Just months after Lucasfilm announced the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney has put the new animated series Star Wars Rebels into production. The new franchise will premiere with a one-hour Disney Channel special in fall 2014, followed by a series on Disney XD.
Star Wars Rebels will focus on events that span between Episode III and IV of the film franchise — a two-decade era that Lucasfilm points out has not been explored before on screen. Disney is keeping details a "closely guarded secret," but offers this tease: "Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape."
Many of the creative minds behind Clone Wars are now working on the new series, including executive producer Dave Filoni, who had been Clone Wars' supervising director since its 2008 launch. Other executive producers include Simon Kinberg (X-Men First Class), who is writing the first episode and is also involved with the upcoming new Star Wars films, and animation vet Greg Weisman (Young Justice).
Lucasfilm Animation is producing Star Wars Rebels and will offer a first sneak peek at the Star Wars Celebration Europe in Germany this July.
"I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm last fall sealed the fate of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which aired on rival conglomerate Time Warner's Cartoon Network. In March, Lucasfilm said in a statement that it had decided "to pursue a new direction in animated programming," which included the cancellation of Clone Wars after five seasons and the postponement of Star Wars' comedic Detours from the Robot Chicken team.