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First Official Trailers for Star Wars Rebels Plays It Safe, Evokes The Hunger Games

First Official Trailers for Star Wars Rebels Plays It Safe, Evokes The Hunger Games

By Ryan Britt

Nando Machado / Shutterstock.com

In 2012, the biggest Empire of all—Disney—acquired LucasFilm and immediately started killing off the Jedi. Sure, the good news of Star Wars being handled by Disney mostly outweighs the bad, but the first casualty of the that change was the cancelation of the cartoon The Clone Wars, which has arguably kept the Star Wars spirit alive for a lot of people for the past several years. Now, with new wave of Star Wars films coming in 2015, new Star Wars products are getting rolled out, the first of which is a new animated series called Star Wars Rebels.

Shall we take a look at the official video? Why don't we!

What do the new trailers reveal about this series? Two things. One: Disney is playing it safe with the imagery and subject matter of this series. Two: one of the trailers seems to be trying to posit this show as a Hunger Games “for boys.”

On the first point: almost nothing about either of these two trailers seems remotely “new.” The dog fighting sequences of TIE Fighter-zapping all look borrowed from a million video games which all recreated the famous Millennium Falcon dog fighting scene in the original film. If you’re an old school Star Wars fanboy, there’s nothing here to get upset about, really, because this all seems to represent “real Star Wars,” that is, a conflict which pits Rebels Vs. Empire, rather than Jedi Vs. Sith/Trade Federation/WhositWhatsit.

So, on the one (robot) hand Disney is winning by making this cartoon about the birth of the rebellion and the images of action in these trailers seem to fit the tone of what a Star Wars fan would think that all that should look like. On the other (human) hand, this seems like a sort of cynical plot to play it safe. They know the imagery will work on anyone who is unfamiliar with Star Wars (who are you by the way?) because it’s awesome, but also won’t offend the core fans. Overall, for all the talk of “rebellion,” these trailers actually seem to assert a far more conservative Star Wars than the mixed-morality of The Clone Wars.

But, the second feeling, which is most evident in the first trailer—titled “Spark”—is the sort of Katniss Everdeen vibe the whole thing evokes. Right now, when we think of fighting the man, our minds probably don’t go straight to Luke Skywalker or Guy Fawkes, but instead, to our girl on fire from The Hunger Games trilogy. Obviously there’s a weird chicken and the egg problem here, since the phoenix logo of the rebellion in Star Wars certainly predates Katniss’s Mockingjay in The Hunger Games. Still, with the “spark” being so close to “catching fire,” there does seem to be a little bit of overt market research here which is attempting to make some kind of association between Star Wars and The Hunger Games. The sad part about this is what looks like an absence of female lead characters in the new trailers.

Disney and the folks behind the new Star Wars Rebels cartoon must know that girls love Star Wars, too! And if they’re going to crib a little from Katniss and her pals anyway, why not make a Star Wars version of her?

Are you pumped for Star Wars Rebels?

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Tags: cartoons, tv, disney, star wars, george lucas, clone wars

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About the Author
Ryan Britt

Ryan Britt's writing has appeared with The New York Times, Omni Reboot, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Crossed Genres, Story Magazine, The MindHut and elsewhere. He's performed stories on stage with The Moth, The Liar Show, and is the curator of two reading series; Lust for Genre and The HiFi Reading Series. He teaches at The Gotham Writers' Workshop and lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @ryancbritt.

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