It's weird to call them costumes because they're not really there, but the "costumes" coming our way in Star Wars Rebels season 2B (or 2.5 or whatever you wanna call it) are reminiscent of some early The Star Wars wardrobe designs by Ralph McQuarrie...
When I first saw Leia in the season two episode teaser, I was struck by how familiar the cat suit she was wearing seemed. Then the penny dropped and I realized I'd seen it before. Below is a very early Ralph McQuarrie concept for a Princess Leia costume that seems to have been adopted for the character's Star Wars Rebels debut.
This isn't all that surprising when you consider some of other Ralph McQuarrie tributes in Star Wars Rebels. We've seen droids that resemble the initial C-3PO concept, a chap that looks like Starkiller from The Star Wars, Zeb resembles early Chewbacca concept art, but most notable is Darth Vader's iconic appearance. Vader looks, more than any of the other characters, like his Ralph McQuarrie counterpart.
Which brings us to Anakin in the season 2B trailer.
Star Wars Rebels show runner Dave Filoni has said that the choice to keep the holocron Anakin we see in season 2, out of Jedi robes, was driven by budget concerns. Rendering flowing Jedi robes would be costly, and so Anakin wears a set of unusual blue fatigues. But have we seen this design before? Maybe.
Early RMQ designs for Luke had the character in a blue fatigue. Even the pose in this early concept is similar to Anakin in the Holocron shot.
In fact the design goes way back to the days of The Star Wars, and it's early production logo. One wonders what other classic designs we might see floating around in future Star Wars Rebels episodes.
Some have complained about the look of Yoda in this season. We see him in the trailer during a Force vision Ezra is having. The character of Yoda was one that went through countless redesigns, from the sublime to the ridiculous. At one point Yoda was a tiny garden gnome like thing. Another rendition had him looking like a long haired purple skinned elderly lady. The version we get here is much closer to the Kenner toy that was released for Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The colour of the skin, the eyes, the robe. It's all very much the little action figure. And this wouldn't be the first time the toys have influenced the look of Star Wars Rebels. The TIE Fighters in the show share more in common with the Kenner toy than with the movie version. Dave Filoni used the dimensions of the toy when designing the tv version of the vehicle, and they're all the better for it.
I suspect season 2B will become a treasure hunt for me as I seek out further references to early Ralph McQuarrie designs, or Kenner toy homages. Rest assured, I'll be mentioning them here when I find them...
Thank you for reading,