If I haven’t raved enough about the new DisneyXD series, Star Wars Rebels, prepare yourself for a little more awesomeness. This is one of the only animated shows that I have truly enjoyed in quite some time – something that both my kids and I can watch and get into, I’m in!
Meet Ezra, The Street-Smart Hero (voiced by Taylor Gray)
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Ezra, the Street-Smart Hero on Star Wars Video
Meet Zeb, The Muscle (voiced by Steve Blum)
Zeb, the Muscle on Star Wars Video
These two characters have a really great, and really interesting dynamic on the show. I had a chance to sit down with the two actors who are the voices of Ezra and Zeb, Taylor Gray and Steve Blum, and they were so fun to talk to!
Taylor Gray and Steve Blum on being Star Wars fans
What drew you guys to the film?
Taylor Gray: I love it. I think it’s so cool, my favorite part about it is all the action. I think that that’s so fun. I think kids are gonna enjoy, all the characters and their multiple layers and how they run around firing off blasters and taking down troopers. I think it’s all a lot of fun. It’s action along with a lot of nice dialogue.
Steve Blum: I was drawn when I was a kid when I first saw it. I was seventeen. I was fresh out of high school, and I went to the premiere in 1977, and I was one of those kids in the theatre whose head snapped back when the imperial star destroyer comes across the screen and the whole theatre rumbled. So, I get to relive this on a cellular level. It activates all of those memories from that time and when I was graduating high school, I was one of those apathetic youth and I didn’t go to my own graduation.
And to get to go and see something like that that was brand new. It was stuff that we hadn’t seen before. It woke up something in me and kind of gave me a new hope. But to get to work on something like that now where it’s, we’re bringing this to a whole new generation. It’s really exciting for me, and I’m a dad. And so I, I like working on quality programming that’s, safe for kids and it’s really got a great underlying message. It does offer a notion that there’s something bigger than we are and that we can strive to be better than we are and, and that a small group of people can be just as powerful as a large army against injustice.
Taylor Gray: And a little bit of the force.
Steve Blum: And a little bit of the force, yes.
Q: Were you a Star Wars fan prior to this?
Taylor Gray: Yeah. I hadn’t seen all the Star Wars movies. I had seen, I had seen 4, 5 and 6. It’s a nice joke with us, because we have some people in our cast, Vanessa and Freddy and then Dave as well who know more about Star Wars than anything I’ve ever met. They know things that I think aren’t even in Star Wars. And Steve knows more than I do as well, but it’s been fun because it’s cool to be a fan. I’ve now caught up and understood why everyone loves it so much.
I remember being in school when I was little, and every other kid had either a Star Wars shirt on or a lunch pail or a back pack. And it all makes sense why it’s so appealing, but it’s really cool. The best part of it is talking to fans of Star Wars and hearing their sentiments and why it’s so special to them, because everyone has their own connection to the Star Wars story. So it’s been really cool coming up through all of it.
On Embracing Star Wars fandom
Q: How have you embraced the hardcore Star Wars fans?
Taylor Gray: I think it’s awesome. I had no clue that there, we went out to, the first little taste of it we got was they sent us this thing called Star Wars Weekends in, ah, in Florida. And I had no idea what to expect. I was like oh, it will be fun to like hang out with a couple people who like Star Wars and go on some rides. There were like 60 thousand people who all had Star Wars shirts or full on costumes, wardrobe, outfits, everything and, and light sabers. And just seeing that, I realized oh, wow, we’re in something much bigger than I thought.And it’s, it’s been so much fun and they’re saying there’s so much more to look forward to, and I can’t wait.
Steve Blum: Yeah, I’ve been doing the convention circuit for the last 10 years for my other work for my other work and going to that weekend in particular seemed, you know, there was 20, 30 thousand people on the parade route, and they put us in convertibles and we’re waited on. It’s great, and I’m thinking the show hasn’t come out. Nobody’s gonna know who we are, and they’re chanting our names, you know. It’s my name. This guy had researched and knew everything that we did and people were bringing stuff up to me from my whole career. It was, in was amazing, and seeing the families, too.
There was this one family where there was a grandma in a wheelchair in her 90’s, and the way down to like a 2-year-old, and there are like 50 of them and they’re all together cheering for us as we’re coming out of the parade route, and they’re in first position right there, and they’re everywhere in the park. . . There’s all the signs and, and they had us take a family photo.
Taylor Gray: They all had code names. They were, there was Red Leader. They, they knew what they were doing. Yeah and it’s so fun.
Steve Blum: Yes. It’s been awesome. It’s a whole different level of fandom too and so show-specific. It’s just amazing to me that after all these years that the fandom is stronger now than it’s ever been. It’s incredible.
Star Wars Rebels on DisneyXD
If you haven’t seen the premiere of Star Wars Rebels yet, be sure to catch up on the action as an amazing episode 2 is airing tonight! Check out this extended trailer to get yourself caught up on the action, then tune in to DisneyXD every Monday at 9:00 pm ET to catch the new episodes! Don’t forget, the Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion DVD is also available to purchase in stores and online!
Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.