voice work of the principal characters is well done, feeling natural and fitting in well with the character they belong to, with the exception of a brief cameo from Obi-Wan Kenobi, which sounds like someone doing a poor impersonation of Ewan McGregor.
On the whole, if this episode shows only a small portion of what this series brings to the Star Wars table, I’ll be a very happy chappy indeed, as this might just tide me over until Episode VII’s release in December next year.
And in case you were waiting for the eye-rolling referential quote about what I thought about it;
The Force is indeed strong with this one…