Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019: Star Wars Rebels Remembered

The Star Wars Rebels animated series premiered in October 2014, a year before The Force Awakens, and aired its finale in March 2018, shortly after The Last Jedi. Over that span, Rebels played an integral role in relaunching Star Wars storytelling in the Disney era. Although the show was set in the years before A New Hope, series creator and showrunner Dave Filoni used its episodes to reintroduce important Star Wars concepts like hope, duty, resistance to tyranny, genetic family and found family, and the mysticism of the Force. At Celebration Chicago on Saturday, April 13, Filoni joked that the Rebels Remembered panel offered him a very rare opportunity in his decade-long career at Lucasfilm: to talk about a show after it has concluded, when he can speak candidly without need to conceal spoilers or shield upcoming content.

For the panel, Filoni was joined by moderator Amy Ratcliffe, herself a dedicated fan of The Clone Wars and Rebels, and cast members Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla), Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger), and Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren). They spoke freely about the characters arcs over four seasons of Rebels, including Hera’s relationship with Kanan, Ezra’s maturation as a young man and as a Jedi apprentice, and Sabine’s challenge in overcoming the feelings of abandonment from her past to find emotional peace and purpose with the Ghost crew. While the discussion did not offer any shocking secrets or surprise revelations, the dedication and passion of Filoni and the actors for the characters and the series shined through in their conversation. We always appreciate seeing that the people behind the scenes making Star Wars value the franchise and its importance to the fandom as much as the fans do.

Knowing fans would have questions about Rebels, especially with his promised candor, Filoni reserved some time toward the end of the panel for questions from the audience. The undoubted highlight of the fan interactions occurred when three sisters reached the microphone. They had attended the “Heroines of Star Wars” panel at Celebration Orlando, where Filoni had presented Sircar and Ashley Eckstein with the Forces of Destiny adventure figures of their characters. Not wanting Dave to be left out, they created a custom full-scale figure of Filoni – complete with Wolfpack shirt and cowboy hat. Accepting the gift on stage, Filoni’s gratitude was apparent to everyone. As he often does, he deflected the public praise with humor, perching “Little Dave” on his shoulder to offer less-than-wise guidance to the animation master.

The panel may not have offered any new Rebels content, but on their way out of the Galaxy Stage fans received a poster with the cover image for The Art of Star Wars Rebels book, scheduled for publication on October 1.

Watch the Rebels Remembered panel here, as part of the Celebration live stream (begins at 4:02:36):

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B.J. Priester has been a Star Wars fan since he played with the original Kenner action figures as a young boy. His fandom passion returned after watching Attack of the Clones in 2002 and reading the entire New Jedi Order series in 2003. He voraciously caught up on the novels and comics in the Expanded Universe in addition to writing fanfiction, frequently co-authoring with Tricia. B.J. has served as editor of FANgirl Blog from its inception, as well as contributing reviews and posts on a range of topics. He edited Tricia’s novel Wynde, and is collaborating with her on several future projects set in that original universe. Currently a tenured law professor in Florida, B.J. has been a practicing lawyer in Washington, D.C., a law clerk to a federal appeals court judge, and a law journal editor-in-chief. He is also a proud geek dad whose son who is a big fan of Star Wars and The Clone Wars.