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It’s a fascinating time to be a Star Wars fan with all the new content on the horizon. For some, there is nothing but excitement as they don’t hesitate to embrace anything new bearing the Star Wars moniker–be it books, games, TV, movies or other merchandise in its various forms. But for others, there is a certain amount of fear associated with the changes that have recently occurred or are coming soon. Perhaps they embraced the Expanded Universe and were disappointed by its transition to “Legends” status. Or maybe they were big fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show and are still hurt by its cancellation. Still others might be Original Trilogy purists who hated the Prequels and now look at the Sequel Trilogy with trepidation as it will feature “their” characters but under the stewardship of Disney.

But to me, what is most interesting is that this is not a new phenomenon. Because Star Wars has always been about change–and defying expectations. For instance, in the novelization of Return of the Jedi, Owen Lars is said to be Obi-Wan’s brother, anyone who’s read Leigh Brackett’s original draft of The Empire Strikes Back can testify to the fact that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader weren’t always the same person, and of course Star Wars was not given the subtitle Episode IV A New Hope” until it was theatrically re-released in 1981.

There’s a reason that attachment is forbidden for a Jedi, because if you think about it, the Prequel Trilogy films are some of the most subversive movies ever made because they continually challenged the audience’s perceptions of the Force, the Jedi, and the general context of the Original Trilogy. By having a new character like Qui-Gon Jinn confront and ultimately become the teacher (in regards to joining the Force and retaining one’s identity after death) of established icons Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas seems to be suggesting that there is always more of the story to be told.

Which brings me to Star Wars Rebels.  This show will be, in essence, a weekly re-defining of the Saga in general and of this time period specifically. Just as the Prequels and The Clone Wars did before it, this show will canonically explore the events of a history we only thought we knew. And though we’ve only seen clips to this point (including the first 7 minutes of the pilot), we’ve already been challenged to accept the fact that a few Jedi did escape Order 66 and the previously established The Force Unleashed subplot no longer “counts.” These revelations and everything still to come from Star Wars Rebels have re-framed the context of Episode IV –and will continue to do so.

I will be writing up a full review of the first episode of Star Wars Rebels upon its release, but for now, here are some quick thoughts on what’s been released to this point:

** The voice cast is top-notch and is full of huge Star Wars fans who really seem to appreciate being a part of this project (previous Rebels Reactions guest Vanessa Marshall for example), and it’s especially cool to see James Arnold Taylor back–albeit briefly to this point–as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  One has to wonder if any other The Clone Wars actors, particularly Ashley Eckstein’s Ahsoka Tano, will make an appearance at some point.

** Many people have made the comparison between Ezra and Aladdin from the eponymous 1992 Disney film, and while I can see the similarities, I’m also reminded of the descriptions of a young Han Solo from early drafts of Revenge of the Sith.  That, combined with Lucas’ well-known aversion to throwing away concepts, provides another potential source for Ezra’s appearance and behavior. Besides, if we’re going to see a form of the “Hero’s Journey” with Ezra, he’s gotta start off as a bit of a scoundrel and stealing food from someone he just helped certainly qualifies.

** The Inquisitor is not a Sith and this was recently confirmed by Pablo Hidalgo.  For some, this might not be that big of a deal, but I appreciate this greatly as I believe the “Rule of Two” plays a huge part in the Palpatine/Vader/Luke Skywalker dynamic, and the presence of another Sith–even one that could be disposed of before the Original Trilogy–creates an unnecessary distraction. Additionally, this clarification potentially opens the door for Dark Side Force users in the Sequel Trilogy who don’t have to be Sith and while preserving their destruction by the Chosen One in Return of the Jedi.

** The show’s portrayal of Ezra and Kanan being able to sense each other through the Force reminded me a bit of Highlander, and yes, that’s a good thing.

** Kanan, Zeb, and Sabine make for a very tight and disciplined unit. The introduction of Ezra into this dynamic will be fun to watch.

** The repetition of dialogue was fun (“…he’s gonna end you/I’m gonna end him”) and I especially enjoyed the whole “Who is this kid?”/”Who are these guys?” bit as it called to mind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid–and that’s definitely a good thing.

** I loved the music cues and sound effects–especially the TIE fighter. Overall, Rebels felt like it belonged in the Star Wars universe and I can’t think of a higher compliment to make.

Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at cdickinson@coffeewithkenobi.com. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”

And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis.

This IS the podcast you’re looking for!

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18 Comments

  1. ladylavinia1932
    August 11, 2014 at 12:03 Reply

    I hope that “REBELS” doesn’t become nothing more than an extension of the Rebel Alliance story told in Original Trilogy. But I fear it might.

  2. Jon
    August 11, 2014 at 13:34 Reply

    Well, please remember that audiences don’t always watch Star Wars to have “expectations challenged”. We watch Star Wars to be entertained.

    If you are going to side with that assumption, that changing perceptions is good, it would be interesting to see your reaction if Filoni decided to make the Inquisitor a Sith later on in the series, and possibly make the “Rule of Two” a part of legends. Would you still embrace having your expectations challenged if he were to decide to create this new concept, or would you find it within yourself to disagree with having your perception changed?

    Make no mistake, I am curious and cautiously optimistic to see Rebels, and I understand you and others are trying to pull the fans into a new era. Eventually we will be able to embrace Rebels and Episode VII. It will take a while for some of us.

    But this is a painful transition. There are Clone Wars fans still in anguish over the sudden cancellation. There are EU fans who must adjust to the sudden cutting away of the EU into “Legends”. Turning off emotions and attachments isn’t as easy for some as it is for others. Try comforting Barriss Offee fans on Youtube, Facebook and Deviantart.com, There’s a pain and anguish from watching your favorite Jedi character altered into a traitor forever in official history. Blogs and articles and podcasts don’t always cover the end results of challenging expectations.

    I know Rebels will be good, and the characters will become iconic. I’m interested in seeing what Filoni does with the show.

    As a Star Wars fan, I sincerely wish him well, I look forward to seeing the show grow. Having been a Barriss Offee fan for almost ten years, all I can say is I wish he would stop challenging our expectations. Constantly challenging us eventually turns Star Wars and Filoni’s involvement into something we have to tolerate when we try so hard to enjoy it.

    1. Jon
      August 11, 2014 at 13:44 Reply

      I do want to repeat that I am looking forward to the show. I will overcome the hurdles of being challenged. It’s a transition phase, so I am still learning to adjust to the new era of Star Wars,,,,

    2. Craig Dickinson
      August 15, 2014 at 11:05 Reply

      Jon,

      Thank you for your feedback and well-crafted response. I’ve included a longer reply at the bottom to hopefully clarify a few things a bit. Thanks for reading!

      1. Jon
        August 15, 2014 at 11:22 Reply

        Thank you for the response. I felt a lot of emotional turmoil since March of 2013 and I was adrift without answers to many questions.

        It’s been a long road, but I think when Rebels starts up again, I can find a place in the new era to celebrate Star Wars. It is a buffet to enjoy, and I look forward to seeing the new stories yet to be told….

    3. Danil Graf
      August 16, 2014 at 19:17 Reply

      Barriss Offee is now to me an asshole for betray Ahsoka and all the whole Jedi Order, betraing a friend is one of most monstrous and cowardly act that a honorless person like the own Barriss can do, honestly, I’m a fierce and loyal Ahsoka fan and when I discovered in the last chapter of TCW that the true perpetrator of the Bombing in the Jedi Temple was Barriss I got angry with her and I GOT FURIOUS of her when Ahsoka decided to leave the Order by the own Barriss’s fault.

      It’s logic, Ahsoka felt “backstabbed”, she lost all the trust on everything, making her distrustful, dissapointed, sad because her best friend Barriss betrayed by blaming her of a crime that she do when her best friend, now dirty rat Barriss was the true criminal.

      Barriss Offee’s traicherous and cowardly act made Ahsoka distrustful with the Order, and that distrust managed to her by leaving the Order

      And I suppossed that the old fart of Palpatine seduced Barriss to the Dark Side and make her a Jedi hater and manage her to do that bombing, all that to separate Anakin from Ahsoka for start Anakin’s slow downfall to the Dark Side and became the cybernetic Sith Lord that every Star Wars fan know and love, Darth Vader.

      I know that you like Barriss a lot, I respect your opinion about her. But after the last episode of TCW, I hated Barriss and still I hate her for those acts and making a “dolchstoss” (backstab in German) to Ahsoka, Barriss hurt her sentiments, making her heart grow dark and truncating her dreams of became a full fledged Jedi Knight.

      Personally, I want Barriss Offee to be death sentenced and being executed by a firing squad of Clone Troopers, being gassed on a gas chamber, cliff hanged, injecting her a lethal injection or being choked on a garrote vil.

      But in the other side Barriss “saved unorthodoxly” Ahsoka from being gunned in Order 66 and the subsequent Jedi Purge.

      But personally and honestly, I repeat, I hate Barriss and she must be executed for betray the Jedi Order, the Republic and specially Ahsoka.

      Sorry for this, I had to release this furious speech declaring my personal hatred and disgust to Barriss “Douchebag Backstabber Traitor” Offee with my own words, I always was waiting for this moment but I repeat other words, I know that you are a Barriss fan and I respect your opinion about the own Barriss.

      LANG LEBEN AHSOKA TANO, KAPITAN REX UND THE CLONE WARS!

      (PD: I’m Spanish, but I speak some German, English and a little of Russian)

      1. Jon
        August 19, 2014 at 16:54 Reply

        Well, I can appreciate your position. All I can suggest is you read the Medstar novels, where Barriss Offee is a different character, and that’s the reason I liked her so much. That’s the reason I think Season 5 is just….out of place, to put it politely.

        The only reason Barriss was made a villain is because George Lucas wanted a traitor, and he chose her, and apparently nothing else mattered, not fans, not continuity, nothing. He got what he wanted.

        So, what’s done is done, and now I get to read responses like this when I tell people my favorite Jedi is Barriss Offee.

        You’re not alone in your anguish for Ahsoka. Here are some other quotes people have told me about Barriss Offee:

        “So Be It” ~IGN.com

        “Get Over It” ~Club Jade

        “I hope Ahsoka Kills that B****” ~Star Wars fan

        “Barriss is S***” ~Star Wars fan

        “We find it perfectly acceptable to have a hero fall” ~Fangirls

        So I guess everyone else is looking forward to having Barriss executed. Which, I’m sure, will happen.

        I used to write a lot of Barriss Offee fan fiction before TCW, and that helped me really enjoy a character that was hardly ever used. You would have liked reading the stories, which are over at Deviantart.com if you want to have a different Pre-TCW perspective of what Barriss Offee’s adventures might have been.

        Everyone says I can still enjoy my EU novels of Barriss Offee and all the fan fiction. I suppose it will be enough, because it’s all that remains of the Star Wars that made me happy.

        All I can do now is wait for Filoni to finish her off. I have no doubt Ahsoka fans will have their final triumph, and Barriss Offee fans will simply fade away.

        I do thank you for your thoughts, it will be interesting to see how this story is resolved.

        1. Jon
          August 19, 2014 at 16:57 Reply

          I don’t wish to sound depressing, but for some of us this is how it feels….

      2. Jon
        August 20, 2014 at 07:30 Reply

        I hope I didn’t sound too sad in my response. The season 5 finale has created so much emotion, especially for people like you and me, but I certainly understand and respect your feelings about it.

        Hopefully, we will find a new excitement with Rebels.

  3. Corey Heit- Solo
    August 11, 2014 at 14:57 Reply

    Looking forward to it.

  4. Aaron Harris
    August 11, 2014 at 23:25 Reply

    Craig! Awesome blog! I’m so excited for Rebels personally. I did have my reservations at first, but after getting to meet most of the cast at Star Wars Weekends this year and seeing the promos being released, I’m beside myself with anticipation. I’m expecting great things to come from this show as we begin the drive to Episode 7. Keep up the great work and can’t wait to hear your thoughts as the episodes begin to air!

  5. Melinda
    August 12, 2014 at 08:07 Reply

    Great musings, Craig! I look forward to your future blogs here at CWK. 🙂

    I, too, am pretty darn excited about “Rebels” debuting this fall, and seeing what Dave Filoni and team have in store for us. 🙂 It’s going to be one thrilling ride through the Star Wars Galaxy!

    I do have two questions for you — regarding your statement:

    “… the presence of another Sith–even one that could be disposed of before the Original Trilogy–creates an unnecessary distraction.”

    Would you please clarify “unnecessary distraction”? What point are you trying to make?

    I understand Palpatine’s explanation of the Rule of Two in the PT, but even with that, I’ve never been of the mind that there always has been only 2 Sith/2 Dark Side users. Just as there are not only 2 Jedi to represent the Light Side of the Force, it doesn’t hold to reason that there would be only 2 Sith at any given time. I could go into a lengthy explanation of why I think this, but I’ll save you from that … for now. 😉 (All this has nothing to do with the clarification for which I am asking. I’m just rambling about the Sith and the Rule of Two. I have a tendency to go off on tangents. lol)

    I hope you enjoy being part of the CWK Family! 😀

    1. Craig Dickinson
      August 15, 2014 at 11:02 Reply

      Please see my comment below. And I’d love have that “Rule of Two” discussion some time 🙂

      1. Melinda
        August 25, 2014 at 08:38 Reply

        Anytime, Craig. Anytime. 🙂

        I read your comment, and understand your stance. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Craig Dickinson
    August 15, 2014 at 11:00 Reply

    There are a few things I’d like to clarify. One, I don’t think that change for the sake of change is good—and I certainly don’t agree with all the changes that have occurred in the STAR WARS saga. For instance, I initially had a very hard time with the inclusion of Ahsoka into the established timeline (I’ve since come around), and inserting “Jedi Rocks” into RETURN OF THE JEDI was a horrible choice IMO. But there are many changes I’ve enjoyed. My point was simply that change has always been part of STAR WARS and I find it fascinating to track both the changes themselves and people’s reactions to them.

    Secondly, one of the things I love about STAR WARS is the fact that one can watch it purely for the entertainment value or choose to analyze it more deeply because there are so many levels. Someone once said (I think it might have been Bobby Roberts from FULL OF SITH) that STAR WARS is a buffet table that one can pick and choose from, be it which films, characters, or themes you enjoy. I think STAR WARS is big enough for each of us to pick out what we like and disregard what we don’t.

    And lastly, regarding the “Rule of Two” and the Inquisitor not being a Sith, I am a big proponent of viewing the Luke/Vader/Palpatine dynamic in ESB and ROTJ under the assumption that if Luke becomes a Sith, that will mean that either Vader or Palpatine must die in accordance with Sith tradition. Suffice to say, if the Inquisitor is a Sith along with Vader and Palpatine, then it stands to reason that there could be other Sith as well and this dilutes the tension I personally see in the OT films. In my view, the Inquisitor being a Sith either contradicts established canon regarding the “Rule of Two” from TPM (film and novelization) and TCW or the character is doomed to die before the Original Trilogy to keep the tension intact. To me, that would be a distraction much like Ahsoka’s impending doom was for many viewers of TCW. I know, I know. Only a Sith deals in absolutes, but that’s my personal opinion. If I’m wrong in my assumptions, then I’ll just have to adjust my views again—which I’ll do because I love STAR WARS. In any case, this is certainly a topic that deserves more time and analysis, and perhaps I’ll address it in a future post.

    1. Jon
      August 15, 2014 at 11:11 Reply

      Well said. I look forward to having fun with Rebels and fully enjoying the experience. All the sudden changes in the past year and a half have been a lot to take in. Some of adjust faster than others, and I while I have concerns, I didn’t want my post to be negative. I hope to find my footing again in October 🙂

  7. Jay Krebs
    August 15, 2014 at 20:39 Reply

    My thoughts are all over the place, as I have read both your blog entry and all of the responses!! So, I preface this by saying that I hope MY response is coherent enough, here!! 😉

    First – I am SO excited about Rebels. If you would have asked me if I were as excited six months ago, my answer would have been a resounding “no.”

    One reason for that is because *I* was (am) definitely one of those fans who mourned (yes, full-out wept) at the sudden “passing” of The Clone Wars. I LOVED that series. At first, I hated Ahsoka. Yes, hated her – I thought she was a disprespectful, self-entitled little thing. And what the heck is Anakin doing with a Padawan?!? But I grew to love her, and as I (and millions of other fans) followed her journey, I came to appreciate her character, as well as Anakin’s role as a mentor, on a much deeper level. I will always miss TCW. I’m glad for the Netflix addition, but I will always want more…

    I am also a very “disheveled” EU (Legends…whatever…) fan. I just have a lot of issues wrapping my head around the canonization of certain things and not others. I know there’s a rhyme and/or reason to everything, but I feel (as many other fans do) that I’ve invested SO much emotionally into these stories. How can they NOT be canon? Like you said, I have a very hard time having my perceptions changed. Which brings me to another point…

    DO NOT mess with The Rule of Two. Bane created it. It exists. PERIOD! It cannot become a “Legend”…I know there were some diversions from the Rule when Oppress was calling himself a Sith under Maul, and when Ventress was calling herself Sith under Dooku (as has been canonized since TCW), but I think they were really just “Sith Wannabes.”

    Also, there was a whole society of Sith that existed in both The Old Republic, as well as in the newer novers from which Vestara Khai’s lineage hails. However, these two examples, to me anyway, are not “pure Sith”, just as a labradoodle is neither a lab or a poodle. Does that make sense?!

    The whole Force Unleashed thing…I just always thought of it as a little “stand alone fantasy” that was fun to play out as a video game. I never took that one too seriously. Just as I never take it seriously when I see images of Snow White depicted holding a miniature Death Star in her hands (LOL!!)

    I would LOVE to see Ahsoka brought into the fold of Rebels. It would make me feel very warm and happy inside! 🙂

    I also think it would be cool to accept the idea of Dark Side Force Users that are not “Sith”. Much ado has existed about “Dark Jedi” already. Might as well expand on that idea!

    Bottom line is: I trust Dave Filoni and his creative crew. He’s the best person for this job. He is not only a great creative mind, but he LOVES Star Wars with every fiber of his being. Who better to be at the helm, IMO?!

    And, like you said, Star Wars can exist to just entertain, as well as to be dissected and discussed (as we’re doing, here)!

    I’m excited for everything in this new generation of Star Wars! Bring it on!!

    Great post! I look forward to your future offerings!! (…and I’m sorry to ramble on, so!!!)

  8. Rebels Reconnaissance: “Out of Darkness” Review | Coffee With Kenobi
    November 10, 2014 at 20:31 Reply

    […] **I alluded to Butch and Sundance dialogue in my first REBELS RECONNAISSANCE which you can read here: […]

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Rogue 3 at "Star Wars in the Classroom" and STAR WARS REBELS reviewer for Coffee With Kenobi.

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