Star Wars Rebels: The Rant

I didn’t want to come here. You made me come here.

I speak of the YouTube comments that ruined my day, and have forced me to put all else aside.

Do you watch Star Wars Rebels? You know, that Disney project they probably churned out as an afterthought on coffee breaks during the editing of Inside Out. That show with the kind-of-weird animation, and too few flips during the lightsaber duels. The show that foolishly places storytelling and character development before fight scene choreography. How dare they anyway? How dare they spit on the memory of Clone Wars, or screw up dueling forms from 1 through 5, and how dare their lightsabers be so skinny?

Well, haters, we all can’t have a huge lightsaber.

I grant the following.

• The animation found in Star Wars Rebels would seem rougher than what Clone Wars had to offer.
• The fight scenes in the present cartoon are not mind-blowing in terms of their scale or fire power.
• I’m a Clone Wars fan. Although, I find myself watching it more now than I did when it was on the air. Mostly, I’ve done this because it has been held up as the example new Star Wars creators must live up to.

Yet, less is more.

Not everything we see can—or should—be epic. Not every battle must contain ten combatants wielding double-bladed lightsabers, performing the moves of a figure skater. Every episode need not be a Kung-Fu movie. Not every character you run across should be overpowered, or have an arsenal of force abilities, befitting only a boss from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

In fact, the very reason Kanan of the rebels is a good character is because he is an average Jedi, even below average. A person can relate to him, which is kind of important as far as telling a story goes.

There is a reason that, while Clone Wars has been called a very good cartoon, Rebels has been called the spiritual successor to the original Star Wars trilogy. It was The Force Awakens before The Force Awakens hit the box office, and it is a shame that it is not often recognized for this achievement. Does everything come down to action sequences, or visual perfection?

• To those who attack the use of Ahsoka, Anakin’s apprentice on Clone Wars, merely because she is not a Disney creation—would you rather Disney pretend she never existed?
• Ask yourself if Luke Skywalker really cared what form of lightsaber combat he was using as he dared to fight Vader for the first time. Do you think he paused on his way to Bespin to count his midi-chlorians first—you know, to make sure they were all there? Ask yourself if any of this was going through the heads of original fans.
• Have you ever felt the way you felt when Kanan first drew his lightsaber in the premier, though all Jedi were presumed dead? Do you ever recall a scene, even from Clone Wars, that was anything like it? Because these are the things that matter.

If you disparage Rebels because you dislike Disney, or feel gross because an ‘evil empire’ has taken control of your beloved saga, I hear you. What you feel toward Disney now is the way many other fans felt during the releases of episodes I-III, that something near and dear to you has been corrupted.

You may be proven right one day, and Star Wars may be stripped of its soul, downgraded to a cute theme park ride or something. But that day is not today. Hate to break it to anyone out there, but storytelling must be judged on its merits, not on what is attached to the project. And in case you’ve missed it, at this moment, Star Wars stories are thriving.

 

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