Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, and therefore Star Wars, for a clean $4 billion, fans have been clamouring for more and more adventures from a galaxy far, far away. J.J. Abrams revitalised the franchise with the formulaic but incredibly fun Star Wars: The Force Awakens but fans have been calling for a television series. And yes whilst most of these calls have been for a live-action series, I have to implore those to think of Rebels, which features some of the best Star Wars storytelling to date.
First of all, I’m not even that big of a Star Wars fan. I was born long after the original trilogy was released and shattered the minds of audiences everywhere but I appreciated them in my youth. Whilst I don’t think the prequels are as good awfully horrible as everyone thinks, they are hollow visual effects exercises that lose focus of what made Star Wars great: family and fun. Star Wars doesn’t run through my blood does it like for others. My Star Wars is Harry Potter but that’s a different discussion entirely. The point is that even I, a small Star Wars fan, appreciate Star Wars: Rebels for what it is, great television.
Don’t be fooled by the notion that it airs on Disney X D so it must just be tailored for young brainless audiences. Au contraire, some of the ideas and messages sent by the show are incredibly adult and dark.
When an episode featuring a baddy and a goody surviving in a hostile environment together ends with one embracing his family and the other shunned by his mechanical superiors, Rebels ends with a heavy chest and makes you feel for an otherwise moustache twirling villain.
When your core team of characters and heroes are ultimately expendable and could bite the dust at any moment in time, Rebels holds a constant level of intensity throughout its story.
When the show, because of its very medium, is able to invite cult classic characters like Darth Maul, Darth Vader and even Grand Admiral Thrawn, Star Wars: Rebels features better villains than The Force Awakens itself.
When the show is capable of exploring the haunting transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader and the effect this has on Ahsoka leading to an emotional showdown, Rebels gives us conflict with weight.
And whilst some audiences were left underwhelmed with John Williams’ score for The Force Awakens, I being one of them, Rebels consistently churns out fascinating musical choices that really add to the story. This, for instance, is unlike anything I have ever heard in Star Wars but totally elevates the scene in which it appears.
Sure Rebels doesn’t feature Pixar level animation and sure sometimes the episodes can be throwaway fillers but when Rebels is at its best, it is some of the best Star Wars storytelling ever, full stop. It is beloved and watched by many for this very reason but still it does not get all the credit it deserves. So, if you want a Star Wars television series, lives action or not, feast your eyes on Star Wars: Rebels, it’s all just waiting for you.