Star Wars Rebels is the first Lucasfilm product released under the "Disney Era" and it has the daunting task of making Star Wars relevant again. The successor to the highly regarded [Star Wars: The Clone Wars](series:200641) TV series, Rebels needed to establish its relevancy in the Star Wars universe and I'm glad to report that the premiere, called Spark of Rebellion, delivered a very satisfying beginning for the new series.
Rebels starts right off the bat in an engaging way as we are rapidly introduced to our main character Ezra. He is a 14-year old thief who just wants to survive in the oppressive world of the Galactic Empire. He encounters a band of misfits and soon he is thrown in a battle against Imperial forces.
The main characters are really likable with Ezra being a charismatic lead. He is a mixture of Aladdin and Han Solo and he doesn't come off as annoying or bratty (something very common when depicting teens on TV). Kenan Jarrus is a convincing leader of the group and the rest of the crew is likable enough even if we do not fully get to know them.
Generally, pilots are crammed with as much information as possible and some times, this derives in poorly developed characters. Fortunately, Rebels gives its heroes ample time to become differentiable and to develop enough personality to make them appealing for audiences. There's also plenty of good chemistry and banter between them that makes the whole affair more amusing.
I never saw The Clone Wars so I can't really compare it with Rebels but I've heard that the former was a dark series and many people are criticizing Rebels because it's seen like a lighter series. I agree that Rebels is not a dark series but that doesn't mean is bad. I think Rebels is, tonally, much more in line with the original trilogy and I think the series creators have capture that tone very well. That does not mean they are not dark moments in the pilot but mostly the overall tone has the same vibe of the original Star Wars film.
Animation-wise, Rebels looks very good as the animators took Ralph McQuarrie's designs as inspiration and the results are good for the most part. I say for the most part because there's a sequence involving Wookies and they just look ugly. But, aside from that, the animation and character designs are very pleasant.
One of the best things about the pilot was that it gave little homages to the original trilogy that fans will relish. From musical beats taken from Williams' legendary score, to some unexpected cameos, the pilot does a nice job fitting the series in the Star Wars canon.
Spark of Rebellion is a very solid pilot that helps establish Rebels as a new, exciting series in the Star Wars universe. With an appealing group of core characters, nice animation, thrilling action sequences and nice homages to the original trilogy, Star Wars Rebels will satisfy our Star Wars cravings until Episode VII arrives next year. Highly Recommended!