My daughters and I are watching Star Wars: Rebels and are really enjoying it. We just finished episode 7 and I am really enjoying it. Not only do I get a chance to enjoy something with my daughters, but Rebels, more so that the Clone Wars – which they never got into – hearkens back to the very first Star Wars. There are many callbacks to the original trilogy (they had a scene in a cantina this last episode), but this is still a very different take.
I would say that Rebels is Star Wars meets Firefly, and what in that is not awesome? Further, it indicates that Obi-Wan was not the only Jedi who survived the Clone Wars, and since this is canon (I believe) this might be something the influences the stories in the new movies.
Basically, the story is about the crew of a Millenium Falcon-like light freighter called the Ghost, and while they are working the wrong side of the law – like their Firefly brethren – they are also fighting the Empire. There are linkages so far in the series between this one independent crew and the coalescing Rebellion.
In the end, this is a pretty light, fun series, but it does touch on some of the darkness that we encountered both in the original trilogy and in the prequels. In my opinion, none of the movies were as dark as Revenge of the Sith, and this follows on from that, so it has to address things like the murdered Jedi and the Empire’s solidifying control over the populace.
This is a children’s show, but Avatar: the Last Airbender showed that you could have a children’s show with a deep and meaningful storyline as well as hints of serious issues without drawing the series into darkness. I don’t think the writing in Rebels matches Avatar, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, just that it has flaws. Sometimes its a bit to light, and I think there are times when the production is pulled back when it could have faced issues head-on.
I give Star Wars: Rebels 4.75 rebellious young Jedi apprentices out of 5. This offers great new stories set in the Star Wars universe but with a slightly different focus, and maintains the optimism and excitement of the original trilogy while still dealing with the aftermath of the prequels.