Well, it’s finally happening again. Star Wars is getting another cartoon series, premiering in 2014. Unfortunately, this time it’s going to be brought to us by Disney, a company that I both like and loathe simultaneously. There’s not much to be done about that, though, since Disney now owns Lucasfilms.
At this point in time, no one seems to know what Star Wars Rebels is about, other than that it takes place between Episodes III and VI. Personally, I’m hoping that Ahsoka and Ventress will both be featured (and that they’ll team up), but there are a lot characters in the Star Wars universe, so I’m not holding my breath on that.
I’m also a little apprehensive about this show, because I don’t really trust Disney. I can’t say that I trusted Lucasfilm all that much either, especially not to make a decent story. I wasn’t a big fan of the Clone Wars for the first couple seasons. I thought it was really mediocre. It wasn’t until near the end of the third season that I truly fell in love and regretted some of the many harsh things I said about it, and I fear that something similar will happen here as well.
Despite the fact that, at the time, Clone Wars was one of the most successful—though expensive—animations on the air, Disney decided to cancel it. And we fans are still waiting to know for certain if we’ll ever get a chance to see season six. We already saw a few promos for it, and there were still some major plot holes—like why the clones would so easily turn on their Jedi friends—that the show was going to answer. But it still took a while for Clone Wars to become as good as it got, and I felt that there was some real love between that story and the writers. I don’t feel that same way about Disney and Star Wars, and that’s where my apprehension comes in.
Right now, Disney is going a little crazy with the franchise. It’s planning on releasing Episode VII in 2015, and following that movie with another Star Wars movie every year after until I assume they run out of ideas. Not all the movies are going to be sequels. Some of them will be spin-offs focusing on other characters, like Han Solo’s or Yoda’s past. Essentially, Disney’s planning on doing the same thing with Star Wars as it is with the Marvel Universe. That’s a lot of work, and unfortunately movies are not easily written one year after the other. Additionally, the Marvel Universe is based on preexisting material, whereas Disney doesn’t plan on using preexisting novels and comics for the new Star Wars movies. Then, Disney went and announced Star Wars Rebels.
As much as I want to see more Star Wars, it feels as if Disney is just trying to cash in on the franchise’s success. This does make sense to me, since Disney is a business that needs profit, and buying Lucasfilm couldn’t have been that cheap—though I hear it was only four billion dollars. I just worry that this will come at the expense of decent plots and characters. At the very least, however, I can take comfort knowing that both Grievious and Padmé, two of some of my least favorite characters, won’t be in it. Then again, Jar Jar Binks is still alive, and that’s a tragedy in its own right.
But there may be some good things coming out of this, though. The prequels were pretty bad, but they gave us characters like Ahsoka and Ventress, who I thought were very well written, Ahsoka especially. I’ve complained before how Star Wars suffers from sexism, but despite that, Ahsoka was still the cartoon’s best character. Even if it took me a while to like her. Whether or not she’s going to appear in this new series, I can’t say, but by looking at Marvel, Disney doesn’t have the best track record with female characters. I have always liked their female heroes better in their animated features than their live actions ones, but I have to say that I’m a little concerned. Despite having a lot of sexism issues, Clone Wars had a variety of distinct, unique female characters who were written better and better as the series progressed. I worry that Disney won’t be able to keep it up. They’ve done a lot of good female characters before, however, like Merida, so perhaps my worry is also unfounded.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see at this point. And hey, I’ve liked all the Marvel movies and animated features thus far. So maybe all is not lost.