Star Wars: Rebels gathered cast and their production genius to discuss life as voice actors and creators in the Star Wars Universe at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA. The panel was lead by Johnny Test and Minion voice actor James Arnold Taylor. Star Wars: Rebels focuses on the life of Ezra, a young child with the power of the Force, and those who gather to help him in a time where there are no available Jedi to teach him. While the show is heavy on the idea of family, that feeling spread to the cast as well. It also has a heavy emphasis on the first Star Wars films, making the show feel right at home.
Steve Blum never stopped using voices, continually using different accents to answer questions. He delighted the crowd by revealing he was at opening weekend for A New Hope. “That gives me some cred, I hear.”
Freddie Prinze Jr. is no stranger to the Star Wars universe. He laughed and joked with the crowd about the scar on his face he received while accidentally stabbing himself playing Star Wars as Luke Skywalker while his Cousin Chris played Lord Vader. He also thanked fans for role playing with him on Twitter. He encouraged fans to love that they love. “People are going to make fun of you no matter what you do, so commit to what you love,” he stated.
Prinze is also having more fun that one could imagine. “There’s no hair and makeup. No one in wardrobe fixing my collar because it’s moved half and inch. I wanted to be a father more than an actor. After my daughter was born I had one food out the door,” he said referencing acting. The Rebels voice acting schedule lets him record and return home to his family, without spending weeks at a time filming.
Vanessa Marshall calls herself a “super dork.” While Freddie may know four solid facts about Star Wars, Marshall is a “walking encyclopedia.” This comes in handy with her role as Hera on the popular show.
Both Prinze and Marshall had an idea of what they were auditioning for, even though Executive Producer Dave Filoni coded the auditions to prevent spoilers. “You called the light saber a sun sword!” Marshall said excitedly.
Dave Filoni offered a quick look into Season Two of Star Wars: Rebels with a trailer:
The trailer premiere was also the first time the cast had scene it, leading them all to sit on the floor of the stage and stare up in wide-eyed wonder at what was enfolding before them.
Darth Vader is coming in Season 2, and he is voiced by the fantastic James Earl Jones, just as in the films. “Hearing James voice untreated was pretty insane,” Executive Producer Simon Kinberg smiled. “We high-fived when he wasn’t looking,” Dave Filoni admitted.
Also returning are Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka and and Dee Bradley Baker as Rex, both of whom joined the panel towards the end and are known for their work on Clone Wars.
It is also important to Filoni and Kinberg that the ethos is the same for every aspect of Star Wars, especially so kids could experience what fans did with their first experiences with the Star Wars Films. Even though all the films, comics, books, video games and cartoons are created by different people, there is one group at Lucas Films who gather to communicate on ALL Star Wars’ projects. This is to make sure George Lucas’ vision lives on and that all aspects of the Star Wars Universe feel connected. George Lucas has seen Star Wars: Rebels and loved it, though it was one of the first projects completed by Lucas Films without George’s direct guidance.
When asked if they ever felt the need to dumb down the show for children, David Filoni reacted quickly. “We never had that attitude on Clone Wars. We haven’t had that on Rebels.”
With Season 2 on it’s way, the question of Ezra’s character design came up. While online chat boards often refer to the character as “Space Aladdin” Dave Filoni laughed and just said the idea was a “flattering comparison.” When he was deigning the character, his wife’s reaction caused him to change his character design. “He’s a little bit Ralph Macchio. I don’t do hidden mickeys or anything like that.”
Freddie Prinze Jr.’s famous wife is also joining the cast in Season 2. The group was mum about Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new role. However, Prinze used the time to tease the room by saying, “oh my wife? She plays Chewbacca’s lady season 2. She’s really hairy and has a great low growl. She’s a powerful actress; she can grunt with the best of them.”
This season plans to address the subject of what happened to Ezra’s parents. “Kids focus on that,” Filoni reminded. However, the focus won’t just be on Ezra. All characters are going to get a little more backstory this season. With a longer season that the first, there’s much more room to explore.
“I’m moved by the hope that is present in the show,” Vanessa Marshall commented. “You don’t always succeed, but at least yo can hope.”
Star Wars: Rebels Season 2 will be coming to Disney XD soon.