So, I watched the “Star Wars: Rebels” mini-movie this week.
And, not surprisingly, I really liked it. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was glad to see that it wasn’t overly silly or obviously written to appeal exclusively to young children. There seems to be some actual complexity to the characters and we haven’t even really met the villain (who isn’t Darth Vader, mercifully). I’m not sure whether or not the young hero, Ezra, is going to drive me crazy. But I suspect Sabine the Mandalorian is going to be a favorite and I really like the idea of a hidden Jedi at the center of the group.
Despite my enthusiasm, I’m guessing the tv series will be a bit uneven; “The Clone Wars,” which sets a very high bar for cartoon Star Wars series, had clunker episodes. But “Rebels” has an advantage: it’s completely disconnected from the films so the writers aren’t stuck with things like Anakin and Jar Jar that are just unavoidable train wrecks. This means “Rebels” doesn’t have to service characters we disliked in the films so the show can really go anywhere and do anything. When we see these new characters, we have literally no preconceptions and no expectations.
The trick, going forward, will be to get us to care about these characters in the same way we cared about Luke, Leia, and Han … and to avoid the mistakes that George Lucas made when he created an Anakin character we didn’t care about in the least or a Jar Jar character we openly despised.
With all new Star Wars characters comes a new hope.