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‘Star Wars Rebels’ Creator Simon Kinberg Talks Classic Characters and Capturing the Tone of the Original Trilogy

Not only did Simon Kinberg write and produce the upcoming superhero spectacular, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Pastand its sequel ‘X-Men: Apocalypseand 2015′s ‘Fantastic Four‘ reboot — he’s also the creator and executive producer of ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ a new animated series that takes place between the events of ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope.’ (Kinberg is also involved in the development of the yet-to-be-announced ‘Star Wars‘ live action movies.)

Kinberg is currently promoting the aforementioned ‘Days of Future Past,’ but the subject of ‘Rebels’ did come up (okay, yes, because I asked about it) and Kinberg explains what it’s like to write for characters who appeared in the original trilogy (it’s rumored Lando Calrissian plays at least a small role) and threading the needle between the people who love the Original Trilogy and the people who love the prequels.

Is ‘Star Wars Rebels’ canon?

I’m so not allowed to say. I think they have announced that…

How does it work with already established characters from the movies? I interviewed Samuel L. Jackson and he was adamant that Mace Windu is still alive and could have landed on a ledge in ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ So, there you go, that’s how you can bring Mace Windu back.

[Laughs] I mean, listen, what we’ve done with X-Men and plenty other franchises have done: Dead doesn’t always necessarily mean dead forever.

I watched the trailer for ‘Rebels’ and got really excited to see an actual Stormtrooper. It’s been a long time.

[Laughs] Yeah.

But, where’s the line you want to draw in this series between the people who love the Original Trilogy and the younger people who grew up with the Prequel Trilogy? They are very different.

Yeah, they are very different. I have a sort of dual mind about ‘Rebels,’ which is, I approach it as someone who grew up and was transformed by the original movies — those original movies are the reason I wanted to work in movies. And I have a four- and eight-year-old son — two sons — who love the prequels. So, I really approach ‘Rebels’ with a respect for the prequels, but a personal affinity for the originals. And, you know, I don’t know how to define the tone. I think ‘Rebels’ will have its own tone as well. I can tell you — and you’ve seen the imagery — a lot of the art is inspired by and based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original art for the original films. So, we take a lot of our lead from the tone of the original films.

And, it was thought that Ben and Yoda were the only Jedi left. But there’s a Jedi named Kanan in ‘Rebels.’

Again, I can’t… well, yeah, there is a Jedi! You’ve seen that. I am literally so gunshy about the ‘Star Wars’ stuff.

I get that.

And here’s the thing, when I’m in the Final Draft document, writing episodes of ‘Rebels’ and I’m like scroll, scroll to where I write the character’s name — and if it’s any character like Stormtrooper or an original character, it’s like the biggest, weird, like giddy feeling I get of being able to write characters from or related to the original ‘Star Wars’ movies. It’s insane.

Mike Ryan is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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