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What To Watch: ‘Star Wars – Rebels’ Returns Tonight!

“Jedi Master” Dave Filoni; Art Director, Killian Plunkett; and voice of Twi’lek pilot, Hera, Vanessa Marshall at WonderCon 2014

Greetings and Salutations, fellow Fridge Nukers! Bradfield here, reporting from an undisclosed Rebel base, somewhere in the Outer Rim.

Being the first collaboration since Disney acquired the Lucasfilm catalog — and the only Star Wars related property to tide fans over until the release of JJ Abrams’ continuation of the classic space opera a little less than a year from now — all eyes have been on the Disney XD animated series, Star Wars: Rebels since the cast and crew made the rounds during the 2014 “convention season.” It debuted with a long form animated film, Spark of Rebellion, in early October, and since then, there have been seven half-hour episodes [which played, in marathon form, throughout the holiday season].

The crew of The Ghost (clockwise from top); Lasat enforcer, Zeb, Jedi in hiding, Kanan, Force adept, Ezra, Mandalorian assassin, Sabine, and Twi’lek pilot, Hera.

The show has been mostly well received by fans and critics alike, and with good reason. For one, the series is spearheaded by Dave Filoni, who, as the guiding voice on Cartoon Network’s The Clone Wars [TCW], managed to win over hardened, old-school Star Wars fans to characters and stories spinning out of the much-debated Prequel Trilogy. Also falling under the “different, but somewhat the same” category is the look of the show. Both shows are computer animated, but where TCW was largely influenced by Warner Bros/Cartoon Network mainstay, Genndy Tartakofsky, the look of Rebels is decidedly Disney by way of the man who created the visual end of the original Star Wars Universe, design genius Ralph McQuarrie. Add to the mix a top-shelf cast of voice actors — including Freddie Prinze Jr. as fugitive Jedi, Kanan Jarrus and Transformers’ Steve Blum as Zeb, a Lasat (a species not unlike McQuarrie’s original designs for Chewbacca) bruiser who travels with Kanan in a spaceship called “The Ghost” — and you have all the elements for at least for a successful series, if not a “home run.”

If you haven’t jumped on board yet [perhaps you’re skeptical and believe a Gungan is about to show up] take a look at the extended preview released earlier this year:

Ezra Bridger. Future ally to the nascent Jedi Order? Or threat?

Though I will tread lightly, I do feel a basic “Spoiler Alert” is in order. The second half of the season sees series lead, Ezra — Kanan’s de facto Padwan — and Kanan coming to terms with Ezra’s recent display of Dark Side powers against series Big Bad, Sith wannabe The Inquisitor. To work out exactly where  the lad is headed, Kanan takes him on a “field trip” to the now-fallen Jedi Temple for a little… let’s call it “Dagobah Tree Therapy.”

Star Wars: Rebels, Season One – Part Two debuts tonight on Disney XD at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central).

[Sources: panels at WonderCon and ComicCon2014, StarWars.com, and Wikepedia. Original images by Robyn Bobby. All other images property of Disney/Lucasfilm.]