Star Wars Celebration 2016: Rebels Season Three

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So for our second piece about the amazing things we were witness to at Star Wars Celebration 2016, we’re talking about the awesome Star Wars Rebels Season Three panel, where we were shown exclusive images, clips, trailers and also treated to the first two episodes of the season. So come along with us on a ramble about what we saw…

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Lewis:
Ok, so, in what I think you’ll agree was the best panel we saw, Warwick Davis hosted Dave Filoni, Sam Witwer, and Tiyer Sircar for a talk about what’s to come in Star Wars Rebels.

Ben: Oh for sure, I am going to admit now I had never watched rebels (excluding a few episodes here and there) until this panel and since then I have binged my way through season 1 and part of season 2, and the brilliant panel was a big part in my decision to give it a go. This panel was kick ass. I think Dave Filoni might be my favourite person in the entire world.

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The entire panel was well balanced everyone got their chance to speak and they were all funny and insightful about the process behind making the series and what is going to come in season 3.

Lewis: Exactly, they were all just really nice, really funny people who knew exactly what the fans wanted from them. I’ve personally followed Rebels since half-way through season one and while season two wasn’t quite as good (apart from the beginning and ending episodes), the looks we got of season three were awesome. I can’t disagree with you about Dave Filoni, he’s a real genuine guy.

Ben: They all got why the fans were there, and because of that we got a genuinely funny hour with them.

Lewis: Definitely the funniest, most relatable panel we saw… so what shall we start off talking about?

Ben: A couple of characters got new looks, which is probably bad news for the wallets of cosplayers.

Lewis: Well luckily they’re only minor changes, so they should be able to adapt their costumes without bankrupting themselves. Kanan has a sweet new mask to hide his scars, Sabine has a new hairdo, Hera looks more like a military officer, Zeb lost some of his armour, and Ezra got a weird new haircut that I’m not too keen on.

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Ben: The eye markings on Kanan’s mask are similar to the markings on Rex’s helmet too, which, according to Dave Filoni, is intended to emphasise how they’ve bonded. To be fair, they are only minor changes and in all honesty I am not too fussed on the hair- not exactly a big issue for me. Sabine also gets some new gadgets in this season.

Lewis: Tiya was pretty excited about her new jetpack as well as the Darksaber, which we haven’t seen since the Mandolorian episodes in the Clone Wars… I’m pretty excited to see how she gets hold of that particular weapon.

Ben: I hope it isn’t just dropped in, because as if Maul would forget about it.

Lewis: Oh I’m sure he’ll be interested in getting it back, so we can look forward to that episode. Speaking of new weapons, Ezra has a sick new green lightsaber.

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Ben: Yes, I was going to ask about that. I wondered where that appeared from, because I am still watching him with the blue blaster hybrid so thought something may have happened right at the end of season 2?

Lewis: Weeeellllll I don’t want to spoil too much, but his blue-blaster hybrid was destroyed in the last episode of season 2. I was hoping they’d have an episode of them trying to find a new crystal, but oh well.

Ben: Maybe they will come back to it?

Lewis: Maybe, but I feel like they’re happy to just move on. Although Maul might comment on it when they see him again. So that’s the new tech that they showed off, shall we talk about the new characters?

Ben: I suppose that’s true, and the nature of the show is fairly fast paced, if the new lightsaber was important it would have been covered.
I suppose we should move onto the characters, there is probably more to talk about with Thrawn so I think we should cover the other name drop first. A man by the name of Wedge is defecting from the Empire.

Lewis: I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed about the fact that Ezra didn’t make a crossguard-saber yet, and yes, let’s talk about everybody’s favourite Rebel ace. I’m a little conflicted about the change to his backstory, since he originally had the occupation of smuggler in the EU after his parents were killed by the actions of the Empire. However, it looks as though they’re combining his story with Tycho Celchu’s, so I’m ok with it… and I won’t complain about any kind of exposure for Wedge.

Ben: Knowing very little about the EU or Legends as they are now known, I was more excited by the prospect of some more Wedge time than the revival of Thrawn. I really hope he becomes a recurring character if only because if he was in every episode he would distract me from the main characters, bloody love Wedge…

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Lewis: I think he’ll either be a one-off Easter egg character or a recurring character like Lando; I hope he’s not just in one episode though. As for Thrawn, I’ve read the first book in the Heir to the Empire series, and he’s one of those characters that most people are at least aware of. He’s a very imposing villain, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he gets up to.

Ben: I really hope he recurs.
I had heard of him but having not read the books I really wasn’t sure what he was all about. He definitely seemed imposing. Although like we talked about at the panel, I would prefer to see him rise through the ranks perhaps starting as a commander rather than just straight out introducing him as a Grand-Admiral.

Lewis: Well, and this is kinda a spoiler I guess, they introduce him as Grand-Admiral Thrawn in the second episode, so unfortunately we won’t be seeing that which is a shame because I like that idea. I also felt like they actually did a better job of setting his character up in the trailer than they did in the episodes we saw.

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Ben: I think it was just the wording; when you rewatch the trailer after watching the episode (because we got to see the first two episodes if you were wondering) the cut is pretty obvious. It shouldn’t take away from the character, in fact with his back story he should only get better.

Lewis: Oh I hope so, and if he is going to be the villain that actually manages to thwart the Rebels group I’d be content, because if he turns out to be just as incompetent as everyone I think there’ll be a lot of disgruntlement amongst the fanbase.

Ben: I am not sure how they are going to play it. You’re right though, Thrawn can’t be a push over but at the same time he can’t really destroy every Rebel in sight, can he?

Lewis: Well no, but I think it’d be realistic for him to lose but still do a lot of damage, even if it was to only the Ghost crew, not the rebellion as a whole. I just really don’t want them to waste such a good character. Anyway, is there anything else from the actual panel section that we’ve missed? Did you want to talk about some of the interactions they had on stage?

Ben: I suppose that is true, but we shall have to wait and see; in Filoni we trust and all that. The stand out bit for me was probably casting Warwick for Sam Witwer’s role as Maul and Sam for Wicket; that was pretty funny.

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Lewis: Ah yeah, they had some pretty good chemistry going on up there. Sam Witwer’s little tantrum was pretty convincing, and of course Dave Filoni is always a crowd pleaser.

Ben: It was a funny panel, anytime else that you can think of?

Lewis: Well just to cover them, I think the two most important questions that people asked were; a) will we see Mara Jade in Rebels? (this is important because of the rumours about Rey’s origin) and b) will Ashoka return? The answers to which were a categorical no for Mara Jade and a maybe for Ashoka which was something like “She may return in one form or another at some point but I can’t really say.”
So apart from those questions I think that’s it for the panel. Shall we talk about the episodes they showed us?

Ben: The answer Dave Filoni gave did hint at a return, and not in an easy-get-out-way through a flash back. I think that is the next thing on the list, considering they were my first two episodes I thought it was pretty solid.

Lewis: Yeah I really enjoyed them, and watching them with a crowd was both a good and bad experience as it always is for me. They were a pretty good introduction to what’s going to be coming up in the next series though.

Ben: I can’t fault the episodes really, I enjoyed watching them, but I always find watching a film with a crowd of fans to be a positive thing. Do you want to re-cap the episode? Are we even allowed to do it yet?

Lewis: It does get frustrating when they cheer or clap over some dialogue though… but I suppose I can always rewatch them when they show on tv (which I believe is going to be in autumn this year).
And you know that’s a very good question that I don’t have an answer to…

Ben: But all those people clapping and cheering love the show which makes it all the better. Well we could just leave it there and say it was a solid introduction with a guest appearance from a Doctor of sorts.

Lewis: We’ll do a proper review of them as soon as they air in the UK, and yeah, the one and only Tom Baker played a very interesting character that definitely brings in an area of the force that hasn’t yet been discussed canon-wise.

Ben: I think if Tom Baker could be immortalised in the Star Wars universe this is the best role for him. His voice adds real weight to the character of the “Bendu”. I really like the idea, and shows the force as a spectrum not just as two groups of people.

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Lewis: Exactly, it complicates the good vs evil theme of Star Wars, and as for Tom Baker, you can’t really compete with his level of gravitas (for Dr Who fans anyway). So aside from the updates to characters, reveals in the trailers, and a brief talk about the merits of Tom Baker, is there anything else?

Ben: The return of Maul (no longer Darth) also complicates the spectrum as he is now neither Sith nor Jedi. And no I don’t think so; pretty sure we have covered everything important.

Lewis: Oh yeah, he’s back (which is why Sam Witwer was on the panel).
Alright-y then, I guess we’ll conclude here and be back with another piece on Star Wars Celebration 2016 in a day or two.

Star Wars Celebration 2016: Rogue One

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So after spending an awesome three days at Star Wars Celebration 2016, Ben and I are going to write a few collab’ pieces on the sights we saw, sounds we heard and secrets we… secreted? Ugh no.

Just to warn you, there was quite a big spoiler accidentally revealed that we’ve included in this review, but I’ve marked where we talk about it and where we stop, so just skip the area between the two warnings if you don’t want to know. Anyway, here’s a piece on the very exciting and very spoilerific Rogue One panel we had the pleasure of watching.
Lewis: So what did you think of the panel overall? Was it enjoyable?

Ben: It was pretty good, the only issue was Gwendoline Christie who kept shrieking everytime anyone cheered… but on the whole it was a pretty cool panel with some nice footage to go with it. The first people out on stage were Gareth Edwards, Kathy Kennedy, John Knoll and Kiri Hart (Both from Lucasfilm, Knoll having created the concept of the film), then the cast came out to more shrieks from Christie, and finally we were shown a behind-the-scenes reel and then a new teaser.

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Lewis: Ah yes, the shrieks were a little over the top… but at least she was enthusiastic about it all

Ben: I suppose, but she was a major irritant for me.

Lewis: Gareth Edwards came over incredibly well in that panel, he really seems to have a great idea of what the universe is like and what kind of story he wants to tell, it also helps that he’s a massive fan of the franchise.

Ben: He did come across really well; just like JJ he’s a big Star Wars fan, he seemed to get what we all wanted to see from it.

Lewis: Indeed. I was pretty happy when John Knoll, who came up with the concept for the film, mentioned that it’ll be like the Guns of Navarone in its style (considering that’s what I was hoping for) – I love those films. Before we get into the footage they showed us, shall we talk about the cast a bit?

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Ben: It was interesting to see the development of his idea from a Mission Impossible-style TV show that could have taken the spot of Clone Wars to, as you say, a Guns of Navarone style feature that stems from just one line in A New Hope’s opening crawl. Yes, who would you like to start with, Felicity Jones?

Lewis: Go on then, let’s have a quick (ha!) run-through. So basically they asked each cast member to explain a bit about their character and what defines them. Felicity Jones just confirmed what we already knew as far as I remember?

Ben: She confirmed that she was in fact a hero, but unlike Luke and Rey she is finding out what her purpose within the Rebellion is, rather than finding herself. Which is expected because unlike Luke and Rey, she only has 1 film to flesh out her character.

Lewis: Yeah, there was a big emphasis on the fact that she already knows who she is, but hasn’t figured out her purpose yet. Like you said, it’s a good idea considering this will be her only outing Which I suppose will be refreshing compared to the larger arcs of self-discovery we’ve had previously… How about Diego Luna, huh?

Ben: He seemed like a pretty cool guy, playing Captain Cassian Andor, of the Rebel Alliance Intelligence branch; Andor was able to reprogram K2SO and I can’t remember much else of what he said… care to jump in and save the day?

Lewis: I’m a big fan of his character so far, and he seems like a very chilled, funny guy. I think that was about it to be honest, but he did mention that, because everyone else in the team is very much an independent person, he’s the one who has to glue them altogether into a unit that can work together.

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Ben: That’s right, despite Jones’ Jyn being the main character, Luna’s Andor is the real Alliance figure head. He also said that to begin with it is just him and Jyn before the other members of the team are recruited. Seeing as I have already mentioned him do you want to talk about Alan Tudyk as K-2SO?

Lewis: It seems like he has to keep her in check as well as leading the team… I’m excited to see his performance. And sure, why not?

Ben: We learnt quite a bit about Alan and K-2SO. The, formerly, Imperial droid was reprogrammed by Andor, but as a result of this isn’t right in the circuits, so speaks and says what he wants. He, like many of the droids in Stars Wars, appears to be a comic relief character.

Lewis: He’s definitely the most comical of the squad from what we’ve seen so far. I really liked that short clip they played with him, Andor and Erso interacting; I think Alan Tudyk and Diego Luna will make for a very good duo in the movie.

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Ben: I like the idea of the character for sure, we shall have to wait and see if it works well or not.

Lewis: Indeed. So how about the other characters we were introduced to? Forest Whitaker seems pretty excited about the whole affair, and it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches his character, Saw, considering he’s been previously established in the Clone Wars show.

Ben: I do appreciate how the TV series has been incorporated into the film,; if only other well-known franchises would do the same thing… Saw Gerrera is a leader of a more extreme band of rebel isn’t he? It should be a strong performance.

Lewis: Do I sense some bitterness directed towards DC? Yeah, I have high hopes for his portrayal, it’ll be good to see a different side of the Rebellion. And then we have the pilot whose name escapes me…

Ben: It might be… bloody DC.
Yeah we get to see the broad spectrum of the factions fighting against the Empire. The pilot’s name is Bhodi Rook, who has flown for the Empire but “only to pay the bills”, as Riz Ahmed said (paraphrased), “loads of people work for big organisation but don’t agree with everything they do.” I like Riz Ahmed, he was really good in Nightcrawler.

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Lewis: I haven’t seen any of his work before but he came across really well on stage, seems like a funny guy.

Ben: You should definitely check out Nightcrawler.

Lewis: Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. So how about Chirrut and Baze, Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang respectively?

Ben: Er to be honest I can’t remember much about either of them. Only that Chirrut is blind and may, or may not, be force sensitive and Baze, well, Baze has a big gun.

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Lewis: Baze has a big gun and a pocket full of spoilers… Well they’re a duo who (presumably) have worked together for a very long time against the Empire, and they have very different views on life and the force. Chirrut apparently sees with his heart rather than his eyes, which heavily implies that he is force sensitive but not a trained Jedi, and Baze doesn’t believe in all that mumbo-jumbo but fights beside his friend anyway. Basically though, Wen Jiang unintentionally revealed quite a big spoiler due to his limited English, and everyone felt really bad for him… Jump ahead to the next big SPOILER text to skip this section-

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but he essentially told the audience that Yen’s character dies at some point and his death inspires Baze to “do something better”

 

 

 

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Ben: Well covered, shall we move swiftly on? Mads next?

Lewis: Yeah let’s move onto Mads, although there isn’t exactly much we can say about him…

Ben: Well it was confirmed he is Jyn’s father and that he made something beautiful, but you’re right, after the Wen-spoiler things were kept pretty brief.

Lewis: Indeed, and the comment he made about making something beautiful says to me that he created a piece of technology that was designed to be used for a peaceful purpose, maybe an energy source or perhaps even the Kaiber crystal that is supposed to power the laser, but the Empire either tricked him into making it or stole it from him. The image they showed of his character certainly makes it look like he was on the run or something.

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Ben: He did look a bit rough, didn’t he? Yeah, the “beautiful” thing he designed definitely has a part to play in the functionality of the Death Star; might be going out on a limb here but I have a feeling he might die. From what we have seen he isn’t particularly important to the plot which is what makes me think that he won’t survive.

Lewis: I could get behind that, and it would certainly more than motivate Jyn. Then I suppose the final characters we need to talk about are the two villains of the film?

Ben: We’ll see in December if I am right. Bendelson made a brief appearance in his Krenic get up before returning to the stage in a fancy suit while keeping pretty quiet about his character. The only thing he said was that he wasn’t like other Imperial Officers.

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Lewis: I think that implied quite a lot though. I mean, apart from Tarkin and Piet, the majority of Imperial officers are completely incompetent and so far all of them have been incredibly stuck up their own arses. I reckon he’s going to be very clever, ruthless, but also more grounded than the others.

He looks very cool in his costume too.

Ben: Even Piet, to a certain degree, was awful at his job, he just managed to pass the blame. General Veers had a good track record though. So we can expect more of an Admiral Thrawn than an Admiral Ozzel then?

Lewis: That’s the impression I got anyway, and, even though Thrawn is now in Rebels, I think they intended this character to bring aspects of Thrawn to the big screen in a way that doesn’t necessarily affect anything else. So, as well as the cast getting a chance to talk about their characters we were also shown a behind-the-scenes clip (much like the Force Awakens one they released last year), as well as another teaser trailer that revealed a few more scenes, including a confirmation that our favourite asthmatic villain will be popping up at some point…

Ben: We should have saved Thrawn for the Rebels write up, we’ve given away one of the two big reveals from that panel. As for the clips I liked the behind the scenes stuff; it got me more excited about the film than the trailer with Vader did.

Lewis: I’m sure everybody knows that by now Ben- at least everyone who’s nerdy enough to be reading this anyway. I think if we’d been shown the trailer first and then the behind the scenes video I would’ve loved the teaser, but after being shown the “sizzle” reel three times I was quickly losing interest. Everything looked very good though, and there was actually a lot of detail revealed for the people who were looking for it.

Ben: Hmm I suppose that is true. To be honest I have completely forgotten the teaser trailer, all I can really remember is the Vader breathing at the end.

(Unfortunately the teaser trailer we were shown has not been released publicly just yet, but here’s the behind-the-scenes reel we were shown)

Lewis: I think that was definitely the stand-out moment. They also confirmed that he would indeed be voiced by James Earl Jones, which is kinda a given at this point, but it was still nice to hear the confirmation. I’m very excited to see what kind of a role he’ll be playing in the film.

Ben: As expected; I’m not sure what they would do without James Earl Jones. Yes, he can’t really be the main villain because he would end up standing on Krenic’s toes… perhaps he will take a role similar to the one he took in A New Hope while on the Death Star, standing by the shoulder of an Imperial officer like Tarkin.

Lewis: I reckon you’re right on that one. I kinda hope they come face to face with him though, that’d be a very interesting confrontation. So apart from that, is there anything else you can think of that they rolled out?

Ben: Maybe that is how Mads dies…
I don’t think so, that just about covers it I reckon.

Lewis: All in all, it was a pretty good panel apart from the technical difficulties and a little too much enthusiasm from Gwendoline Christie. And I have to say I’m pretty damn excited for this film.

Ben: Yeah, and we also got a copy of the kickass new poster they revealed. I am definitely more excited now than I was before; the first trailer left me a little ‘meh’ but I am looking forward to December now.

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Lewis: Indeed, not long to wait…