By Tim Molloy
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - If you can't wait until 2015 for J.J. Abrams' continuation of the "Star Wars" saga, the Disney Channel has something to hold you over: The new animated series "Star Wars Rebels" will debut late next year.
The series comes as Lucasfilm Animation winds down the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," which premiered in 2008. Simon Kinberg ("X-Men: First Class") will executive-produce and write the first episode of "Rebels," which will start in fall 2014 on the Disney Channel then be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.
The new toon, set in the two decades between "Star Wars" Episodes 3 and 4, finds the Empire hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a small band of rebels unites against it.
It will be produced by Lucasfilm and will feature many of the "Clone Wars" talents. Fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe will be the first to get an exclusive look at the new series. Casting will be announced later.
"I couldn't be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe," said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. "I think 'Star Wars Rebels' will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars."
Kinberg is joined as an executive producer by Dave Filoni, who served as supervising director of the animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," which debuted in 2008 and is winding down this year. Greg Weisman brings ("The Spectacular Spider-Man," "Gargoyles") is also executive producing.