Disney said today that it has begun production on "Star Wars Rebels," a new animated television series. It will air in 2014, first as a one-hour special, and then will continue as a regular series.
The special will be shown on the Disney Channel, while the series will air first on Disney XD channels globally, Disney said. It will be produced by LucasFilm Animation.
The announcement that production has commenced on "Star Wars Rebels" comes just two months after Disney shut down "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," a popular and long-running cartoon series. What's unclear is whether the announcement of "Star Wars Rebels" will do anything to ease the enmity toward Disney that has sprung up in the wake of the "Clone Wars" shutdown, as well as the closure of LucasArts, the video game arm of LucasFilm.
"Star Wars Rebels" is set chronologically between "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith," the third prequel film, and the original "Star Wars" movie. Disney noted that that is a period in the complex franchise's story that has yet to be explored on screen. The show "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," Disney said in a statement, adding that the actual plot is being kept secret for now.
Clearly, though, Disney is doing everything it can to fill in gaps in the existing "Star Wars" canon. It plans on releasing what is currently known only as "Episode VII," the seventh-full "Star Wars" live-action movie, in 2015, and Disney has also said that it plans on producing a series of additional films based on individual "Star Wars" characters.
Many of the people making the new show are veterans of "Clone Wars."