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NYCC 2015: Star Wars Rebels Panel

Joey Sack ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Official Description: With new episodes of the exciting second season of Star Wars Rebels debuting on Disney XD this fall, Fans will get an exclusive sneak peek of what’s to come in a Panel featuring Special Guests and a discussion of the new storylines and characters being introduced throughout the new season. Now considered a very real threat to the Empire, the crew of the Ghost has caught the attention of Darth Vader himself, who will stop at nothing to hunt them down. Undeterred, the rebels will seek out old friends and add powerful allies to their cause, forming the beginnings of a more formidable alliance against the Empire. Find out what’s coming in the highly-anticipated second season of Star Wars Rebels and be sure to return to the Empire Stage at 5:30 PM for a sneak preview of two new episodes from the series!

In preparation for its second season premiere on October 14th, members of the Star Wars Rebels cast and crew hosted a panel at New York Comic Con, treating fans to more information about the rag tag group of rebels aboard the Ghost, the allies they meet, and the enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy them and the rebellion against the Galactic Empire.

The panel, mediated by Star Wars Rebels producer Pablo Hidalgo, consisted of Executive Producer David Filoni, and voice actors Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Sarah Michelle Gellar (the Seventh Sister). Considerable applause came when Hidalgo mentioned Gellar’s role as Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and that applause was only surpassed by the applause after several clips from the new season of Rebels were shown. While the panelists themselves could not say much about the new season, some of the clips spoke volumes about the direction these characters are going in this 22-episode-long season.

In the first clip, featuring Ezra and the Seventh Sister, a new Inquisitor, fans saw glimpses of Gellar’s character, who is accompanied by spider-like drones, complementing the Seventh Sister’s spider-like flexibility. Gellar describes her as a “thinking man’s” bad guy, who relishes playing with her prey before killing them, and there is no shortage of that in this clip. The second clip shows Ezra escaping from stormtroopers after being captured, showing how far his fighting skills have come since the first season. The clip also threw in some appreciated humor that shall remain unspoiled here. The final clip shows Kanan, Ezra, and Zeb saving a small child from the Seventh Sister and another Inquisitor, with Ahsoka stepping in when things get out of hand. It gives people a brief glimpse of Ahsoka’s lightsabers before ending abruptly so as to not spoil the epic fight that follows.

Outside of the clips, Ashley Eckstein spoke to the way her character, Ahsoka Tano, has changed between her teenage years in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and her time forming this fledgling rebel force. Ahsoka’s role has evolved to be a mentor figure for Ezra and the others aboard the Ghost, almost akin to Obi-Wan or Yoda, while her personality in The Clone Wars was closer to what Ezra is now: a brash and snippy Jedi-in-training. She also touches on Ahsoka’s white-colored lightsabers: they are indicative of Ahsoka’s more neutral views of the galaxy. “She’s still good,” Filioni chimed in, “she’s just [not as sure of her connection to the Jedi].” They also described Ahsoka as a sort of buffer between the Ghost crew and Darth Vader, and saying that without Ahsoka there, there’s nothing stopping Vader from disposing of these rebels without mercy. That seems to point towards a final confrontation between Ahsoka and her former Jedi master, and given the events of A New Hope, there are only a few ways such a fight could turn out.

Taylor Gray, the voice actor behind Ezra Bridger, Star Wars Rebels protagonist, spoke a bit about his character’s development this season. “[Ezra’s] terrified … He’s still not sure what the Inquisitors are, and he’s trying to figure out what Darth Vader is.” At the same time, he noted how exciting it is “to learn as Ezra does,” and to be the Luke Skywalker of the show. Gray echoed the sentiment shared by Filoni and the other panelists that this show is a lot of kids’ first introduction into the Star Wars universe.

During the subsequent Q&A session, the panelists talked about the almost-inevitable showdown between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader (a.k.a. spoiler alert Anakin Skywalker) and a hypothetical scenario in which Rex, a clone trooper who served under Skywalker during the Clone Wars, discovers what his former general has become. Filoni said “it would be hard for both of them,” since Rex and Ahsoka fought alongside Anakin for years. Rex, being a soldier, has some form of loyalty, but he also “knows a bit of the truth” about what happened during Order 66. Basically, it’s “three friends in a terrible situation,” Filoni concluded. In addition, Filoni talked about potential spinoff series, either animated, graphic novels, or live action, and expressed interest in the idea, ending by saying that as long as people are “hungry” for Star Wars animation, they will deliver.

Finally, fans were shown a never-before-seen trailer for Star Wars Rebels season two, which showed the crew of the Ghost chasing, being chased, fighting, winning, and losing, all while running into old faces who will become new allies and  the larger rebellion draws more of the Empire’s attention. The Inquisitors, both the Seventh Sister and the unknown, more brutal Inquisitor, are searching for children who are like Ezra: strong in the Force. With 22 episodes in this season as opposed to the first season’s 13, the Ghost crew will likely take on many different missions in an ever-changing galaxy on the brink of a civil war.

The second season of Star Wars Rebels premieres on October 14th at 9:30 pm on Disney XD. Keep up to date with all Star Wars Rebels and New York Comic Con news right here on Emertainment Monthly.

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