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'Star Wars Rebels' picked up for 2nd season before 1st season starts

'Star Wars Rebels' picked up for 2nd season before 1st season starts
Ezra, the hero of "Star Wars Rebels," with the ship dubbed Ghost in the background. (Lucasfilm)

In a sign that the Force is still with "Star Wars," Disney announced Thursday that it had picked up the new animated series "Star Wars Rebels" for a second season. That's a full day ahead of the show's premiere Friday.

"Rebels" is the first new "Star Wars" series to launch since Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012. Interest is very high in the series, which retains much of the key creative team behind Lucasfilm's last "Star Wars" animated series, "The Clone Wars."

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Set in the years before "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," the series follows a ragtag group of characters as they try to stay ahead of the expanding might of the Galactic Empire. As the series progresses, fans will see the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance, the group that eventually recruits Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to defeat the Empire once and for all in "Return of the Jedi."

The creative team has deliberately sought to evoke the spirit of adventure in the original trilogy of films by going back to the concept art for "Star Wars" and making use of John Williams' famous themes.

After the series premieres on the Disney Channel, the rest of its first season will be shown on Disney XD, as will the second season.

In a statement, Disney Channel President Gary Marsh said, "The global expectations for this series could not have been any higher. And I am proud to say that the team at Lucasfilm has delivered something that has surpassed even that incredibly high bar -- artistically and thematically."

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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