To begin with, I'd like to announce that my nine-year-old son Toshi McWeeny has been appointed “Senior Junior 'Star Wars' Correspondent” for HitFix.
After all, he was the one who attended the “Phantom Menace 3D” press day with me and conducted all of the interviews, and one of the things that defined Film Nerd 2.0 was our series of “Star Wars” articles. At this point, Toshi is far more immersed in “Star Wars” than I am on a daily basis. He has books he reads, comics he looks at, and a constant stream of revisits of the different films and TV shows that are already part of the overall franchise. It is something that is an active part of his inner life and his ongoing play with his little brother. It is safe to say that there is not a day that goes by that “Star Wars” is not part of their conversation to some extent, so who better to have be our liaison to that galaxy far far away?
When I was at the Toronto Film Festival, there was a special event thrown by Disney on the Disney lot in Burbank where they screened the premiere for “Star Wars: Rebels,” the new animated series that Disney XD is about to start airing. One of the weirdest nights I've had this year was the opening night of this year's Comic-Con, when we had our annual HitFix party and our sponsors for the evening were Lucasfilm for this particular show. It was a bizarre evening simply because it's not often I am one of the people throwing a party where there are Stormtroopers, Imperial Guards, and droids all milling about, and if seven-year-old me had tried to imagine a poolside party full of not only the characters but the people in charge of them, he would have failed utterly to imagine how much fun the reality could be.
One of the people at the party was Simon Kinberg, creator of “Rebels,” although our only contact was a photo he took from across the room of the back of my head, according to Instagram. I'm curious to see “Rebels” because it's going to be our first look at how “Star Wars” looks under his guidance, and he's one of the guys who is going to be heavily involved moving forward.
To that end, I asked Toshi to go to the screening while I was gone so he could report back to me about the movie.
The following is the second draft of his review after I asked him a series of questions about his first pass. Aside from editorial suggestions, I am printing it for you as he presented it to me. This is his first full review here on HitFix, and we're going to publish whatever else he does on the site about “Star Wars” under the broad banner “Notes From Toshi Station”. That is the most natural “Star Wars” column title of all time, and it took my old buddy Neil Cook (@atxstoryboards) to suggest it to me. I would have never figured that out, which makes me question my own geek credibility.
Here, then, is Toshi's take on “Star Wars: Rebels” —
“Star Wars” has been around for a long time. It originally belonged to Lucasfilm. It belongs to Disney now. George Lucas was amazing. There are millions of characters. “Star Wars: Rebels” is new, and I think it's good. You should start watching it. It premieres October 3rd and I recommend you see it.
“Star Wars: Rebels” starts two seconds after “Revenge Of The Sith.” The Imperial Navy is out there, and technically Obi-Wan is like “All those Jedis that are out there, this is the end. And if you're out there, defend yourself as much as you can.”
This kid Ezra lives on a planet, and everything starts by the Imperials showing up at his home. They're shipping something that he finds, and this team shows up to get back these things that they're collecting. The kid opens one, and it's full of blasters. So he gets stuck with this team, and one of the main bad guys is after them, and he's called The Inquisitor. He has a double-sided lightsaber, and it can change gears and change into one thing or he can throw it and it's like a boomerang.
The inquisitor can look at you and know exactly who you are. He can say stuff, and he just knows. This Jedi, Kanan, is one of the main characters, and I think he's upset. He doesn't get it much. And the kid, he's just a kid that would take something and keep it. He'd just keep it.
This other one, Sabine, she has a Mandalorian helmet and Captain Rex pistols. They're pretty cool. She's good at things with guns, but what she's best at is bombs. She can do anything with bombs. And there's also Hera. She's a Twi'lek pilot.
They leave the kid's home because they are running away. He lives in a tower thing, and there's nobody else. There's a city he can go to with his speeder. He knows very, very little about the Empire, but he learns about them, and we see that he can feel the Force a bunch of times. He feels all weird every time it happens.
There's a robot named Chopper, and Chopper is so funny. Hera tells Chopper to mount the gun because he can change the gears and stuff, and they argue and he can laugh. There's a part where he throws stuff for the kids to cut with the lightsabers, and Zeb, who is a big alien, laughs so hard he drops a box full of these cartons. I would say their ship, The Ghost, is the starting of the Millennium Falcon, and there's a scene where they are bringing Zeb in as a prisoner and they say he's a Wookie, and he tries to do an impression of one, but he's bad at it!
This is great, but I haven't seen much. I think when I see more and more, this is going to be what everyone's been waiting for, to tell the story better than it's ever been told before. This made me want to see more episodes, so it is a good episode. It is actually funny, and it shows a lot. The inquisitor looks like he can't be beat. No one can beat him.
There are barely any clones, and they are becoming stormtroopers, but we could see clones who don't want to be something bad and become a bad killer. They don't show any of the clones from the TV show yet, but you could see Commander Cody on the run.
I would watch this every week, and I would like to have a friend to watch it with me, and if this is good, then “Episode VII” will be good. The guy who created this is smart because he said, “We could show the rest of 'Star Wars' and how this all begins.”
Nothing is cooler than “Star Wars.” You're gonna love it so much.
At the end of the month, I'm going to put Toshi together with Dave Filoni, the executive producer of the show, as well as Freddie Prinze Jr. (who plays Kanan) and Tiya Sircar (Sabine), and I'm going to let him ask his questions, because he tells me he's got about a thousand of them.
“Star Wars Rebels: Spark Of Rebellion” will debut October 3rd at 9:00 PM on Disney Channel, and on October 13th at 9:00 PM, the show begins airing on Disney XD.