‘Star Wars’ is an inescapable part of the pop cultural landscape. Of course, while the franchise’s most obvious legacy is on the silver screen, it has more recently carved out a place for itself on television. This began in earnest with ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars‘, which ran from 2008 to 2014 before climbing to new heights with ‘Star Wars: Rebels‘, which recently concluded its epic four season run.
At the recent Great Philadelphia Comic Con, we were lucky enough to speak with ‘Rebels’ star Taylor Gray – the voice of series lead Ezra Bridger. In the course of our conversation, we discussed Gray’s personal history with ‘Star Wars’, his favorite storylines from the series, Ezra’s future, and more.
Let’s go back to the beginning. It’s hard to find anyone these days who hasn’t at least heard of ‘Star Wars’. So what was your experience with it before you were cast on ‘Rebels’?
I didn’t know ‘Star Wars’ as well as I do now, that’s for sure. There are a lot of fans who know more about it than I do. But I’ve quickly learned the ropes by being thrown into it. Baptism by fire, really. It’s been so fun, and you realize you see it everywhere. I saw it on lunchpails and t-shirts growing up all the time, it’s kind of just commonplace. As you said, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t know what ‘Star Wars’ is. Worldwide as well.
So when you got the word that you’d been cast, what was your reaction? What went through your head?
Immediately nervous. And I don’t usually get to nervous on jobs, but… I mean, it’s ‘Star Wars’, so you’re like “I hope I can live up to what this franchise is and create a role that people will care about.” So I was nervous but, I was also incredibly excited.
I think it’s definitely fair to say you achieved the goal of getting people to care about Ezra.
Yeah, it’s been amazing! I think some people were hesitant at the beginning of it. I know that that makes sense. I was naturally, like “I hope the show does well. I hope people like it.” And it’s amazing to see where it’s come now, and talking to fans and hearing their sentiments, it’s wonderful.
Over the course of the series, Ezra really grew as a character. What would you think is the biggest difference – particularly in terms of your portrayal – between Ezra at the start and Ezra at the end?
He grows up. He grows up and he becomes a Jedi, you know what I mean? He started, he was a young kid. He had these abilities, but it wasn’t obvious what he was. So seeing him get his bearings and become the formidable Jedi that he is. Also new responsibilities. I mean, he encountered Maul, Vader… Those are really big people in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Arguably the toughest villain there is in cinema, with Darth Vader, and it was cool to grow up as a Jedi.
Is there an episode or storyline that you’re especially proud of?
I really liked the Maul end of season two storyline. I liked when Ezra was toying with the dark side, where you didn’t know which way he was going to go. And also the last season I thought was amazing. I’ve always liked the Bendu stuff when he’s really in touch with nature. I think it’s just a cool take on the Force.
Now that Rebels has ended, will we be seeing more of Ezra in the near future?
Yeah, I hope so! Well, he’s alive, we know that. And he’s got to pop up somewhere. You have a Jedi that strong…
And lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
Yeah. I’m on a show called ‘In The Vault’. It’s on the Verizon go90 streaming service. We’re to shoot our second season for that. I just did a new animated show. We can’t talk about it yet, but that’ll be coming up in the next month, I think, an announcement. And then also I just did a virtual reality video game that’ll be coming out in the next couple months.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more from the Great Philadelphia Comic Con in the coming days, and of course for news and commentary on upcoming ‘Star Wars’ film and television projects as it becomes available!