/Film Interview: Simon Kinberg Talks 'Star Wars Rebels' End Game, Story Group Interactions

If only I could've talked to Simon Kinberg two hours after I talked to him at Star Wars Celebration. I would have seen the season 2 premiere of Star Wars Rebels which answered many of the questions I asked. Even better, if I could've talked to him two weeks later, I could have asked the show's executive producer about his Fantastic Four director, Josh Trank, leaving the Star Wars universe. Alas, neither of those things happened.

What did happen was a quick, 1:1 chat minutes after seeing the Star Wars Rebels season 2 trailer at Celebration which raised a whole bunch of questions about the second season of the hit show. Basically, if you weren't at Celebration and only watched the trailer for Rebels Season 2, this is the perfect interview for you. Even if you were there though, there's good stuff in here.

Kinberg talked about working with the story group to bring original trilogy characters into the series, that shocking season one finale, how far he is into season two and the end game of the series. Below, read our latest Simon Kinberg Star Wars Rebels interview.

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(Note: That above photo is of Kinberg on the set of Fantastic Four. It's simply the most recent images we have of him. FF isn't mentioned in the interview.)

You guys are crazy about spoilers and then in that trailer we see Ezra and Kanan fight Darth Vader.

Yes.

How far into the season does that happen?

I don't know if I'm allowed to do that. I think we have to keep some things from being exposed.

You've got that in there, it's a big deal.

It's a big deal. Listen, I can tell you this because I'm still writing it, it's not the season finale. But it is a big moment in the second season. And a lot builds into it. And then a lot comes out of it.

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Okay fair enough. Now when thinking about Rebels in a larger sense, we always assume that A New Hope is the end. But only see Luke Skywalker's story there.

That's right.

There are a lot of X-Wings we don't see the pilots too.

Yeah.

Has there ever been a discussion of the animated characters, maybe not being seen in a live-action movie, but crossing over into those stories?

Absolutely there's been conversation about it. That this story could be a story that crosses over into other films, whether it's A New Hope or other movies. And that movies could potentially even enter into our timeline and our moment. It's a big galaxy. So, you know, things are happening all over the place that don't necessarily have to react to each other, the way we react to news around the world. We never meet the Chilean miners that are trapped in that mine. We know about it and the world reacts to it. So each of the different stories has to acknowledge the reality of what's ever happening in that moment in time.

But sure, and I think one of the things that's really fun about Rebels, and potentially some of the films, is there's a sort of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern version of these stories. I mean, the stories that George [Lucas] told were stories about specific characters in a massive galaxy. And so there are a lot of other characters' stories that he hasn't told.

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(NOTE: SPOILERS FOR REBELS SEASON 1)

As a fan of Rebels, I was frankly surprised to see the face of the franchise, the Inquisitor, die at the end of season 1. Was that always the plan? And what was it about that idea that made you want to do that?

It was always the plan. And there were a lot of things that were appealing to us about it. One is it's just, I think, neat for an audience to feel like they think they're sure of the rules of a show. That episode to episode you know who's gonna come back, to shock them in that way. We thought that there was something about that that was really powerful and made the stakes feel really real on both sides. And escalated the villainy because now that that's happened, as you see in the trailer, they're gonna step up the response.

And the other part of it is we were all very intrigued by this idea of building a character that you knew had a finite life expectancy on the show. That you knew you were gonna explore a certain amount per episode to get to the place where you're gonna dispatch that character. And I just thought for me, as a storyteller, I'd never really done that before. I guess I did that with villains in features but that's a two hour story whereas this is a much bigger story that we were telling over the span of a season. We all just got very excited about that.

We see a new character with red lightsabers. Is it safe to say that it is another Inquisitor or...?

I don't know that we're allowed to talk about who those other guys are. Unfortunately. There's some stuff that I just can't.

(END SPOILERS SEASON 1)

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You mentioned still writing the finale of the second season. How far into this production is the second season?

Yeah. It's pretty far in. You know, as we were finishing the animation, maybe about halfway through the first season, we were already breaking story and developing the scripts for the second season. So we were pretty far ahead in terms of development creatively. The animators are so fast at this. Asking me how far along we are is funny because there are so many iterations of each episode. So there's an animatic, there's a colored animatic, then it goes through these different stages.

In terms of completed episodes, I don't really know actually. Even in some ways I've lost track because I'm watching animatics all the time that to me are almost... I watch probably more animatics than I do final versions until they actually are released because by final version I don't have any input anymore, it's done. So we're pretty far in and script wise, which is my biggest domain... Like I say, I'm finishing the final episode.

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You talked a lot today about the working with the story group. And that seems like it's probably easy when you're creating characters like Kanan and Ezra, but when you bring in Yoda or you bring in Obi Wan Kenobi or Lando, that seems like it might be a little more complicated.

It's more complicated in that when you create a new character, you create their back story and you have total control. You can change anything as it fits the story, especially at the beginning of creating a character. Versus these characters that have a rich, dense history and mythology that you wanna be respectful to. But the people that are working on this show know a ton about Star Wars. So it's not like you have to educate them into who Lando Calrissian or Darth Vader is. They know the history and legacy as well as anyone. And we do have the secret weapon of Pablo Hidalgo, who's like, you know, knows more about Star Wars than anybody.

Yeah, he's the encyclopedia.

Yeah, I think he knows more about it than like the Wookieepedia. I think that guy has a strange sort of power to just retain all that information. Forgetting about even digesting it, which he does. Like just the retention of it is insane. So he's great.

There are moments when we definitely cross lines and Pablo will reel us back and say, "No, no, no." And then the story group there are sometimes where we cross lines that maybe will be in conflict with the movie development. And then they reel us back. So it's this sort of push and pull, but more often than not, the instincts of the writers on this particular show are kind of a shared instinct that line up with the movies as we know them.

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Dave [Filoni] said you don't know how long the show could go. And you said we don't know exactly how it's going to end. But can you expand on that? Do you guys have an idea of where you want these characters to end up? I mean, obviously the Jedi in particular are very important because we don't see many Jedi in the trilogy. But how developed is the end game?

It's developed from a character perspective. Meaning it's not developed from a story perspective. We know where we want the characters to end up, where we want them to mature into. Sort of how we want them to either continue or end their lives. Past the show. But we don't know what story's gonna take them there. We certainly haven't broken that yet 'cause we don't know truthfully how many seasons it will be. We will go as many seasons as it feels fresh to us and to an audience.

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 starts on June 20, and continues in the Fall.