'Star Wars Rebels' animated series set for fall 2014

05:00 AM, May 20, 2013

Darth Vader could be making his animated debut next year as part of "Star Wars Rebels," which explores the heyday of the Empire. Lucasfilm/


Written By by Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

It’s time to join the Rebellion.

A key era in the history of George Lucas’ Star Wars universe will be explored in the new Star Wars Rebels animated series, premiering in the fall of 2014 as a one-hour special on Disney Channel and continuing as a show on Disney XD.

The entire team at Lucasfilm has provided extraordinary creativity and innovation for over three decades, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the expansive and imaginative world of Star Wars to Disney XD’s viewers,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer for Disney Channels Worldwide.

Rebels is the first project since the announcement in March that Lucasfilm was taking a new direction in its animation, which led to the cancelation of Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars after five seasons.

The new series takes place between the events of the final movie prequel, Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, and the first Star Wars film in 1977, subtitled A New Hope.

During those two decades, never featured on screen as of yet, the Empire is expanding its hold on the galaxy and hunting down Jedi while a fledgling Rebel Alliance emerges to combat Emperor Palpatine and his forces. So iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Han Solo could conceivably make their animated debuts in Rebels.

Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni will serve as an executive producer on Rebels as well as Greg Weisman (Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man) as well as screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

Kinberg, a consultant on J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Episode VII who is involved with the Star Wars standalone movies, will also pen the premiere episode of Rebels.

I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”

Attendees at Star Wars Celebration Europe in July will receive the first look at the new series, and casting and other information on Rebels will be announced at StarWars.com and the Rebels Facebook page.