Spark is a common, slightly overused word in Star Wars canon literature. It has most recently been used multiple times in the Sequel trilogy and ST-related content (Spark of the Resistance is the title of the Middle-Grade novel that takes place before The Rise of Skywalker).
But before that in the beginning years of Disney’s Star Wars, Lucasfilm released the two-episode premiere of their first project under the Disney umbrella- Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion. The show would go on to have four seasons and turn out to be very relevant to the Star Wars canon. As the casting rumors heat up for live-action versions of the main characters, I would be remiss if I did not recommend the short film that kicked off Rebels.
Spark of Rebellion takes place five years before Star Wars: A New Hope when the Galactic Empire has settled into expansion and colonizing worlds. It introduces and follows an Aladdin-type kid named Ezra, who is living on his own on the Outer Rim planet Lothal (he is actually called a “street rat” by another character). He attempts to steal cargo from a burgeoning Rebel cell which includes Jedi Kanan Jarrus. Kanan is a survivor of Order 66 so has been secretive about his force-sensitivity but after he runs into Ezra, he slowly realizes the boy is force-sensitive. It’s a great setup for a series that had its ups and downs but, for the most part, created loved characters that will start to show up in live-action soon. Besides Kanan and Ezra, Rebels also introduced some of the most popular non-Jedi characters in canon: Hera Syndulla, a Twi’lek from an influential family on Ryloth who is also one of the best pilots in Star Wars, Sabine Wren, and Mandalorian and former Imperial who is one of the best weapons engineers in Star Wars and Chopper, one of the biggest jerks (for a droid) in Star Wars. Also, this is the first appearance of a Lasat with Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, who is a former General of a planet, Lasan, that was destroyed by the Galactic Empire and species was pushed to near extinction. All voice actors are excellent, especially Taylor Gray as Ezra, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan, and Steve Blum’s Zeb who had to find the right amalgamation of British accents to perfect the Lasat. Spark of Rebellion also introduces an Imperial who is not a one-dimensional, Imperial talking point in Agent Kallus, brilliantly voiced by David Oyelowo.
It takes place in familiar territory, the time during Galactic Imperial reign but with characters, we have never met (of course familiar ones do make an appearance through the series) but in this film, we only briefly see Darth Vader in the beginning. If you want to get into learning about Rebels characters, you can also read the Kanan: The Last Padawan comic but that is through the perspective of Kanan Jarrus, where Spark of Rebellion is through the perspective of Ezra.
These are all compelling storylines and each character goes through their own arc through the four seasons but if you have not watched Rebels and have been hearing rumors about characters you have no idea who they are, Spark of Rebellion might be a good download if you don’t want to dive too deep.
If this pique’s your interest, feel free to watch the trailer below. You can watch this on Disney+, purchase on digital platforms like Amazon and iTunes or purchase the DVD from any major retail seller.