Last week was a big one for Star Wars Rebels news. Early in the week several podcasts posted interviews with Vanessa Marshall, voice of Hera Syndulla. Marshall proves she is a Star Wars fangirl, and smart too, as she discusses Leia’s moxie – who doesn’t think that word is perfect for the character? – and how she approaches Hera compared to other heroic women she has played over the years, like Wonder Woman and Black Canary. Listen to her interviews on Full of Sith, Rebels Report, and ForceCast.
Saturday afternoon’s WonderCon panel spiced up social media for the hour it ran. Check out Club Jade’s Twitter roundup. With David Collins hosting, the panel included Dave Filoni, Vanessa Marshall, Killian Plunkett, and Kevin Kiner. The tone was more upbeat and forward-looking compared to New York Comic-Con’s panel, which had a nostalgic vibe and focused on the Empire and villains.
Eric Goldman’s IGN recap mentions Amy Beth Christenson’s role in creating Marshall’s character Hera. Numerous pieces of concept art for the character were revealed at the panel. Filoni explained his philosophy on strong female characters, which mirrors what he said in a 2011 San Diego Comic-Con about female characters in genre storytelling:
“I respect that Disney has certain aims thematically,” said Filoni, but added they also were quite aware, “When you watch a Star Wars show, you know what that branding is,” though, “As an animation person, you have to respect the influence of Walt Disney.” He said if there’d been any direct Disney influence on Rebels, it actually came from Tangled, where he was quite impressed by how they’d used 3D animation to capture 2D style facial expressions – and asked his team to try to capture something similar.
Stylistically, Rebels is “more what you would clichély call ‘animated.’ Clone Wars was much more reserved; much more lifelike,” noted Filoni. “This can play broader. That’s good for the humor we’re trying to capture at times and the drama we’re trying to capture at times.” He mentioned how it actually reminded him of his time working on Avatar: The Last Airbender, where the animation was very expressive as far as conveying the characters’ emotions.
Filoni also explained the fusion of styles between Star Wars and Disney, giving a nod to Tangled’s breakthrough work in facial expressions. Perhaps this explains why Kanan looks like Flynn Rider in Star Wars. In his Twitter feed, Goldman relays from Filoni that the core heroic characters will be followed throughout the season, as opposed to The Clone Wars, which played out more as an anthology.
On Saturday, L.A. Times’ Hero Complex posted their feature on Kevin Kiner and the music of Star Wars Rebels. In that piece, Filoni echoes what he said in the panel, that the show will be lighter and more fast-paced in the vein of the Original Trilogy films. Kiner assures fans that while the show will open with the classic feel of John William’s score, the music will branch out by season’s end.
For all the images and videos, StarWars.com posted the panel material almost immediately after it ended. Rebels Report also has panel audio and Kai Charles shared her thoughts here at FANgirl on how the panel sold her on the show.