SDCC 2014: “The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels” Panel – Liveblog

The Rebellion begins! Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni, executive producer Simon Kinberg, and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray are all here for a special panel discussion on Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated animated series. Couldn’t make it to San Diego this year? Don’t worry — follow along with our liveblog starting at 6 p.m.!

6:00: And here we go! A new clip is showing: the Inquisitor versus Kanan!

6:02: Big reception for the clip! Host David Collins takes the stage. He’s brought out executive producer Dave Filoni, executive producer Simon Kinberg, and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray — the first time they’re together in a panel.

6:03: This is the first time many of the cast members have seen the clip. Asked about Inquisitor’s spinning lightsaber, Dave Filoni says he asked designer Amy Beth Christensen if she had any ideas. She used an older, unused hilt from The Force Unleashed.

6:04: Simon Kinberg says that they wanted to create a show that had the tone of the original movies. “The first decision we made was that it was going to be pre-New Hope.”

6:05: Freddie Prinze, Jr. says that he makes the Force push motion during VO sessions. The cast all name Vanessa Marshall, though, as the biggest Star Wars fan in the group.

6:06: Will there be a lot of lightsaber fights? Filoni says in this time period, the Jedi that are left are “completely hiding.” They can’t be out in the open. But there are people being born who can tap into the Force. It will be much like the original trilogy — the lightsaber duels will have a big impact.

6:08: Taylor Gray says Ezra is reluctant to join the Ghost crew at first, but comes around.

6:09: Steve Blum is now doing the Zeb voice. It’s awesome.

6:10: The lights go down — a new clip! Ezra is being chased by stormtroopers, and Zeb comes to the rescue — in a commandeered TIE fighter. Big applause.

6:11: Dave Collins talks about the comedy element of the clip. Kinberg: “Comedy was a huge part of the original films, and it came from character.” The same will follow with Rebels. He elaborates on the family dynamic of the cast, and the Ghost is like their home, and the character-based comedy will partially come from that.

6:13: Dave Filoni talks about the characters of the original trilogy, and how we as fans felt very close to them. The Clone Wars was different, as there were many more characters. Rebels will more closely match the original trilogy.

6:14: Asked about recording as an ensemble, Prinze says it’s a big bonus. He can see how other actors are reacting to him. Vanessa Marshall says it’s “so much more vivid when we can do it together.” Tiya Sircar says that they’ve each come to embody their characters. Hera is the mom, and Vanessa is very maternal, making sure everyone has snacks. And Taylor is like Ezra — they’re all always picking on him.

6:17: While there’s not much improvisation, Sircar says that Filoni does allow them to take chances. Marshall says that Blum also plays some stormtroopers. In video games, he’s been “stormtrooper A, stormtrooper D,” etc.

6:19: Filoni says he loves the prequel era, but when he finally got to draw stormtroopers and TIEs for Star Wars Rebels, it was special. “I hadn’t seen a TIE fighter in a new shot since the new Star Tours ride.” The visual guide was the work of Ralph McQuarrie, which will make it unique but also very Star Wars.

6:22: Kinberg says that when writing for Obi-Wan Kenobi, it made him feel like a kid again.

6:23: Kinberg: “When I was a kid, I could have never imagined that I would be involved in creating new Star Wars…There is a religion of Star Wars that’s different than any other title or universe…It is a dream. The fun of Rebels is being able to return to the original films.”

6:25: Sircar: “The fans have been so overwhelmingly wonderful on Twitter and in person…people who haven’t even seen the show yet have been so loving and wonderful.” She can’t wait for them to see Rebels.

6:26: Marshall and Sircar were inducted as honorary members into the Mandalorian Mercs fan group this weekend! Marshall says that if you read A New Dawn, you’ll understand why Hera assembled this crew. Filoni says that Star Wars has always had strong, unique female characters, “and we need to keep that alive.”

6:27: New clip! Hera and Sabine investigating a destroyed hangar. Screaming creatures surround them.

6:30: Collins asks about the suspenseful tone of the clip. Filoni says they want to reestablish the hierarchy of the villains, and notes that when Darth Vader used to show up, people ran away. It wasn’t a joke.

6:32: What is the state of the Rebel Alliance at this point? Kinberg: “This is the very beginning…It’s watching the first seeds.” He likens it to the small beginnings of the American Revolution. “It’s 4-5 people binding together against seemingly insurmountable odds.”

6:34: Marshall finds the story powerful. “It’s really inspiring.” Filoni says it’s not like once the Empire took over, a Rebellion immediately formed. The Jedi were portrayed as traitors. “I think people were tired of war and they just accepted it.” It took time for people to fight back. Prinze: “You get to see the reason why some of them would stand up and fight,” noting that the show will illustrate how the Empire is oppressing actual people throughout the galaxy.

6:37: Is Kanan intense? Prinze says he grew up watching samurai movies and has tried to bring that mentality to the role. He says that Kanan has a darker side — he was young when Order 66 happened. So his emotional and Jedi growth was cut short. He will grow through his relationship with Ezra. On playing the role: “There’s a fine line because you want to portray a Jedi perfectly…I take it very seriously.”

6:41: Taylor Gray says that Ezra has faith in Kanan, as shown in the first clip.

6:42: Audience questions! Will we see James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan in this series? Kinberg: “More than you see in this trailer.” Filoni laughs and says, “That’s interesting…”

6:43: What’s Chopper like? Filoni: “Chopper’s like a cat…the cat does things when it wants to. If you want something fixed, tell Chopper on a Monday, maybe he’ll fix it by Friday.” Prinze says that Chopper’s beeps are actually written in the script.

6:45: Can we expect any Clone Wars characters to make cameos? Filoni: “A lot of people ask me that. I super appreciate it…All I can say is that, let’s be honest, it would probably be insane for me to create that show and for absolutely nobody to show up. But at the same time I feel very strongly that these new characters need to stand on their own…”

6:47: Will Yoda be in the show? Kinberg: “See answer to last question.”

6:48: Is any of the Expanded Universe being drawn from? Kinberg: “We’re drawing from everything, I’d say.” But the show really comes from McQuarrie, the original trilogy, and something new. “We want everyone, especially the next generation of Star Wars fans, to fall in love with these characters the way we fell in love with Han, Luke, and Leia.”

6:50: How expansive is Rebels? Is it more contained than Clone Wars? Filoni: “Yeah, it’s more contained…On Clone Wars, every couple of weeks, we had to build entire new civilizations.” Rebels will have a more central location and this core cast.

6:51: Is there any chance of TX or scout troopers in the show? Filoni says that what he loved about the movies was that each brought something new. AT-ATs, new troopers (the snowtroopers are his favorite). He calls out the 501st Legion who build amazing real-life armor. Do you want new types of armor and troopers? “We’re gonna do our best to get you those.”

6:55: What’s it like working with Greg Weisman? Filoni: “We couldn’t have gotten this off the ground without Greg.” Kinberg says that his “voice is a huge part of the show.”

6:57: One more question! What was Dave’s favorite season of The Clone Wars? Filoni says it’s hard to pick, but he does go back to watch the two episodes of Ahsoka teaming up with Chewbacca, and the final arc with Ahsoka leaving the Order. And he thanks his crew.

6:59: And one more surprise…a new trailer cut by Lucasfilm’s Kevin Yost just for Comic-Con. And we have it here! Watch below!

That’s it! Thanks for reading!