Will the new Star Wars Rebels droid steal the hearts of R2-D2 fans everywhere? Lucasfilm has just released a brand-new, behind-the-scenes featurette that introduces the scrappy new "Chopper" character, with sneak peeks of even more production art from the highly anticipated animated series that will tide us over until Star Wars: Episode VII makes its way into theaters.
"If Artoo's your favorite dog," says Dave Filoni, executive producer of Star Wars Rebels, "Chopper is the cat." A lazy, cranky, but goodhearted astromech droid, Chopper is described as "an essential crew member of the Ghost, tasked with keeping the starship running and operable for its band of heroes. In reality, thanks to his many 'unique' upgrades and customizations, no other alien, human, or droid could handle the job."
Also known as C1-10P, Chopper's design takes its cues from early Ralph McQuarrie concept art for R2-D2, notably the expressive arms that fold out of his head. The mantra for Star Wars Rebels seems to be "retro" -- and very much in keeping with the look of the legendary McQuarrie's many iconic Star Wars designs.
Mining the talents of many of the artists who worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels takes place four years prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, a time in which the Emperor's rule is secure and the Empire is seeking to expand its power to Outer Rim territories.