Disney is ramping up the promotion engine for "Star Wars Rebels," and so it's time to meet what might be the first "cowboy Jedi": Kanan.
The media giant on Wednesday unveiled one of the main characters from the new show -- which is expected to begin airing sometime this year and take place chronologically between the "Star Wars" prequels and the original 1977 "Star Wars."
Known as Kanan, and played by Freddie Prinze Jr., he has survived the Emperor's purge of Jedis. He's a little less traditional (and more sarcastic) than most Jedis, carries a blaster, and wears armor and a holster. But he still has a samurai-like ponytail, hinting at his Jedi Knight origins, Disney said.
In "Star Wars Rebels," set between Episode III and IV, Kanan has been underground for years, evading the Empire. If the Imperials become aware of his existence "he's going to get killed," says art director Kilian Plunkett. He still has his lightsaber, but no longer uses it for fear of revealing his true identity -- and has ultimately forsaken the ways of the Jedi Order.
"Star Wars Rebels" will show Kanan's journey as he rediscovers himself, just as a rebellion begins to form against the Empire. According to [executive producer Dave] Filoni, "He's a gunslinger that needs to put the gun away and pick up the sword again, and fight for noble causes and selfless causes." But what will happen when he chooses to reignite his Jedi weapon, fighting once again for a greater purpose?
The video above reveals one of the series' story lines -- an encounter between Kanan and the "nightmarish Inquisitor, the Empire's Jedi hunter."
"Star Wars Rebels" will air first as a one-hour Disney Channel special, and then as a regular series on Disney XD channels.