StarWars.com has posted the second part of their interview with “Star Wars Rebels” Executive Producer Simon Kinberg, where he discusses writing some of key scenes from the “Spark of Rebellion” premiere. Here’s a portion of the interview:
StarWars.com: I’d like to walk through the episode in detail. The first thing that really struck me was the opening shot, with the Star Destroyer passing over Ezra. I saw it as a great visual callback to the beginning of A New Hope, but it makes it much more personal and shows that the Empire has arrived at this planet and has brought tyranny with it. How did you come up with that opening?
Simon Kinberg: Well, you interpreted it absolutely correctly. It is absolutely a callback, a homage to A New Hope, and it is an attempt to, in some ways, ground that image even more in character, and to create a sort of intimacy to go with the epic nature of the shot. But in my memory, it’s not a shot I came to on my own. I think when I wrote my original draft of the script, they were two separate things. There was a shot of a kid, being Ezra, alone on the balcony of this abandoned communication tower where he lives, looking out at the city. And then you see the Destroyers over Lothal [Capital City] to indicate to the audience A) what time period we’re in in the Star Wars world, and B) that, like you say, it’s a world oppressed and a time of tyranny. I believe it was [executive producer] Dave Filoni, as he does very often, who took ideas that were maybe separate or not fully formed, and found a way to dramatize them visually. This is the first time I’ve worked in animation; this is the first time I’ve ever really worked in TV. So I’ve had to have a very steep learning curve about ways of telling stories, because it’s very different than telling a two-hour feature live action. One of the many things I’ve learned from Dave is how to tell the most story in the least amount of shots, and how to tell things even more visually than I do in live action. That’s an example of one where Dave pushed those shots together and created something. You know, we would have the same information if they were separate. But the idea combining these things, it’s not just about information or the efficiency of storytelling, but it’s also about a feeling. I think it’s so evocative of what this kid is feeling in this moment, because it’s also this sense of he’s a little kid against this massive Empire. You get how small that little kid is, standing up on his tower, alone, looking like he’s a dot against this massive landscape, and then with this thing overhead. You get, “How is that kid, by himself, going to somehow lead to a day when those ships can be destroyed?”
StarWars.com: And you understand his attitude of, “Why would anyone fight back? You can’t.”
Simon Kinberg: Totally, totally. One of the things we tried to do with the show, and not in a heavy-handed way, is we wanted it to feel relevant. George [Lucas] has, so brilliantly, made [Star Wars] relevant to the politics and the reality of the moment. So, it’s a galaxy far, far away, but it resembles ours in some ways.
One of the things we hope that people take from the show, especially the next generation, is that you can make a difference. If you really believe in yourself and trust other people around you and question things, you can make a difference. Part of what’s so fun about the show is that you know eventually the Rebels are going to win. I liken it to watching the five farmers that sat in a farmhouse, talking for the first time about the American Revolution. How could a bunch of farmers take on the biggest empire in the world that’s across an ocean? How can we take the power back? It would have seemed almost science fiction to imagine that they could, and yet it was their belief and willingness to sacrifice and trust each other that enabled them to do it. But yeah, you should feel that sense of, “I’m just a little speck in the universe until people treat me differently.”
You can check out the full interview over at StarWars.com, and be sure to check back for the final part of the interview later this week.