Ready for some awesome news, Star Wars fans? Ready for some awesome news, animation fans? Oh, and ready for some awesome news, fans of Star Wars and animation? While the exact plot and characters are still top secret, we now know the title and the first details about the upcoming new Star Wars animated series, which has officially begun production.
Fall 2014 will see the debut of Star Wars Rebels, from Dave Filoni and Greg Weisman. The two animation powerhouses will be joined by Simon Kinberg, with all three serving as executive producers on the series and Kinberg writing the premiere episode.
For Filoni, this will mark his continuing career with Star Wars, coming off his work guiding the excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars as that show’s supervising director. Prior to The Clone Wars, Filoni worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, among other credits. While Weisman hasn’t worked on Star Wars before, his previous animated series — including Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man and the recently-concluded Young Justice — have given him his own well-deserved fanbase in animation. Kinberg’s resume is in live-action film (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes), not animation, but he’s a big part of the upcoming new Star Wars feature films. He’ll be writing one of the stand-alone movies, set outside the new trilogy kicking off with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, while also serving as a consultant on Episode VII.
Star Wars Rebels, which will air on Disney XD, is described as an “action-filled series”, set between the events of Episode III and IV. There was a lot of speculation about when the new Star Wars animated series would take place, with many assuming the most likely era was post-Episode VI, to lead into the new trilogy. Instead, as the title notes, Rebels occurs “in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.” There is about 20 years of time in-between Episode III and IV in the Star Wars timeline, so there are still plenty of questions about whether this will take place closer to Revenge of the Sith or A New Hope, or perhaps right in the middle…
While no art has been released from Star Wars Rebels as yet, Filoni posted a drawing a couple of weeks ago of a TIE Fighter that was presumably from the mysterious new animated series. The confirmation of the timeframe Rebels takes place in would certainly seem to suggest that was indeed preliminary art from this series.
Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “The entire team at Lucasfilm has provided extraordinary creativity and innovation for over three decades, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the expansive and imaginative world of Star Wars to Disney XD’s viewers.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”
Star Wars Rebels will first debut fall 2014 as a one-hour special on Disney Channel, with the ongoing series airing on Disney XD channels around the world.
For more on Star Wars Rebels, check out a new video of Dave Filoni first posted on StarWars.com (see above). Update: Filoni reveals a couple of key Clone Wars collaborators are returning for Star Wars Rebels, including Kilian Plunkett (Art Director) and Joel Aron (CG Supervisor). Filoni also notes the influence Ralph McQuarrie’s original Star Wars art is having on Rebels.
Fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe in Germany this July will be the first to get an exclusive look at the new series.