Star Wars: The Clone Wars is my favorite television show. For five years me and my wife got ready for each episode as if it were movie of the week (and they were!). In all actuality, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the biggest, most epic, in depth Star Wars story ever told at over 50 hours long.
I want to preface this piece by making it clear I deeply love Star Wars: The Clone Wars and find it to be as important as the film series.I tweeted with the #SaveTheCloneWars cats until my twitter account locked itself up and said I could not tweet anymore for the day.
Conceptually, The Clone Wars was an era, not a premise. But it was about big things happening on a big scale for the most part. World War II was not necessarily personal as it broke out. It was political and about principal and economics initially. It was not until the events of the war happened that the soldiers were individually affected. They might have felt they needed to stop regimes with dastardly values and ethics. But it was purely ideological for most at the onset until they were touched by the conflicts. The Clone Wars was a lot like that. From nobles to the lowest soldier, it was possibly “a damn fool idealistic crusade.” There were forces that needed to be stopped, but war might not have been the answer in those instances.We only understood why some people fought after their lives where ruined or they saw things which made it hard to turn their backs on.
The Clone Wars was often times war at the macro level. But as the show went on, we saw more instances of war at the micro level. But our initial meeting of the conflict was very impersonal. Once again, I am not saying it never went down to the personal level, it did. But Anakin and Obi-Wan were never fighting for their home planet, their village, or their people. Ahsoka saved her people but she didn’t know them.
Star Wars Rebels has all the potential to make its central conflict personal.
Star Wars Rebels begins with young protagonists on a remote planet. Imperial control is implemented and the young cast of characters rebel. But what makes them rebel? We will see Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, and Stormtroopers “ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives” of the remote planet’s population. That means the heroes will have their families killed or put in prison camps. People from their communities will turn on one another to gain favor or save their own families. Their culture will be demolished by the machinations of imperialism and totalitarianism.
The heroes will fight for deeply personal reasons in this show.
On that level, the quest that propels our cast is strong. While we can have war at the macro level at times, what fuels it will be very personal, something the viewers will know in the back of their minds. We will know why they fight. It will be ideological like The Clone Wars but also very personal. There are times in The Clone Wars where you just wish Padmé and Anakin would just run away and live their lives away from the war and galactic politics. It was a possibility for them. But with this new cast, they will be driven into this quest to end this totalitarian occupation. Quitting will not be an option for our new young heroes.
It can appeal to our sense of revenge but to our sense of justice at the same time.
With that psychological component in mind, knowing the heroes can’t turn back, we don’t want them to turn back, an extra personal layer of drama is present. This in no way speaks to a structural flaw in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but it speaks to a deep well to pull inspiration from for Star Wars Rebels. The premise of the series is so solid. We should not have a hard time understanding and emotionally connecting with why the rebels fight and why they must do what they are doing.
I think Star Wars Rebels has the potential to be a better show than Star Wars: The Clone Wars, my favorite show of all time. The bar is set pretty high for Star Wars Rebels, but I believe they can pull it off. I’m rooting for them!