'Star Wars Rebels' Takes Cues From Original Films, Ralph McQuarrie Art

Finally, some new Star Wars information! OK, it's actually about the upcoming Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels, not Episode VII, but it's still interesting.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Executive Producer Simon Kinberg said the creators wanted a different look from the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and so they returned to the original designs for the first film.

"The place we went back to as to a visual template was Ralph McQuarrie, who was one of the original concept artists for the original Star Wars films," he said. "His art is softer, a little more figurative, more of a feel of being drawn, less computer generated. The first few movies had a bit of a hand-made quality. We wanted the show to have that. There’s also in the archives where [creator George] Lucas keeps all the original art and props, there’s tons of art that’s McQuarrie’s musing on the Star Wars universe that was never used in the films. There’s places where we’ve quite literally taken world-creation or vehicles or creatures from his original art that was never used in the films and made that part of show."

Regarding tone, he said producers will delve into some darker corners because this is a galaxy run by the Empire. The creative team took cues from the original trilogy, which runs the gamut from hope to despair. Another difference between Rebels and Clone Wars is thematic, Kinberg said. "It’s less maybe political than the prequels and more personal."

All great stories need a villain, of course. One of the big bads for Rebels is a Sith Lord known as The Inquisitor who was revealed at New York Comic Con. "That was probably the most daunting part of this process," Kinberg said. "George [Lucas] obviously created the best villain of our time. So we spent a lot of time brainstorming and working with the artists to come up with the Inquisitor. You’ve seen that image of him. We wanted somebody terrifying, a nightmare character for a kid but not somebody too foreign, too creature-ly. We didn’t want him to have a helmet for obvious reasons — the comparison [to Darth Vader]. We talked about a character who was cold and calculating and could tap into people’s emotional weaknesses as much as their physical weaknesses, and had a specific relationship to Jedi and the ways of the force. He would be somebody that the remaining Jedi would be especially scared of."

Star Wars Rebels debuts this fall.

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