“Star Wars Rebels” animated series in production for Disney XD

It was announced today that production has begun on Star Wars Rebels, a new animated TV series based on the Star Wars franchise. It will be set between the events of Episodes III and IV, in an era spanning nearly two decades never before explored onscreen. The series takes place when the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights, as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.

Lucasfilm Animation will produce the series. “I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”

Star Wars Rebels is led by the creative team of screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class), who will be an executive producer on the series and write its first episode; Dave Filoni, who was the supervising director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008, will also executive produce, as will Greg Weisman, whose animation credits include Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.

Fans attending the Star Wars Celebration Europe in July will be the first to get an exclusive look at Star Wars Rebels. Disney Channel says casting will be announced at a later date.

Star Wars Rebels will premiere in 2014 with a one-hour special event telecast on Disney Channel, followed by a series on Disney XD channels worldwide.

The video clip below features a talk with Dave Filoni and gives a very brief initial insight into what sort of look and animation they may be going for with this new series. Filoni seems to be excited to be able to play around with more Episode IV type of visual elements than he was able to do on Clone Wars.