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STAR WARS REBELS Season 2 Premiere and Panel at STAR WARS Celebration

The days of Star Wars Celebration don’t have set themes, but if they did, Saturday of the convention was definitely Star Wars Rebels day. Rebels-centric events included a panel, a press conference, a red carpet, and the Season 2 premiere—oh my. Executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg, primary cast members Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, Taylor Gray, and Steve Blum, and a couple of special guests were on hand to discuss the road so far and what’s ahead for the crew of the Ghost in Season 2. I won’t spoil anything beyond what was revealed in the Season 2 trailer so before we go any further, watch it if you haven’t:

How about them apples? We see more of Darth Vader (James Earl Jones will continue to voice the character), more of Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), and the return of some other characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The beloved Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) is back (he’s alive and somehow overcame his Order 66 programming!) and Hondo Ohnaka (Jim Cummings) shows up. And then there’s Emperor Palpatine, voiced by Sam Witwer. The trailer shows the Empire is very much set on taking down the rebels from Lothal, and the organization of rebel cells is seemingly driving the Empire to take action. Plenty of said action is on display in the above footage. They revealed more than I expected they would with the trailer and the trend continued in the Season 2 premiere.

Before looking towards the future though, Filoni and Kinberg talked about the genesis of Rebels. Filoni said something all of them wanted to explore was the idea of Force-sensitive kid growing up in a galaxy without the Jedi. Kinberg mentioned he wanted there to be a family dynamic as well–something like the sense of living on the Millennium Falcon with a group of friends that felt like family. Kinberg said the tone was incredibly important to them. They wanted to make it as much like the original trilogy as possible and bring in the same “humor, humanity, and velocity.”

Elements from the original trilogy popped up over Season 1, and Ezra found his place among the crew of the Ghost. By the end of the season, they worked together mostly seamlessly. The cast discussed the journey of Ezra, Kanan, Hera, Sabine, and Zeb was paralleled in real life to a certain degree. Marshall said, “Our energies as we roam the earth are pretty much like our characters.” They’re a motley crew in real life, too.

Season 1 showed off the skills of each of the crew members, but it was heavily focused on Kanan and Ezra and setting up the broad picture of a galaxy in conflict. Season 2 will go more into everyone’s backstories. Prinze said we’ll learn a lot about why Kanan is the way he is and we’ll find that out “through a special character.” We haven’t seen the last of Ezra’s parents either. Filoni said they know kids will wonder about where they went and they have to cover what happened to Ezra’s mom and dad. Season 2 goes so much into background that there will even be an in depth backstory on Chopper.

The overall theme of family was strong in Season 1, and for the characters, there was a theme of turning points. Season 2 will switch gears and feature new, outside challenges to the family they’ve established. The season will explore each character’s individual growth. Each person will have to struggle with who they are and where they came from, and each of them will have to make a choice.

The first two episodes of Season 2 bring in the outside challenges in droves. The Ghost crew is adapting to life within the Rebellion and having to adjust to working and coordinating with others. They’re more or less part of an organization now and can’t go running off on their own. The stakes are higher, the Empire is on their trail, and though it sounds overly dramatic, the galaxy is at a crossroads. It is truly a time when the message of hope can turn the tides, and the weight that comes with such responsibility is apparent in the premiere. They went to surprising and unexpected places right out of the gate, and if you’re not caught up on the series, do so immediately if not sooner. You won’t want to miss this. The official premiere date for Star Wars Rebels Season 2 hasn’t been announced, but you’ll want to be ready.

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