To celebrate the launch of the new Star Wars Rebels animated series on Disney XD (brand new episodes every Saturday at 09:20 on DStv Channel 304), The Walt Disney Company Africa (TWDA) has commissioned a unique graffiti project in Cape Town and Johannesburg, introducing local communities to the popular new characters. With the hype surrounding 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII, the show couldn’t come at a better time!
The Disney animated Star Wars spin-off is set five years before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and fourteen years after the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Council in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story unfolds during a dark time when the evil Galactic Empire is tightening its grip of power on the galaxy. A motley group of rebels (cowboy Jedi Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the “muscle” Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and cantankerous old astromech droid Chopper) band together aboard a freighter starship called the Ghost (a Millennium Falcon-esque ship). Somebody say space western Firefly? The series will also focus on the origins of some of the groups that form the Rebel Alliance.
World-renowned local graffiti artists Justin “Nomad” Badenhorst and Charles “Riot” Keylock have created billboard walls outside Mzoli’s, the popular tourist hotspot and hangout for locals in Gugulethu, Cape Town. As the video below shows, The Rebels then gathered in Soweto, where a wall in Pimville was transformed. With local residents looking on, each wall took 5 days to bring the eye-catching artwork to completion.
The animated series premiered last month to 6.5m viewers worldwide – you’ll admit that this unusually high ratings for children’s programming. That’s because it’s so much more than just kids entertainment. The familiar soundtrack, the character design (by the great Ralph McQuarrie) and iconic sound effects (lightsabers vooming, TIE fighters screaming around and yes, that incomparable blaster noise) will immediately transport any fan back to the original 1970s Star Wars. And if that doesn’t, Jedi Kanan will. He seems like the perfect mashup of classic characters Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.