After some Star Wars: Episode VII excitement earlier in the week, we have another bulletin from a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Rebels is the new animated series coming to the Disney XD channel later this year. The full trailer is now online – appropriately enough for May the fourth – and you can see it below.
The series is a gang on the run-style adventure, with a mismatched band of opponents to the Galactic Empire on the run from its forces. Set five years before Star Wars: A New Hope, this sees Ezra Bridger, a young thief and con-artist, team up with "cowboy Jedi" Kanan Jarrus, daredevil pilot Hera Syndulla , Mandalorian weapons expert and graffiti artist Sabine, alien Zeb Orrelios who's simply described as a "big guy with a heart" and grumpy astromech droid Chopper.
They're up against the entire Empire (no relation to us) and, in particular, the Imperial Inquisitor who's tasked with hunting down any surviving Jedi. Uh-oh.
We asked executive producer Dave Filoni if these films would have a connection to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
"I think it’s important that Rebels be its own thing," said Filoni. "We created a monster in Clone Wars and there is a generation of kids now that love those characters, so you can imagine that when we’re in the story room I am pitching connections here and there. And to be honest [fellow executive producers] Simon [Kinberg] and Greg [Weisman] have watched Clone Wars and they are excited by it. Star Wars is such a universal thing. I think people would be disappointed if there wasn’t some connection, but at the same time I want the Star Wars Rebels characters to shine in their own right, and I want them to capture a new generation of fans as each, you know, moment in Star Wars storytelling does. They need their own space as well."
But what about the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII? Is there a sort of Star Wars High Command to determine that the series and the movie (which are both canon) don't clash?
"The answer would be yes. I am aware of things that are going on all over the Star Wars galaxy. The same story team that is working on collaborating with the creatives on the feature collaborates with me, so I have a direct link to everything going on, which is incredibly exciting and incredibly stressful because of all the secrets that we now carry inside our astromech units. You know, I think it’s important. I love working with creative teams that appreciate that and take the time to make it all happen, because you can imagine that it’s a tremendous effort to have all these stories going on the whole time."
The full series will air this autumn and since, along with Clone Wars, this is official canon (unlike the entire Extended Universe) we're sure people will be watching closely to see if they can spot any cross-over with its big-screen brethren. For more on the show, read our extended interview with Dave Filoni to learn more about whether we can expect to see Darth Vader, the Emperor or Stormtroopers involved.