The first previews are out for Star Wars: Rebels, a new Disney XD animated series due out in Fall 2014. And the first images and clips, featuring new characters from the series, are exactly what I expected to see once Disney got hold of the Star Wars franchise.
It’s Star Wars, Aladdin style.
Not to knock Aladdin. It was a fun Disney film as Disney films go. But this is supposed to be Star Wars. Where the animated series Clone Wars was accessible by an adult and child audience alike, Star Wars: Rebels seems to be a bit on the silly side, the kind of antics and humor you’d expect from those sidekicks in your average big-screen, animated Disney flick. Unlikely to be targeted at the fan base, instead opting for new, younger viewers. But why exclude the fan base?
Judge for yourself. After the break, check out these first clips and images from Star Wars: Rebels:
They do have a Mandalorian, but the first images out of the gates aren’t screaming with cool. Sure, there may be some promise that the Mandalorian is a girl, but a graffiti artist is her forte? Huh? As much as I love Boba Fett, we have had way too much of a good thing. George Lucas went into bizarro land by making the entire clone army copies of Boba’s father–every stormtrooper became a Fett. The Mandalorian helmet, when churned back through the prequels, became the inspiration for the helmet of choice of the entire Imperial fleet? Now the first character we see from Disney goes back to the well again. And the character called Hera is another Twi’lek–the pointy-headed aliens that showed up in the prequels and nearly everything since. Then there’s a cantankerous, grumpy droid. Sound familiar? Innovation… creativity… a Jedi needs not these things— apparently.
The only thing that actually evokes Star Wars in these behind the scenes images is John Williams’ pre-Disney, classic film score. Is Disney going to rely on Williams’ work for the series or create some new music? Is that all you need to be able to call something Star Wars? How many times do you think we’ll hear the line “I have a bad feeling about this?” How about fixing what needs fixed? Here’s an idea: Don’t use the prequels as your guide for the new Star Wars. Use Episodes 4 and 5.
It’s going to be an uphill climb for sure. Which is why it’s been so refreshing over the years having all the great Star Wars work coming out of Dark Horse. We’ll still give Star Wars: Rebels a shot, but the future all seems so predictable. Wouldn’t it be nice to be proved wrong?