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No one Forced Freddie Prinze Jr. to voice Kanan, the cowboy Jedi on Disney XD's "Star Wars Rebels"

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No one Forced Freddie Prinze Jr. to voice Kanan, the cowboy Jedi on Disney XD's "Star Wars Rebels"

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There are a lot of people on this planet who are excited about "Star Wars Rebels." But perhaps the person who is most looking forward to this program (which will debut on Disney XD in the Fall of 2014) is Freddie Prinze, Jr.

You see, as Prinze revealed at a Disney Consumer Products presentation yesterday at Toy Fair 2014 ...

"If you're anywhere near my age -- I'm almost 40 -- Stars Wars is pretty much in your DNA. You can't get away from it. You've probably heard 'May the Force be with you' as much as you've heard 'Have a nice day.' "

Freddie Prinze, Jr. poses with his Stormtrooper honor guard at
yesterday's Disney Consumer Products press event at Toy
Fair. Photo by Nancy Stadler

And Freddie has been a hardcore Star Wars fan as far back as he can remember. As he stood onstage at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Prinze insisted that ...

"Were I to ever met Harrison Ford, I would then have to tell him that I bought a Han Solo action figure with my own allowance money. Back when we were kids, if there was ever  a battle between Star Wars and Star Trek fans, Star Wars always won. I mean, we had lightsabers and the Force. How could a phaser ever hope to beat that?"

So having had these sort of childhood experiences, you can imagine how Freddie felt when he went in for an audition last year and ...

Copyright Lucasfilm / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

" ... I went in and another actor I knew was coming out. And he looked at me and said (quiet, conspiratorially) "Hey. Hey." And I said "What?" And he said "You know this is for Star Wars, right?" And I said "What?!"

So Prinze then walks into this audition. And who does he see behind the glass of that recording studio window but Dave Filoni, the supervising director of the Emmy Award-winning "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" TV series. And next to Dave is Greg Weisman, the creator of Disney's Gargoyles. So as soon as Freddie sees Dave & Greg together, he says ...

"Well, I can't say exactly what I said because (Star Wars is owned by) Disney now. But I said 'Is this BLANKing Star Wars?!' And I then said 'You gotta give me a minute.' And I walked out of the room and I took a breath and then thought about the pages that I had been given for this audition. Which had all these references to a weapon called a sun swords. Only now I realize that the characters on this show aren't really going to be using sun swords. They're going to be using lightsabers. Which are just the coolest things ever."

Copyright Lucasfilm / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

So Prinze heads back into that recording booth and just nails this audition. Which is how he winds up voicing Kanan, the cowboy Jedi character on "Star Wars Rebels." Which is set 14 years after the events seen at the very end of "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith." Which is after Order 66 has been executed and the Empire's search for the last of the Jedi Knights is still underway.

And Kanan ... After watching so many of his friends being hunted down and then killed, he's given up on being a Jedi. To avoid detection by the Empire, Kanan's locked away his lightsaber and gone underground. Kanan has kept to the shadows for more than a decade and earns his keep by being ... Well, sort of this intergalatic gun-for-hire.

But then something happens in the first episode of "Star Wars Rebels" (which -- FYI -- gets underway approximately five years before the events we see in "Star Wars IV: A New Hope"). Something that forces Kanan to reconsider the current course of his life and ... Well, maybe -- just maybe -- leads to the formation of the early, early version of the Rebel Alliance.

Copyright Lucasfilm / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Sorry that I can't be more forthcoming when it comes to actual details about this new Disney XD animated series. But as Prinze confirmed at yesterday's new conference, both Disney & Lucasfilm are extremely secretive when it comes to this "Star Wars" -related project.

"I'll tell you, honestly, when I auditioned for this show, it was called something completely different. (At that time, this proposed animated series) was called 'The Wolf.' I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to say that. I sense Lucasfilm attacking me now.

('Star Wars Rebels') comes out this Fall. We're still working hard on it. We're about halfway through our first season. I don't know if I'm allowed to say that either, but we are. (To date, this whole experience has) been absolutely awesome."

After yesterday's Disney Consumer Products presentation, reporters & bloggers
then moved into the display area to check out some of the upcoming "Star
Wars Rebels" and Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" toy line.
Photo by Jim Hill

What Freddie particularly enjoys about working on this animated series is how Dave & Greg have decided to record all of the scripts for "Star Wars Rebels."

"The way that they've allowed us to put these episodes together, we are all in a room together at the same time. It's kind of a big time 'Breakfast Club' vibe. That was a film that they shot all together all in order, which doesn't usually happen but makes for a great movie. It's the same kind of thing here. Everyone works together.

And the cast of  'Star Wars Rebels' is awesome. I'm not really allowed to talk about many of (the performers who've been doing voice work on this show) because (Filoni & Weisman are) still being cool and secretive. But (working on 'Star Wars Rebels' has) really been awesome. I have a lot of fun doing this show. I get really amped up every time we have a new script. And when there's a week when we don't record, I actually get bummed out. I jones for it. I mean, you see this kind of stuff, I'm eight years-old again all of a sudden."

Freddy Prinze, Jr. holding the LEGO version of Kanan's Ghost ship from
"Star Wars Rebels." Photo by Nancy Stadler

And when Prinze mentioned " ... you see this kind of stuff," he was actually referring to the LEGO version of the Ghost. Which is the craft that Kanan & his crew use as they're zooming through space, avoiding the Empire. And Freddie ... Well, he really did look like he was eight years-old again as he held that LEGO version of the Ghost in his hands and said ...

"When I was a kid, I had LEGO X-wings and Millenium Falcons. And my friend had a soldering iron and he would literally reshape these models so that they would look like the exact ships. So to be holding this now is both crazy and awesome."

Mind you, it will probably be a while before Prinze will be able to bring any of the "Star Wars Rebels" LEGO sets home because ...

Photo by Nancy Stadler

"(I have a) four year-old and a one year-old. And if there's a LEGO piece lying around, my one year-old then tries to eat it. But as soon as he's old enough, he's almost there ... I'd love to (put one of these on display at home)."

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  • I'm looking forward to Star Wars Rebels. It takes place in a timeline that is interesting to me. Plus, the characters look great.

    The thing that is really amusing me is all of the overly dramatic comments on Facebook and Youtube about how the show will suck and of course how "The Clone Wars was better". It should be noted that when "The Clone Wars" series first came out, everyone hated it. Now, everyone loves it.

    There are enough people who are excited about "Rebels", and all those negative people are still going to watch it too, no doubt.

    By the way Jim, cute title for this article, I got a real kick out of it.

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