The state of the Star Wars universe is currently in flux.
Whereas everyone assumed prior to the release of last month’s The Last Jedi that it would simply coast on nostalgia, leaving any true experimentation to the Anthology films, it turned out to be the reverse: Last Jedi has proven to be the most experimental — and controversial — film of the franchise since Empire Strikes Back, and the Anthology films announced so far have relied solidly on nostalgia. Rogue One, as good as it was, existed largely to correct a “minor flaw” that was prevalent in the original film, while Solo aims to give us an origin story for Han.
Of the Original Trilogy trio of Luke, Han and Leia, the scoundrel is the least interesting and most safe one to give a solo (no pun intended) film to, something many fans have noted since the film’s announcement. The Anthology films, as a whole, appear merely to function as character prequels rather than the interesting, experimental tales Star Wars fans hoped they would be.
Meanwhile, Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels has been serving as a miniseries of Anthology films in its own way. And yet, it’s also taken a more experimental approach, and as a result, is all the better for it.
Essentially a sequel series to Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars CG series, Rebels takes place in the five years before the original Star Wars film, A New Hope. In Rebels, the Rebellion is slowly but surely starting to form into the freedom force we know it will become, and Imperial forces are hunting down the very few Jedi left who managed to survive Order 66, along with anyone else who seems to be Force sensitive. One of those Force sensitive individuals happens to be street urchin Ezra Bridger, who soon winds up a member of the rising Rebellion’s Ghost crew, led in part by Order 66 survivor Kanan Jarrus.
With it being so close to the timeline of A New Hope, you’d think Rebels would be incredibly cameo heavy with Original Trilogy characters, and to be honest, that’s definitely the case in the first season and a half. Characters such as Darth Vader and C-3PO were locked in to be included, given their role in that era of the series, and it was be understandable to think the show was merely trying to cram as many beloved characters as possible to play things safe when Lando, Tarkin, and a teenage Leia show up.
Luckily, that has proven not to be the case.
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