Freddie follows voice of the Jedi

Published Oct 16, 2014


Freddie Prinze jr is back in the spotlight – to voice Kanan Jarrus, a renegade Jedi survivor of Order 66, in Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels. Debashine Thangevelo learnt more about his voice-over stint.

IT has been a while since Freddie Prinze jr last appeared in a movie or TV series – barring those cameos, of course. But he has admitted that fatherhood has been his biggest priority to date; more so as he grew up without a dad.

These days, he is gravitating towards voice-overs. And he has had some success with Shark Bait, Happily N’Ever After, Delgo and Mass Effect: Paragon Lost as well as Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time.

On being signed to voice Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels, which is based on George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise, Prinze recalls: “When I went in to audition for Star Wars Rebels, I didn’t know that it was a Star Wars project. I was told it was an animation called Wolf Pack, but I guessed it was a new Star Wars show as soon as I walked into the room.

“To be honest, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’m a huge fan of the Star Wars universe, so it’s incredible to be part of a show like this. I get goose bumps when I talk about it. That’s how much it means to me. It’s incredibly exciting.”

To contextualise the show for viewers, Star Wars Rebels is set five years before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and 14 years after the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Council in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In the animation, an oddball group of rebels join forces aboard the Ghost to fight against the ruling Empire.

Kanan Jarrus is at the helm of the series. A Jedi survivor of Order 66, he runs the crew of the Ghost. Sarcastic and somewhat distraught about the end of his former existence, he nonetheless commands authority as a leader.

Shedding more light on the narrative of the animation, Prinze reveals: “Our story starts at a time when the Empire has completely taken over, so it’s a time when you get to see how bad the Empire can be. You get to see the Empire taking land away from farmers. You get to see them taking produce away from farmers. You get to see them take money out of peoples’ pockets. You get to see them abusing authority.

“It’s a time when things are being taken away in the name of order, but there’s a small group of people who have the means and the skills to say: ‘Hell no!’ And they fight.

“It’s a very dangerous time for all Jedi. They are all in hiding, except for my character – and that’s going to make him a highly wanted man throughout the galaxy.

“Star Wars Rebels has something for everyone who watched the original trilogy. In fact, it will make you feel like you’re watching the original trilogy again. It triggers those feelings you felt when you saw the original movies.”

That he is a sci-fi addict feeds into Prinze’s passion to be a part of this animation.

“I love science-fiction. I’ve read just about every great sci-fi book out there. The first book I ever read was a sci-fi book. The last book I read was a sci-fi book. When I was a kid, I read Ender’s Game in a 23-hour session. I didn’t stop. It was the first book I ever sat and read, but I couldn’t stop reading it.

“My mother came into the room at 5am and she was furious with me. I remember her screaming: ‘Why are you still awake?’

“I had a tent over my bed. I zipped it up and read the book with a flashlight. I loved it.

“So they didn’t have to sell me hard on Star Wars. It’s a pleasure and a joy to be part of this project. I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more excited for everyone to finally see it.”

And little ones will enjoy the epic journey of the crew of star ship Ghost; it smacks of adventure and mayhem.

• Star Wars Rebels airs on Disney XD (DStv channel 304), Saturdays at 9.20am.

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