A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars Rebels is an animated series that follows Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion. It continues the story of a team of renegade rebels on missions against an evil Empire and delves more deeply into the mentor/student relationship between Jedi master Kanan and his new apprentice, Ezra. Positive messages emerge in the Rebels' selfless efforts to undermine the Empire and in how Kanan and Ezra must compromise for both to be effective in their roles. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of peril and violence in this story, as characters on both sides use weapons (blasters, a laser slingshot, explosives, and lightsabers) and hand-to-hand skills against each other. There are deaths, although the show doesn't draw attention to them. This fun series has broad appeal for kids and adults, particularly those familiar with the Star Wars story laid out in the live-action movies.
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What's the story?
STAR WARS REBELS follows the adventures of a team of freedom fighters who travel the galaxy battling the tyrannical Empirical forces. Led by Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), one of a few Jedi survivors of a double-cross that nearly exterminated the entire race, the team represents the beginning of the eventual Rebellion chronicled in A New Hope and its sequels. Kanan's new Padawan is Ezra (Taylor Gray), a crafty orphan who's learning the ways of the Force as he joins his new friends on missions. Kindly Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and weapons whiz Sabine (Tiya Sircar) round out the crew along with brutish Zeb (Steven Blum), for whom the jury is still out on Ezra's place with them. As the Rebels set out on rescue and aid missions, they must stay off the radar of the Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs) and his right-hand man, Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo), who are under orders from Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) to flush out and destroy all remaining Jedi.
Is it any good?
This series continues the tale first told in Spark of Rebellion and features the movie's same careful attention to detail that adds modern touches to the Star Wars story as a whole while paying homage to the beloved original movies. Not only do familiar characters such as Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian appear, helping bridge the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but even the voice cast is consistent with the involvement of Jones and Billy Dee Williams. Even better, Star Wars Rebels is so well-written and the characters so intriguing that adults may enjoy this new addition to the saga as much as kids will.
If your kids are familiar with Star Wars-style violence from any of the live-action movies or animated series related to them, then what they see here won't come as a surprise. There's a lot of fighting, a variety of weapons, and the implication that many people die, even if it isn't actually spelled out. But there's also a positive message in the cause of the Rebels, who battle the odds against a powerful adversary bent on greed and a quest for power. They're a fun group to root for, made all the more intriguing as their individual backstories emerge slowly as the show plays out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence on TV. Were the battle sequences in Star Wars Rebels at all disturbing to your kids? Was the heroes' safety ever in question? Does violence such as this change how you view altercations that happen in the real world?
Are the heroes in this show always heroic? Does their behavior ever make you think less of them? Do they always make good decisions? How are TV role models different from your kids' real-life heroes?
Kids: What impact do your viewing habits have on your buying ones? Does liking a particular show or character encourage you to want products that bear those same images?
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