The Star Wars franchise has sparked a plethora of by-products, either written, directed or animated. Yet, some of these works stand out as more viable and that is the case of Disney’s Star Wars: Rebels – sweet treat for the die-hard fans of George Lucas’ masterwork.
A regular day in the galaxy – the fraction of the rebelliants fighting the greater evil of the imperial oppressor exists and manages to make the Emperor’s life a misery. The Jedi knights, vanquished after the infamous Order 66 was executed, are shattered, but there comes a ray of hope. One of the rebel ships finds Ezra – an orpahned kid from planet Lothal – who taught by Kanan and the rest of the crew, grows strong with the force.
Star Wars: Rebels follows the well-known pattern of George Lucas’ understanding of the good vs. evil topic – the sides are very coherently defined. Ezra and the rest of the crew deal with squillions of vapid stormtroopers, take on an evil cousin of Darth Maul named the Grand Inquisitor, but this is only the background for the “real thing” – the Jedi being reborn. The creators put an emphasis on that, bringing in classics like Master Yoda and sketching a broad picture of what the Jedi fraction went through, what it used to be and what the future looks like. What’s more, Star Wars: Rebels offer lots of stuff we love Star Wars for – there are spectacular lightsaber duels, TIE fighters whistling in the galaxy and numerous creatures known from the prequels and original trilogy.
The characters are also convincingly motivated and likeable. Ezra, an orphan zealously craving to avenge his parents’, quickly gained my whole-hearted support, just as Kanan did – an Obi-Wan type of Jedi knight, struggling with the burden of the responsibility he carries as the last Jedi master. A remarkable addition to the team is the droid named Chopper, which not only “fills in” the space of R2D2, but happens to be more “human” than other members of the crew – Sabine, Hera or Zeb. On the other side comes the aforementioned Inquisitor – a malicious being, which definitely stands in the line with the already known Sith warriors.
What possibly could discourage from soaking into the Star Wars: Rebels is the graphics. Although the specific atmosphere of Lucas’ magnum opus is transferred and sustained in an impeccable manner, the animation itself is somehow B-grade. At times it feels as if we’re watching a cinematic interlude from one of the Star Wars games – not a content-packed sidestory of the franchise. Majestic things doesn’t happen in the music design too, yet hearing the Imperial March weaved swiftly as some of the iconic characters of the franchise appear, brings out a sheer smile.
I wouldn’t call Star Wars: Rebels a must-see for the fans of Lucas’ franchise. Die-hard fans will obviously feel delighted, but the animated series are more like the ones in the DC universe starring Batman. They are a sweet treat for those, who sink deep into the lore – otherwise, it’s just a cartoon, that doesn’t exactly target children, but might fail to attract ordinary audiences.