As a long time Star Wars fan, I’m one of the people who thought that the series could only improve with being handed over to Disney.
The beauty of Star Wars for me was always in how seemingly simplistic characters and concepts could be tied together into such an enthralling adventure series. And while some deconstructions of the franchise have worked, most of the related media to Star Wars has just become increasingly dense and unenjoyable in the last few years. Star Wars Rebels, the newest animated series in the franchise, may be aimed at more of a tween to teen market, but it still manages to capture what made so much of the original movies fascinating: the sense of adventure, the fight of good against evil, and other universal concepts.
Rebels is set 14 years after Episode 3, and some time before Episode 4. Spark of Rebellion is the first two episodes of the series, condensed into one hour long TV movie. The central protagonist is Ezra Bridger, a teen with mysterious Force potential, who is caught up with a rag-tag bunch of outlaws, including a former Jedi apprentice, a Mandalorian Warrior, a droid, and a pilot. From there, they begin to travel around the galaxy, righting wrongs and generally being a thorn in the Empires side. It is implied that this group will one day form an important part of the famous Rebel Alliance.
As a stand-alone story, Spark of Rebellion works quite well. The plot is self-contained, the characters introduced well, and the flow of action is carried appropriately. The cast may read like a list of stereotypes, but I believe that’s part of the point. A series like this works best with several known archetypes interacting in interesting scenarios, and from what I’ve seen of the series so far, they pretty much each come into their own in one way or another.
I’ve been enjoying Rebels as a series so far, although it’s probably not as deep or dark as The Clone Wars was even at times. That is not to say it is shallow, as it manages a good blend of character development and imaginative action. If you have an interest in the series, this is probably a good place to start, although adult Star Wars fans probably wouldn’t miss much by just waiting for Episode 7 later this year.