Friday, September 26, 2014

Star Wars Rebels Preview

I've been feeling a disturbance in the Force. It's as if millions of voices are crying out, unable to hold in the anticipation of catching the new upcoming Star Wars Rebels series. Not long more do we have to wait as a one hour special will premiere on the Disney Channel on 4 Octorber 2014 at 11am and on Disney XD on 5 October 2014 at 8am. The Star Wars Rebels series will begin on the Disney Channel on 29 November 2014 at 12 noon and on 30 November 2014 at 8.30am on Disney XD.

A preview for Star Wars Rebels was held yesterday at The Sandcrawler in Singapore. I was lucky to be invited to it. (I know, I know... you're going to say there's no such thing as luck...)

It was my first visit to the Sandcrawler, and I imagine the same for a good number of the media in attendance. I was just as excited to step inside the building as much as to catch the preview. The elevators corridor was shaped like the detention center corridor in Episode IV. The floor tiles are black and the walls white. Stepping out of the elevator felt like stepping onto the Death Star! We were directed to a function room with a small theatre. I would have loved to explore the rest of the building.

The event was a fun affair with Star Wars Rebels characters on the scene. We got to see Ezra, Sabine (both of whom had awesome costumes!) and several of the Imperial forces. Ezra and Sabine remained in character throughout. Very cool!  

From left: Sabine, Ezra and Stormtroopers

You can view more pics here.

It's time I got to what you're really here to read about.

Spoilers ahead.

What we saw was the one-hour special, Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion. You guys are going to love it! It has fun, action and humour. The show has a very familiar feel. It's something I haven't felt since... since the Original Trilogy. It should as the art is based on the Ralph McQuarrie concept art. Some of the scenes and camera angles used are also very similar to Episode IV. There's the Tie Fighter pilot helmet shot, the turret view blasting Tie Fighters, a Star Destroyer slowly engulfing a smaller ship and so on just to name a few. There are some kiddish scenes but the show is good and entertaining overall. The characters are likeable enough and the story draws you in. The animation is very smooth and I like that it has brighter visuals than The Clone Wars. One thing I didn't like though was how the Wookies looked. Then there's the score. It reuses some of the movie scores. Scenes are that much more awesome with them and I got goosebumps watching it!

The show is set 5 years before Episode IV. The story begins on the remote planet of Lothal where the Empire has invaded. There we find Ezra, who is the main character in the series. Ezra's a thief who cares for nothing but himself. He notices Kanan's group in the market place and attempts to hijack their score. He had to join them in the end of that sequence as Imperial forces were closing in. Through his time and interactions with the crew of the Ghost (name of the ship our heroes use), he discovers that there's more to life. Unknowingly to himself, he's a user of the Force. He can jump very high and is able to unlock a Holocron Cube.       

Ezra with The Ghost in background

The crew of the Ghost include Kanan, a survivor of Order 66. He keeps his past and lightsaber hidden. Encountering Ezra has made him reflect on this. He brings out his lightsaber to the surprise of the Imperial forces in a battle. Epic scene! Hera's the pilot. She's calm under fire, casually discussing about Ezra with Kanan while manoeuvring away from Tie Fighters. She also cares greatly for her crew. Chopper is a disgruntled droid as compared to the usually obedient types. He doesn't like being given orders. Sabine is a demolitions expert. She uses coloured explosive paint to do graffiti on Imperial targets. She loves watching the explosions her work causes. She's also very pretty. Ezra was in awe when he first saw her unmasked. Zeb may not look it but he's a good guy at heart. He can be child-like. He's a skilled fighter who loves fighting. He's of the Lasat race. Now why would he be described as a rare "hairless Wookie"? (Nice nod to McQuarrie concept) Watch the Special to find out! 

From left: Sabine, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, Hera

Agent Kallus is a "kick-ass" Imperial officer. He charges into battle with the Stormtroopers. He's also very clever. He set a trap and was also able to intercept our heroes in the Special.

Agent Kallus

I haven't touched on one main character yet and that is the Inquisitor. There was only one scene with him and that was when Agent Kallus contacted him. He's voiced by Jason Issacs who fits the role perfectly. He sounded cold and merciless. I can't wait to see him in action! 

The Inquistor

I was not intending to type out the events of the Special...  but I did so anyway. 

More Spoilers Ahead! 

Highlight the text if you want to read on. The events described may not be accurate or in sequence but is basically what happened.

If you've seen the extended preview, that is the start of the special. 

I'll continue from where that left off. Ezra's speeder is destroyed by a Tie Fighter. The Ghost flies by and Kanan offers him a lift. More Tie Fighters in bound from a distance. Ezra accepts, jumping up a good distance with the stolen cargo. Kanan is a little surprised. The stolen cargo turns out to be blaster rifles which Ezra comments can fetch a good amount on the black market. Kanan leaves Zeb and Sabine to watch over Ezra while he joins Hera in the cockpit. They are being pursued by Tie Fighters. Hera is very calm as she discusses Ezra with Kanan while piloting the ship. From their conversation we can tell they've known each other for a long time. Back on Lothal Agent Kallus is updated of what happened in the market place. He fears that what happened may be more than just a simple theft and that this spark must be snuffed out before it catches fire.

Zeb locks Ezra in a storage unit after he implied that Zeb smelt bad when he fell on him. Ezra soon escapes by removing a panel from the back. He makes his way in a crawlspace and falls onto the seat of a turret. Sabine who was going to man the turret orders him to move aside. She removes her helmet and Ezra was stunned for a moment by her beauty. He introduces himself to Sabine. The Tie Fighters are despatched and they escape through hyperspace. Ezra is brought to the cockpit and asks to be brought back to Lothal. The crew of the Ghost agree as they were going back anyway to finish a deal.  

On Lothal, Ezra, Zeb and Sabine go to a refugee camp, an area where Ezra has not been before. We see the conditions of the refugees (who are mostly farmers) and learn that the Empire simply removed them by force. The refugees are grateful to the group for bringing them food. Ezra felt he didn't deserve any of their gratitude as he didn't do anything. Meanwhile Kanan and Hera deliver the stolen blasters to Vizago. We get a glimpse of the IG-88 type droids. Vizago withholds some of their payment and offers information regarding some captured Wookies instead.  

Back at the Ghost Ezra breaks into Kanan's quarters. Sitting on his bunk, he "senses" something in the compartment underneath and retrieve's Kanan's lightsaber and a Holocron cube. Kanan comes back and Ezra returns his lightsaber. The crew discuss about rescuing the Wookies. Ezra who was being watched by Chopper listens in by breaking back into the storage unit he was previously locked in. He is soon discovered. The window of opportunity to rescue the Wookies is short and they leave immediately. Sending Ezra home would have to wait.

They intercept the prisoner transport. Hera gained permission to dock by saying they were on a boutny had orders to transfer a Wookie prisoner and that the  Emperor would be very upset etc... They dock with the transport. Zeb is brought out handcuffed by Kanan and Sabine. Stormtroopers come to meet them. They exclaimed that that's not a Wookie. To which Kanan replied that Zeb was a rare hairless Wookie. Zeb tried to make a Wookie sound before taking out the Stormtroopers. The three, plus Chopper then boarded the transport. Things seemed too easy as there were hardly any guards. A Star Destroyer suddenly comes out of hyperspace and engulfs the two ships. It was a trap! Agent Kallus had planned this! Kallus boards the transport with Stormtroopers. Comms were being jammed so Hera asked Ezra to board the transport to warn the others. Ezra was reluctant at first but does so eventually. Kanan and Zeb were about to blow the prison door open. Unknown to them, waiting inside were Stormtroopers. Ezra reaches them and warns them. The Stormtroopers charge out. Ezra blows the charge on the door with his slingshot and the trio make a break for it. Sabine and Chopper are in another part of the transport ship disabling the gravity as planned. Kanan's group encounters Kallus's just as the gravity is turned off. Kallous's group was caught unaware. A short mid air blaster exchange and the trio "swim out", pushing against wall etc. Gravity is back on and they meet up with Sabine. They rush back to the Ghost with Kallous and team closing in. Zeb who was still annoyed with Ezra pulls him back. Ezra gets caught. Zeb ponders a moment before escaping with the rest. The Ghost takes off. Sabine had set explosives on the prisoner transport and activates them. The Ghost jumps into Hyperspace.   

Ezra is shown in a cell. Kallus pays him a visit. Kallous intends to use Ezra as bait to capture the rest. Ezra doesn't believe that the rest would come back for him. The Holocron Cube is still on his person and he tries to use his hands to open it. Frustrated, he throws it. He sits with eyes closed. The Cube begins to open. He watches the message from Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

The crew of the Ghost notice Ezra was missing. They chide Zeb for it. And made plans to go back. Ezra faked illness... Stormtroopers fell for it. They open the cell, rushing in and Ezra escapes, locking them in. Ezra easily finds the armoury. He recovers his pack and items and takes a trooper helmet which he puts on. He proceeds into the crawlspace. He's able to listen in on the Imperial comms. He finds out the real location of the captured Wookies. Kallous is in disbelief as he's notified of Ezra's escape. He suspects that the Rebels came back and have already boarded, which turns out to be true. Ezra tries to mislead him through the comms. Sabine paints a design on the hangar floor. Ezra appears from the ceiling at the hangar just as Kanan and co were setting off to find him. Enter Kallous and Stormtroopers. Blaster fire exchanged. The group make it back to the Ghost. Zeb lets Ezra run ahead first this time. The Ghost takes off. Kallous notices the graphitti, realising that's explosive and orders a retreat. It was a little too late. The blast made a hole and Stormtroopers and objects were sucked out into space. Kallous held on long enough till the shields were activated, sealing the hole. He was brought the loose helmet which Ezra was wearing. He deduces that Ezra was listening in and made plans to intercept. 

On the Ghost Ezra informs the crew of the intel he got. The captured Wookies were being taken to a spice mine, where with their fur meant a death sentence. The crew did not want to put Ezra in danger anymore but Ezra insisted they rescue the Wookies. 

The Wookies were being unloaded off a transport when the Ghost flies by, firing on Imperial forces and landing. All except Hera and Chopper run out, engaging the Stormtroopers. Ezra proceeds to undo the cuffs of the Wookies. Imperial fighters suddenly appear, blasting the Ghost. Hera has to take off. Chopper mans the rear turret. Kallous and more Stormtroopers appear. They engage the Rebels and the Wookies. The plan of escape was the Ghost would fly back and quickly pick up a container which the group had to get into. Kanan tries to buy time. Piecing together his lightsaber and activating it. Kallous and Stormtroopers were taken by surprised. They continued firing and Kanan deflected their shots. A young Wookie had been separated from the group. A stormtrooper is chasing after him and Ezra notices. He runs after them. Kallous notices him and pursues. The Rebel and Wookies board the container and Hera picks them up. Ezra chases down the Stormtrooper on a bridge, jumps over him and unloads mutiple slingshot shots into him, causing him to fall over. Kallous catches up and confront Ezra. The Ghost flys by with Kanan on top of the ship, lightsaber in hand. Kallous tries to blast him but Kanan deflects it back, causing Kallous to fall over. Kallous hangs on as the Ghosts flies away. The stormtrooper who Ezra shot at was also hanging on. He makes a comment about the Jedi and Kallous kicks him down.  

The Rebels get a ship for the Wookies. And they part ways. I think one of the Wookies is Chewbacca. The crew take Ezra back to Lothal. Goodbyes arent easy. Ezra returns the Holocron Cube, then nicks the lightsaber off Kanan. Back in Ezra's hideout, he's about to put the lightsaber on display along with the various helmets and items he stole when Kanan appears behind him. He explains about the Force and lightsaber. He offers to train Ezra in the ways of the Jedi if he went with him, or he could stay and keep the lightsaber as another trophy. Kanan leaves. Ezra goes back to the Ghost, making his decision. 

In a room, Kallous contacts the Inquisitor and informs him that he has encountered a rebel cell and the leader was a man with a lightsaber. The Inquisitor replies that Kallous did well to inform him.


Phew! Now remember to watch the Special on 4 October. It's way better than reading text!

A big thanks to Disney (S.E.A) for the invite. And also to the folks at

Thanks for viewing!

No comments: