We didn’t do many large panels at Star Wars Celebration, opting to do autographs and other events instead. One panel we did not want to miss was the Rebels panel. Creator Dave Filoni has constructed a great story around a great set of characters. The show can be both big and exciting (such as the season three finale) or small and quiet (such as Dueling Suns). It has its own timeline to work with one that is separate from Princess Leia’s rebellion. It serves as a reminder that the rebellion is a larger entity than we often give it credit for in the saga.
Here is what we learned at the Rebels panel:
- Star Wars Rebels, like all things Star Wars, is about the light and the dark forces in the universe.
- Dave Filoni has to write the show not only for those of us well steeped in the mythology but also the newcomers, particularly kids.
- Some thoughts Dave Filoni had about Thrawn:
- He read all the extended universe novels and if he sees an appropriate way to bring some of those characters in the new canon he will. Thrawn was one of those characters.
- He really loved the dichotomy between Thrawn, the student of art, and Sabine, the artist.
- Lars Mikkelson has been amazing as Thrawn, truly understanding the essence of the character.
- Of course, Timothy Zahn, Thrawn’s creator, was brought in to consult the character. Any love of Rebel’s Thrawn should really be directed towards Zahn
- Freddie Prinze Jr talked about how Kanaan has had three teachers on the show: The Inquisitor on the first Season, Maul in the second, and the Bendu on the third. He also remarked how phenomenal Tom Baker’s voice work was on Bendu, who is now Freddie Prinze Jr.’s favorite character.
- Tiya Sircar discussed how the Trials of the Black Saber was different from other episodes. For one, Filoni gave them more specific direction than he normally does. Second, her and Mr. Prinze recorded the dialogue separately from the rest of the cast so they could focus on each other. Later in the panel, Mr. Prinze remarked that this episode helped define the character of Kanaan. Before he was more of the cool uncle, but now he was the Jedi the team needs him to be. He can be the disciplinarian and he can be the rock they need.
- The cast talked about the evolution of Kallas into #hotkallas. He stated that the falling of Kallas’s hair represented the first freedom from the Empire. (Actually, it sounded like that was a happy accident) He was taken unaware by the whole #hotkallas hashtag
- The cast then was asked about their character in season 4
- Venessa Marshall talked about how Hera will have a sharper focus because she needs to especially after the losses in season three.
- Steve Blum said Zeb will become more responsible.
- The cast and Mr. Filoni talked about Chopper. He will be much the same, but offscreen he has become a diva due to being featured in a movie – Rogue One. After the joke, Filoni stated that while Chopper doesn’t have an arc, he does reveal a lot about himself. He also stated that usually, the most “cantankerous” characters are the ones that care the most.
- Tya Sircar was extremely nervous answering this question which leads us to believe that she will be a dynamic character this season. In season three she grew into a capable adult working out her issues with her rebel family. In season 4, she will have to deal with actual family.
- Freddie Prince Jr claimed that Kanaan will have a certainty about him that we have seen in other Jedi. He did remark that he loved Star Wars because Obi-Wan died and, at the time, superheroes, always lived. It made Star Wars real. There is a lot to read into that if you are one of those Star Wars theorists.
- Taylor Grey spoke of how it is time for Ezra to decide what type of Jedi and person he wants to be. He did use the word “selfless” which might ruin some Snoke theories out there…but that’s okay because as Steele Saunders says, “your Snoke theory sucks.”
- Dave Filoni then talked about characters we will see in season four. Mon Montha and Saw Gerrera will both be back. Their return will also coincide with an art style more similar to A New Hope and Rogue One. Finally, he introduces a new character, Rukh, who will be voiced by Warwick Davis. Mr. Davis has been asking for a part and even tried Tricking Mr. Filoni at Celebration London. Rukh is a legends character who was Thrawn’s bodyguard
- Filoni then brought out a family who has been cosplaying as Rebels since before the show was out. (Sorry, they were on the opposite side of the stage from me so my pics didn’t come out well)
- Alluding to the aspect that the show is about a family and for families, it pained Mr. Filoni to announce that Rebels would end after season four. He did say it was his decision and it was the best creative decision for the show. He does know what it is like to end a show before it’s time. However, this is not the end of Star Wars animation.
- We were then shown the season four trailer.
- As a special treat, we were shown the first episode of season four. It is a thrilling episode with enough jokes to break the tension. It also will have a major impact on at least one characters story arc.
We can’t wait for season four, but at the same time, we don’t want Rebels to go.
May the force be with you.