Exclusive: Simon Kinberg Talks Star Wars Rebels

On the connections with Episode VII...

Although there are still 14 long months until Star Wars Episode VII reaches us, there is a new TV series to fill the darkness: Star Wars Rebels. In an exclusive interview, Empire sat down with its co-creator, writer and producer Simon Kinberg to find out what’s in store – especially in relation to the activities of one J. J. Abrams...

The show is set half a decade before A New Hope, meaning Kinberg "always felt it would lead into IV and potentially set up characters you might not meet until V, or VI, or even VII, but the notion was that this would stand alone from Episode VII. That doesn't mean that we can't introduce Easter eggs that will pay off in VII, VIII, IX."

Empire attempted its best Jedi mind trick to glean more details – particularly to learn whether main Rebels villain The Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs) will pop up in Episode VII... Alas, secrecy still reigns: "On Star Wars I get a Force Choke when I start saying things I shouldn’t say."

What we do know is that The Inquisitor is "less of a believer in the Empire and the cause of the Empire than perhaps Darth Vader, and more of a hunting dog." So not a Sith, per se? "I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about that, but no, per se."

Although the animated series is primarily targeted at a younger audience, Kinberg also insists it won't be all sweetness and sunshine: "We are not afraid to take those characters to some dark places. In the first season, there are some backstories that get revealed for main characters that are a lot darker and more dramatic than anything I've ever seen in animated TV, and which have the same depth and childhood trauma that the characters in the movies had."

For more, and for exclusive coverage of Interstellar, Nightcrawler, Mortdecai and an epic West Wing reunion, check out the new issue of Empire, out on Thursday September 25 - or you can subscribe here. Star Wars Rebels begins on Disney XD on October 3, while Star Wars Episode VII will be out on December 18, 2015.