With the release of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer today, it's especially clear that the use of the dark side and the Star Wars aesthetic in the latest two episodes of Rebels jive especially well with the tone established in both the Original and Prequel trilogies. In the obvious sense, both are heavily based on Ralph McQuarrie concept art. But Rebels influenced my viewing of the teaser for The Force Awakens in other ways too.
In advance of its holiday hiatus ending Jan. 5, Rebels wrapped up
mid-season with two excellent episodes, reminiscent of "Rise of the Old
In Empire Day, we see the Empire that will later produce John Boyega's character. My review talks about the use of the Imperial characters, hopefully something we'll see some more of in the new movie. The interconnectedness of the franchise is also evident, as Rebels ties to the "Servants of the Empire: Edge of the Galaxy" novel, which is also linked to Boyega's stormtrooper via the focus on the Empire.
Gathering Forces was an excellent episode that gave Kanan and Ezra a close Master-Padawan relationship. The Inquisitor shows off his unique lightsaber design, something that, for me, softened the surprise of seeing the dark side character in The Force Awakens. Then there's the little orange droid motoring along. He shares some creamsicle coloring with Chopper, but hopefully has a better attitude.
There have been many rumors about how Rebels ties in to the new trilogy, and while I'm not caught up in chasing rumors, I'm curious to see which characters become the contact points that build the new expanded universe.