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Awesome Tribute Videos #3: Starwars Rebels

The Starwars Rebel Tributes of Season 1

In the fall of 2014 a new element was added to the expanding Starwars universe of stories. After the to early demise of that excellent Starwars: The Clone Wars series the anticipation for the new animation series Starwars: Rebels was very mixed. Some had a lot of faith in Filoni and his part-new and part-familiar crew to produce something that would at least have as much scope for becoming as great as The Clone Wars had shown to have during its early seasons. Yet others had expectations that ranged from more cautious to openly hostile, not in the least due to the raw disappointment still circulating over The Clone Wars’ cancellation.

Just like the The Clone Wars series, so Rebels started off with an extra long ‘film’ called ‘Spark of Rebellion‘. Where the Clone Wars premiere was met with vitriol spilling over from the exuberant prequel-hate that was flowing across the world, but especially the US, the opening film for Rebels was met with cautious enthusiasm. People were expressing how much it had an Original Trilogy feel to it. Of course there was enough to hate for those who wanted to, elements such as Ezra’s slingshot and the comedy antics between Zeb, Chopper and Ezra. But overall the feeling was positive. The tribute by *Let’s not Delay* set to the song ‘This is War‘ by ‘30 second To Mars‘ focuses just on this premiere film, the interactions and roles of the various cast members. It is a fitting song that has also been used for numerous Clone Wars tributes.

Starwars Rebels started off by making us familiar with the main characters and letting us get a feel for the dynamic of this new group, this family. Having a much more private and intimate feel than Clone Wars there was nevertheless room for connections to the prequel era already in early episodes. There were early appearances of Obi Wan Kenobi, Luminara Unduli and Bail Organa that not only fitted well with this post-Revenge of the Sith storyline but were effective in bringing a significant number of the Clone Wars fans into the fold of appreciating Rebels.

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In terms of animation and level of detail Rebels still needed to find its equilibrium. The appearance of Loth Cats is one such lovely detail, yet the animation on the Wookies was pale compared to the splendor of the last few seasons of Clone Wars. But in many ways the episode ‘Rise of the Old Masters‘ was a turning point for many. Having gotten used to the less baroque and more modest animations of Rebels, the storylines were rapidly upping the stakes for our characters as well as for their role in the overarching Saga.

The episode ‘Rise of the Old Masters‘ also turned the Inquisitor into a genuine menace and revealed some of the awfulness that is The Empire. In subsequent episodes this was made more explicit by showing the ‘forced applause’ generated on Empire Day but also the abuse received by Tseebo and the darkness surrounding Ezra’s past.

The whole first season included stellar episodes such as Path of the Jedi and the season’s finale Fire across the Galaxy that began to bridge between the small scale drama of Rebels and the larger scale drama’s of the Clone Wars and the looming galactic Civil War. 1Jonde1‘s recent  tribute perfectly captures that increasing sense of danger and scale. Not only is 1jonde1 a master at cutting and editing, but also do his tribute videos reveal a real story-telling talent. If you watch this video you might see recognise scenes that were not used and some others that were used that you not see frequently in other videos. This tribute video tells the season 1 story … with Fulcrum is a mystery.

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What started with a ‘name’ and a distorted voice to which no voice-actor was assigned exploded after this shot from one of the second half-season. Hera Syndulla recognizes cargo this mysterious Fulcrum left for her to collect from the markings. But the mystery was not revealed until the Season’s finale and was a pointer towards what Rebels is going to become in Season 2, not towards what it was in Season 1. The tribute excellently plays with this.

The tribute by ManaloreMaul77 emphasizes nicely the action-packed and kinetic scenes that we could also find in Rebels season 1. The season 2 trailer played to audiences at the Anaheim Celebration 2015 and generated a roar of approval upon its key character reveal. We will see a further merging of Clone Wars and Rebels in the upcoming season premiering in June. But also a further integration between Rebels and A New Hope. Starwars Rebels is more and more proving to be the ideal ‘bridger’ between the Prequels Trilogy and the Original Trilogy.

Rebels’ key characters such as Ezra and Sabine are young enough to be able to make a credible appearance in The Force Awakens. I hope we will see that bridge too and I can’t wait to review the first Sequel Trilogy tributes, especially those that seek to connect across the entire Saga.

In upcoming Tribute Video Reviews I will take a much closer look at individual tribute videos. But I felt it would be good to start this series of with some broad strokes concerning the three main categories of tributes: Clone Wars, Saga and Rebels.

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