Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero is a worthy supplement to the upcoming Rebels series. It is evident that a lot of thought and care was put into this book, making this much more than just a generic tie in. It reminds me very much of the books that I enjoyed as a child which were connected to the original films. The only thing missing was hearing R2D2 tell me when to turn the page.
A New Hero takes us on a tour of the world of Lothal and gives background on what life is like for Ezra Bridger, who serves as the narrator. As we travel through and see the grasslands, cities and heroes and villains of the planet, I realized that Pablo Hidalgo had taken what could have easily been a check-the-boxes project and turned it into a charming short story. In Ezra’s voice, we learn character backgrounds important points of interest and they feel a little more real because it is told like a first hand account. It is a great approach.
The artwork looks reminiscent of the early Ralph McQuarrie drawings, and is a step above going the simple route of using still shots from the series. I would not be surprised if some of these are concept drawings from the planning sessions of the show.
The meat of the content is in the detailed rundowns of the backgrounds and motivations of not only the crew of the Ghost, but also for the The Inquisitor, the main antagonist pitted against our heroes. In the interest of staying spoiler-free as possible, I will only say that the very exciting thing is how “O.T.” the whole thing feels. There is a large two page spread of the Imperial fleet that gave me chills of happiness.
Lothal itself is another planet that is as far from the bright center of the universe as possible. Much like Luke on Tatooine (and Lucas in Modesto), Ezra is bored by the place and wants to get out. It harkens back to a time when the excitement of Star Wars was that it offered a door into a larger, more fantastic world than our own, and it gives me great hope that this new series will be a lot of fun.
Any young Star Wars fans in your household would definitely enjoy owing this piece of the Rebels program. It is probably most appropriate for readers that are beginning to read on their own but are not quite into “chapter books” yet. As I said before, it reminds me of the very same type of books that I had at just about the same age, books that often came narrated by a vinyl record. Perhaps Disney can create an iPad version that features Chopper bleeping at you to turn the page.