‘Star Wars Rebels’ Gives Girls a New Kind of Role Model to Aspire to: Themselves

star wars rebels
Image source: Disney XD

I want my daughter to THRIVE! And the best way she can do that is to be herself. Pop culture has a way of shaping us in subtle ways and defines for us who we are supposed to be. But my daughter Emma is her own unique self. She loves mysteries, art, music, fashion, math, medicine, and law — and I love that about her. I love that she has diverse interests and I want to encourage her as she defines for herself the path that best suits her. I don’t want her to feel trapped by the weight of social expectations. So, I’m always on the lookout for great role models who will inspire her to find that path.

Who would have thought I would find that inspiration in Star Wars Rebels?

This animated show on Disney XD is completing its fourth, and sadly final, season this coming Monday. But it has been a blessing to us for being the kind of show that has characters you’d be happy for your kids to look up to. The characters exemplify the idea that you don’t have to be just one thing. You can be successful in life by being who you were created to be. As a dad, that means a lot to me.

star wars rebels
Image source: Craig Yoshihara

Emma naturally gravitated toward Hera, Sabine, and Ahsoka, the female characters on the show. What I loved about them is that they weren’t just stereotypes of what we often see in action-adventure shows. These women didn’t need rescuing. They weren’t sidekicks or helpless victims. They were more than capable all on their own.

Dave Filoni, the show’s Executive Producer, said he took a lot of inspiration from his wife. He would pick her brain about these characters and that would ultimately help to shape them.

“I think that collaboration has lent us to creating very dimensional, interesting characters that have a wide range of emotions and a wide range of experiences, and that’s what ultimately people are saying they want. They don’t just want a female character who is a typical male character but now a woman,” Filoni tells Babble. “[They] can be anything across the spectrum. That’s where we are trying to get with all this. Hera’s a very motherly character but she’s also a general. She’s also a leader. It’s playing the whole spectrum of characters and range of characters and Star Wars is a fantastic place to do it.”

These powerful women are such important characters for our young girls to see on their television screens.

star wars rebels
Image source: Craig Yoshihara

I know I’m not the only dad who was glad to find a show like Rebels where Emma and I could connect. Vanessa Marshall, who portrays Hera on the show, said, “I’ve heard from a lot of fathers that they love watching Rebels with their daughters … These dads have had their action figures for years and sort of put them away, now they’re taking them out again and they’re able to bond with their daughter.”

And is there anything better than that? I truly don’t think so.

Vanessa also said something about what makes Hera an inspiration to kids today that resonated with why I like the show so much. She noted, “You don’t have to be one way or another, you can live in shades of grey and excel in all areas, and Hera exemplifies that for them.”

As a father, this message is the end goal — helping Emma to understand that she can define herself and who she wants to be. Thanks to Star Wars Rebels, my daughter is able to recognize it’s OK to be unique and different.

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