Is Star Wars Rebels Canon? How to Find Out
Star Wars Rebels is a television series that takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It follows the adventures of a small group of rebels as they fight against the Empire. Some fans are unsure if this show is canon, and whether or not it is worth watching. In this article, we will answer those questions and give you our opinion on the matter.
In this article we will explore the following:
- Is Star Wars Rebels worth watching?
- Is Star Wars Rebels canon?
- Who created Star Wars Rebels?
Is Star Wars Rebels Worth Watching?
I remember finishing the Clone Wars animated series and hearing about the new Star Wars Rebels show. Being a giant fan of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and my newfound appreciation for what the Clone Wars animated series did for it (in adding to my enjoyment), I was curious to see what Rebels could do for the Star Wars franchise.
How would Star Wars Rebels bridge the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy? Will Star Wars Rebels, like the Clone Wars animated show be the connective tissue we need? Do we really need to see the formation of the Rebel Alliance, shouldn’t we be focusing on expanding the Star Wars universe instead?
It’s been some time since I watched Star Wars Rebels the animated series so I decided to revisit it before writing this article. Here are my quick takeaways. The pros, cons and my final verdict on if Star Wars Rebels is worth watching.
Is Star Wars Rebels Worth Watching: Pros
Clone Wars was able to flush out the plot holes of the prequel trilogy and successfully made you feel way more invested with each character. Anakin’s fall from grace made more sense by the time you finished Clone Wars and it even left you questioning the Jedi Order as he did. New characters like Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress quickly became some of the best written characters in all of Star Wars. The Clone Wars animated series is some of the best Star Wars out there and I am willing to die on that hill.
Could Rebels captivate me all over again? Is Star Wars Rebels worth watching? Let’s look at my top three pros of Star Wars Rebels.
Pro #1: Characters
The cast of characters in Rebels is top-notch. Without getting into major spoilers this show is full of high moments. It successfully bridges the gap between new and old. Characters like Darth Maul and Darth Vader reach new heights and are fleshed out in a way that makes sense. New villains like Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Grand Inquisitor add new never-before-seen layers to the Star Wars Saga that are refreshing.
The show introduces Star Wars fans to the ragtag group of crew members of the starship known as Ghost. I argue this is the second-best crew ever assembled for television (Firefly being the first) and you’ll be quick to fall in love with them.
Each character’s back story develops and intertwines throughout the series leaving you wanting more. Make no mistake, they wrote this show for young adults but it pushes that boundary of maturity leaving fans of all ages invested. Star Wars Rebels deserves to be mentioned among the greatest animated shows of all time such as Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Pro #2: Action
Whether you’re in the middle of a dog fight in space with Tie Fighters zipping in and out of your screen or watching a lightsaber duel unfold, Star Wars Rebels delivers.
The show left me hanging on the edge of my seat more than a few times.
With all that said, the pacing is done to perfection. Everything felt very cinematic and calculated. There is a moment with Obi-Wan Kenobi you will not want to miss and when you get to it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Pro #3: Sound & Music
Star Wars fans have been blessed with amazing and iconic movie scores by John Williams (and others). Kevin Kiner does a fantastic job of carrying the mantle forward in the Rebels animated show. The music is such a big part of the Star Wars experience and I am happy to say it felt like I was watching Star Wars.
Not only was the music great but the overall sound design was movie quality. Lightsabers, Tie Fighters, laser blasts, all of it sounded exactly how it should.
Is Star Wars Rebels Worth Watching: Cons
Not everything was all sunshine and rainbows in Star Wars Rebels, there are a few things that got under my skin. Here are some quick takeaways of a few cons I’d like to point out.
Con #1: A Lot of Fluff
There were quite a few iconic moments in Star Wars Rebels that blew my socks off but we had to go through some painful filler episodes to get there.
When the series stayed on track with the main storylines it was at its best. But when we detoured from the main path, we wound up with filler episodes that didn’t move the plot forward and felt like a colossal waste of time.
The creators maintained a certain maturity in the Rebels storyline to keep hardcore Star Wars fans hooked. And to push boundaries just far enough so younger audiences can still enjoy it. However, they clearly geared the filler episodes toward children and that made them difficult to get through for me.
Con #2: Spinning Lightsabers
Mechanical spinning Lightsabers sound great on paper (no they don’t), but watching them come to life was a bit jarring. Especially when you can use those same spinning Lightsabers to propel you to fly away like a drone.
Seeing them brought to life in the live-action Obi-Wan Kenobi series made me gag.
Con #3: Animation Style
I must admit it took me some serious time to get used to the animation style in Star Wars Rebels. Luckily it was very similar to the Clone Wars animated series and I was able to adjust pretty quickly.
Many of my friends struggled to watch the series because they couldn’t get past the animation style. All I can say is if it’s not for you, try to focus on the story and see past it. It grew on me and hopefully, it grows on you too.
Is Star Wars Rebels Worth Watching: Verdict
Okay so, is Star Wars Rebels worth watching? The answer is a resounding yes. Every Star Wars fan should have Rebels on their viewing list.
Not only is Rebels a great show to watch with the entire family, but it has also some of the most iconic moments any Star Wars fan would appreciate. It does a fantastic job of showing the formation of the Rebel Alliance and is a great addition to the Star Wars timeline.
The main characters of Rebels are some of the best written in all of Star Wars. You’ll fall in love with this ragtag group of misfits just like I did and by the end of the series, I promise you, all of your heartstrings will be tugged.
Rebels is only four seasons. The first season will fly by and when you get to the final season you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
Is Star Wars Rebels Canon?
After the original trilogy, all Star Wars fans had were the games, books, and comics to keep the story going. But none of it was considered Star Wars canon.
Once Lucasfilm sold to Disney in 2012 they wiped the slate clean. Disney considers anything pre-purchase (minus the movies and Clone Wars animated series) as “Legends” and anything Disney created would be Star Wars canon.
Amazing characters from the pre-Disney purchase have found their way into what is now considered canon (Thrawn being one) which has been interesting but Disney is cherry-picking what they want to keep.
Is Star Wars Rebels canon? Yes, Star Wars Rebels is considered Canon, and rightfully so. It’s a fantastic show worth exploring that takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
Jedi Master and Apprentice
What made the Clone Wars animated series such a treat was the fact that George Lucas helped create it. George wasn’t alone however, he had help from Dave Filoni. I believe Dave is one of the few people who can say that they were trained by George Lucas himself and understand his overall vision for the Star Wars franchise.
If George Lucas is Yoda, then Dave Filoni is certainly Luke Skywalker. Actually, maybe George Lucas is Darth Sidious for selling to Disney, making Dave Filoni Lord Vader. The jury is still out.
Perhaps this is why both Clone Wars and Rebels feel like the Star Wars of old and a natural continuation of the story George set out to tell. Mostly anything Dave has touched, I’ve enjoyed. It’s great to see him getting a crack at live-action Star Wars too.
I must talk about Ahsoka Tano. She has arguably the greatest storyline in all of Star Wars. Starting out as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice and eventually one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance. You will only be able to fully appreciate Ahsoka’s story by watching the Clone Wars and Rebels in their entirety.
I’m very excited about Ahsoka making the jump to live-action in the Mandalorian. Ahsoka is also getting her own Disney+ series directed by none other than one of my favorites and her creator, Dave Filoni.
Star Wars Rebels Vs Clone Wars
There are many similarities between Star Wars Rebels and the Clone Wars animated series. Focusing on what is different I will say that the Clone Wars series is a bit stronger and sticks to a more mature tone. Clone Wars is a bit more consistent in its quality but Rebels can stand all on its own.
The animation (still not my favorite) is a bit more fleshed out in Rebels as opposed to Clone Wars. Although later seasons of Clone Wars you can see the animation quality increase.
Chances are if you enjoyed the Clone Wars animated series you’ll like Rebels.
Overall Star Wars Rebels gets a big thumbs up from me. It’s a great show for the entire family and is certainly worth your time if you’re a Star Wars fan.
I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this show. Sure it may cater to a younger Star Wars audience but it still has enough meat in it to keep even the most mature Star Wars fan coming back for more.
Have you watched Star Wars Rebels, do you intend to watch this animated series? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, May the Force be with you!