Wow! I think I'm actually more excited about the upcoming episodes of Star Wars Rebels than I was for The Force Awakens. Lucasfilm (Disney) just released the trailer for the second half of season two and it looks amazing! I wasn't the biggest Clone Wars fan but seeing how the best parts of the old animated series has rolled into Rebels is very encouraging.
I don't know if comparing an entire series with a two hour movie is fair these days but I just think Rebels offers a more original adventure while capturing the spirit of the original Star Wars films. Not only that, but the series is not afraid to use elements from both the original and prequel trilogies. The Force Awakens, despite being a really fun J.J. Abrams popcorn flick, offers up very little in terms of an original story. I realize that J.J. Abrams was brought in to breath new life into the movie franchise (and that he has done) but the work of adding depth and an identity to this new trilogy now falls to the film makers of Episode 8 and 9. The Force Awakens really was an homage to the original trilogy and a shallow reboot.
Rebels on the other hand actually provides back stories that shape its characters and there is a lot of emotional depth for an animated series. The rebels exist because the Empire has given them just cause to resist, to fight. Despite their losses they remain a hopeful family of outcasts, whose little game of Robin Hood against the Empire, has evolved into a small but major threat, and attracted the attention of both the light side and the dark side of the force as well as the growing rebellion and the highest levels of the Empire. Yep those pesky rebels have even narrowly escaped the clutches of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones.)
So as a Star Wars fan do you wait for Episode 8...well yes. The movies will always be the centerpiece of the franchise but in the meantime Rebels will give you a lot to keep you busy until that next chapter. Rebels is that good!