LucasFilm has already introduced fans to a number of Star Wars Rebels characters, including the villainous Inquisitor, new astro-mech droid Chopper, the Jedi cowboy Kanan and teenage con artist Ezra. Today, we have our first look at the "muscle" of the Rebel Alliance, Zeb, as introduced a new featurette. Executive producer Dave Filoni explains that this character, voiced by Steve Blum, is a well-trained honor guard who would be revered for his fighting skills on his home planet. Check out the first footage of Zeb below, alongside interviews with Dave Filoni and Steve Blum, who discuss Zeb's complex relationship with Ezra, then read on for more details about Zeb.
Zeb is part of a species that hasn't been seen before in the Star Wars universe. Fans will get to learn more about where Zeb comes from as the series progresses, but his origins are shrouded in secrecy for the time being.
When asked about how the Star Wars franchise influenced his upbringing, Steve Blum recalled his experience watching Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope for the first time in 1977.
"I remember going to see Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope in Westwood, CA just before I graduated high school in May of 1977. I was a rebellious (pun intended) teenager who was pretty difficult to impress, but when the massive Imperial Star Destroyer rumbled across the screen, it felt like every nerve ending in my body fired simultaneously. From that point on, I was hooked. 20 years later, I booked my first role on a Star Wars video game project (I believe it was X-Wing vs Tie Fighter) - and have worked on about a dozen SW games since. Every time, even after all these years, I get that intense sensory rush that brings me back to that first moment."
Even though he is a respected veteran in the voice acting community, with iconic roles ranging from Starscream in the current hit series Transformers: Prime to Spike in the cult classic Cowboy Bebop, Steve Blum revealed that playing Zeb is the role of a lifetime.
"I think I actually screamed when I was booked to play Zeb. It is literally a role of a lifetime. I've been lucky enough to play some major superhero roles in my career, but to be given the chance to play a new character in a Star Wars series? Brain explosion. As if working on a Star Wars series - in any capacity - wasn't enough to cause a grown man to squee, Zeb challenges every acting skill in my arsenal and beyond. His character design is amazing. I get to vocally take on ape-like physical power and abilities, a wicked sense of humor, intelligence and integrity, and so much more that I can't yet reveal. The attention to detail from the entire production team is inspiring. Every bit of minutia is carefully crafted to satisfy the most discerning fan of the franchise. I'm humbled and honored to be a part of the Rebels crew. I promise I will dig as deep as I'm allowed to give you guys the performance I would hope for as a fan. Get ready, guys. You're in for one helluva ride."
Star Wars Rebels debuts this summer with a TV movie on The Disney Channel, before transitioning to its regular network home on Disney XD this fall.