Star Wars Celebration Anaheim: Star Wars Rebels Season Two Press Conference

The Star Wars Rebels press conference kicks off shortly after the panel and reveal of the explosive season two trailer on Saturday, April 18. The panel includes executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg, plus actors Freddie Prinze, Jr. (Kanan Jarrus), Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla), Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger), Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren), and Steve Blum (Zeb Orrelios).

Star-Wars-Rebels-Season-2-Poster-720x1062Darth Vader will be voiced by James Earl Jones. For Kinberg, hearing Jones say dialogue they wrote was “pretty insane.”

Darth Vader will be voiced by James Earl Jones. For Kinberg, hearing Jones say dialogue they wrote was “pretty insane.”

This season is more The Empire Strikes Back for the Rebels crew.

Kinberg’s kids grew up on TCW as much as they did on the films. With Rebels, they want to give kids the same experience that he had seeing the films, so they’re aiming for the tone, emotion, and themes of what George Lucas did from the beginning. This is the same approach that the new films and games are taking as well. There’s so much new content that they want everything to be of the same great quality and reflect each other’s great work. They’re collaborating to tell a huge story to which each person gets to contribute a chapter.

The comparison of Ezra to Aladdin is a flattering one, but it wasn’t their intent. Dave looked more at Ralph Macchio from Karate Kid. There aren’t any intentional Disney connections in the show.

Prinze jokes that Sarah Michelle Gellar played the Wookiees in season one. “She’s a powerful actress and she can grunt with the best of them,” Prinze says.

Dave gave everyone a history of their characters and what makes them tick to make their performances authentic. In season two, Kanan’s backstory will be revealed more through a very special character who helps motivate those traits to come out.

As far as bringing in Legends or past characters, people bring up characters they want to see. Porkins will not be joining the show.

“Star Wars shows you that the good guys don’t always win,” Prinze says. “It teaches more about real life than a lot of the stuff out there.” He says it’s more relatable than other properties. You can do the best you can still fail, and how does a Jedi act when they fail? Marshall loves that they can give a message of hope to the younger generation. Blum loves showing that people can always change no matter what they’ve done.

In the new trailer, there are some new characters. Are they new inquisitors? The fun part of a trailer is that things are designed to hit you immediately, but rewatching then brings out the layers and keeps you engaged. Filoni and Kinberg won’t reveal the answer.

Sircar didn’t mean to lead people on about Sabine’s family at the panel. She doesn’t know anything and only finds out when she gets the script.

Ezra’s parents will be addressed to some degree. Season two brings a wider look at all the characters and their backstories, even Chopper. “Do we have to?” asks Blum in voice as Zeb. There’s more time to explore in season two, as it’s a longer season than the first. Certain pairings that we haven’t yet see. will connect and go on adventures.

Prinze has more fun doing voiceover than any on-camera work he ever did. “It’s not a transition for me at all,” he said. “I wanted to be a father more than an actor.” This allows him to spend more time with his family. “This is what I did when I was eight years old, and it looks way cooler ’cause they animate it,” Prinze says.

Prinze’s kids have a lot of toys of Kanan and Zeb. Gray put together all the LEGO sets they sent him, and has Ezra’s lightsaber. They all got Stormtrooper helmets with Sabine’s graffiti on it. “I don’t have nearly enough toys yet,” says Blum. “I’m going shopping after this.” Marshall has all the toys.

All of the creatives on Star Wars are aware of what they’re doing, so if a standalone movie were to take place in the same time frame, Dave would be able to tell the actors what they need to know. Working with the story group keeps it straight. Dave has more of an arc in mind for Rebels than he did for TCW.

They discussed character names back and forth. It wasn’t conscious that all the characters’ names were biblical. “Is Chopper Old Testament or New Testament?” jokes Prinze. They were aware of biblical elements in the original films. EU names were often odd and contained X, Y, and Zs, but names in the films and Rebels have purposes and give you an understanding of what the characters are. Ezra was definitely a connection to the name Luke, and Filoni and Kinberg both know real kids named Ezra. There might have been a slight intention around “Bridger” since he bridges the prequel and original trilogies.

The challenge of season one was integrating a new member into a family. The second season is about how they continue to grow individually. Ezra will face darker issues and be forced to grow up through them.

“We’ll see what a beautiful dancer Zeb is. We’ll see his cooking skills and maybe his piloting skills…with rubble duckies in the bathtub. No spoilers,” says Blum.

“I’ve been very excited about season two since I’ve been dying to know what happens in these characters’ past,” says Tircar.

Ezra has the new scar from the inquisitor.

Hera managed to bring a cell together. “She can let them do their thing now,” says Marshall. “She’ll oversee that and plot that along the way.”

Prinze compares Kanan and Ezra to a father and son. Rex will come in, and “That’s going to be a tricky situation based on how he lost his master,” says Prinze.

“Each of the characters is going to have to struggle with who they were and where they came from,” says Filoni.

The panel touched on Lucasfilm Story Group collaboration across media. “The comic was easy, ’cause Greg wrote it,” says Filoni about Greg Weisman’s Kanan: The Last Padawan. “There’s not the same kind of integration” in other franchises, says Kinberg about the Lucasfilm Story Group. “It does almost have this university campus vibe to it.”

The cast had never seen the trailer, so their reaction was the same as the fans’. The reaction to the returning characters was striking to Filoni. “We had to plant them and grow them over the years,” he says. “The biggest thing I learned from George was ‘create new characters, create new ground.'”

Seeing his characters in cosplay “never, ever, ever gets old,” says Filoni. “I super appreciate it.” Kinberg mentions a cosplay of Dave Filoni from a previous convention. Kinberg says the easiest thing to do would to have made a show about the legacy characters. To see the affection for the new characters and see them as cosplay is “surreal and very gratifying.”

Filoni spent a lot of time in editorial with Lucas, and never believed that Lucas would retire. “We all realize no one is ever going to replace George. It’s not going to happen,” says Filoni. The new creatives all love different aspects of Star Wars, and maybe they can combine and “come close to equaling the genius of George.” Filoni’s workflow is similar to before, but now he talks to more people.

“It was really important for us to share the show with George,” says Kinberg. They screened Rebels for him and he loved it. “It’s like the bible and you’re sitting next to God.” They’re trying to speak in his voice as they work in anything Star Wars-related. Filoni equates the screening to taking a final exam after studying at Star Wars University.

Kinberg met with Lucas after he hired Kathlen Kennedy, but before he sold it to Disney. Kinberg’s had to fly to meet with him, and his fear of flying led him to take anti-anxiety medication, which made him a little loopy. He says the anti-anxiety medication probably prevented him from having a heart attack while meeting Lucas.

You can’t undermine Vader’s power, Filoni says. Animation allows Vader to be unencumbered, but Keith Kellogg kept him as he appears in the film. The group process is important to keeping the integrity.

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