‘Star Wars Rebels’ Reveals New Bad Guy And Episode VII News

MTV News hit up New York Comic Con to get answers on the animated TV show.

A packed-to-capacity crowd filled New York Comic Con’s 2000 seat Empire Stage on Saturday to witness their first glimpse at the mysterious new animated series “Star Wars Rebels.” Well, it’s no longer mysterious, as MTV News was there to witness all the Jedi-related shenanigans. Here’s a rundown of the most exciting bits we learned, direct from a galaxy far, far away:

A New Bad Guy
The biggest news out of the panel, which didn’t feature any actual footage, was a new Imperial bad guy: Darth Vader’s Inquisitor. He’s tasked with taking down Jedi on a remote, outer rim planet… An interesting prospect, because all the Jedi were supposedly killed in Episode III. “The Empire has reason to believe there’s a Jedi involved somewhere,” said Pablo Hidalgo, story editor for Lucasfilm. “There is a presence of Jedi in the show, but we do not want to diminish the importance of Luke Skywalker being the last Jedi.”

It’s Created By The Guy Who’s Working On Episode VII
Simon Kinberg, who wrote “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” and is rewriting the “Fantastic Four” reboot is executive producing the show, and wrote the first, movie-length episode. Bigger news? They confirmed that not only is Kinberg consulting on “Episode VII,” but he’s also writing a spin-off movie of his own.

The Designs Predate The First Star Wars
The look of the show is influenced not by the movies, but by what came before the movies… The late Ralph McQuarrie did concept art for nearly every Star Wars movie, so the designers of “Rebels” went back to his original art for the look of the show. Since “Rebels” is set fourteen years after “Revenge of the Sith,” and five years before “A New Hope,” McQuarrie’s slightly cruder take on Tie Fighters and Imperial ships fit nicely with the time period.

Also, Toys
The other big influence on the look of “Star Wars Rebels?” Toys. A Storm Trooper transport only previously made by Kenner back in the 1980s will appear on the show, and even the bad guys’ blasters will be based in part on the ones used by the original Kenner action figures. No word on whether a giant Darth Vader head filled with different Star Wars characters will show up.

How Do You Get Into A Tie Fighter?
One of the (self-admitted) nerdiest moments on the panel was when Hidalgo went off for about 10 minutes about how you get into an Imperial Tie Fighter. The animators went back to the footage from “A New Hope” and discovered that the sets for the inside of a Tie Fighter were actually bigger than the outside of a Tie Fighter… And that there was no easy way to get into the ship. Eventually, they decided you get in through the top: “These are the kinds of emails we send,” joked Hidalgo.

It’s Kind Of Like Firefly
How about the actual concept of the show? It takes place on the aforementioned outer rim planet, just as the Empire has started to grow and expand. At first, people welcome their presence after the chaos of the Clone Wars. But things get more oppressive and restrictive, until pockets of rebellion start to form. The planet itself is sort of a like a poor Western town, and our titular rebels aren’t always in agreement with the populace, who still mostly support the Empire… And even actively enlist in the storm trooper army. Sounds to us a little like Joss Whedon’s late, great “Firefly” — which isn’t a bad thing.

It’s Still A Year Away
There’s no animation to show off yet, though they have begun recording voices and building animatics… which is why we still don’t even know who the good guys on the show are. We should see a lot more as we get closer to the premiere on Disney Channel in fall of 2014.

“Star Wars Rebels” comes to Disney Channel in fall of 2014 with an hour-long special, and then moves over to Disney XD for the rest of its run.

Writer/Editor at MTV News. You can follow him on Twitter, but not in real life because that would be weird.
@azalben