As Freddie Prinze Jr. walks over to my table, he's already preoccupied — for some reason — about cool things to say before you ice someone onscreen. "The best line ever before you kill somebody is from 'They Live' — Rowdy Roddy Piper, he walks in the bank with the shotgun and says, 'I've come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum,'" he insists. "That's better than, 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.' That's the most epic line in the history of film, and it's from a camp sci-fi movie!"
What does any of this have to do with "Star Wars Rebels," the new animated series that marks Disney's first foray into the franchise since acquiring LucasFilm? I have no idea. And it only gets weirder from there. We met to talk, ostensibly, about "Star Wars Rebels" and Star Wars in general. "Star Wars is f---ing intergalactic. You can't find a franchise bigger," Prinze offers. "Batman can't beat a Jedi. He's just got a utility belt. Superman ain't doing s--- to a Jedi — it's a Jedi! And Superman will tell you he can't do it. It's a Jedi, there's a reason they're the dopest." It's probably best to just get out of his way and let Mr. Prinze Jr. express himself in his own word.
What's it's like to play the first new Jedi in a long time:
A lot of pressure. Everybody [in the cast] yesterday was like, 'Yeah, I'm not feeling any pressure.' I was like, man, I guess they didn't play lightsabers when they was kids, man. I feel it, you know what I mean? He's a Jedi, but he's untrained and he's cocky. An example would be, like, if you're dealing with stormtroopers, he's going to talk some trash because they're done. It's like, someone who knows jujitsu and a guy at a bar wants to start a fight with him. The jujitsu guy is like, "Dude." All these guys like, "I'm a black belt in tai kwon do!" A blue belt in jujitsu is going to kill you! Choke you out and take a picture of it and you can't even stop it. He's going to hold you in an arm lock, take out his phone and photo you — I'll show you a picture of my friend doing this — and literally you can't help it. You just have to take it. And that's what stormtroopers have to do, so he talks some trash.
His lifelong history with the franchise:
We always played lightsabers. The scar on my chin is from bending an aluminum flagpole back and forth until it snapped. My buddy Chris was Vader, I was Luke, I slid down a slide to get away from him, the flagpole hit first, knocked a chunk of my chin out. My mom freaked out, took me to the doctor, I had to get stitches, looked like I had a goatee at 8 years old. For real.
That pesky extended universe:
I haven't read the books. Mainly because they weren't exact. They got a lot of liberty, and I'm more of a purest. I like things the way I like them, you know what I mean? I like my video games to have the boss at the end of it, and when it doesn't? You've failed.
How often people ask him about "Wing Commander":
Never. I think people try to forget about it. (laughs) Although years ago I was at Comic-Con for, I think, the first "Scooby-Doo," a long time ago, and somebody came up to me with a Christopher Blair action figure, and I didn't even know they made them! It was in the box, it had my face on it! I go, "They made these?" And he goes, "Yeah, but I don't know how many they made." And I was like, "Aw, dude! You only came to see the movie because the 'Phantom Menace' trailer was attached to our movie. That's the only reason you went to see 'Wing Commander' was to see that trailer." (laughs)
Here's why "Star Wars Rebels" is great. Almost every other movie is like, "This is black and this is white," and the independent films are like, "Here's gray." Star Wars goes, "This is black, this is white, and your lead? Has a giant splash of red all over him." He has a huge red target on him and is basically the most wanted man in the galaxy. And they just eliminate the gray area completely. You hear this so much, it's the generation of "zero accountability," right? People apologize on Twitter for stuff they say on Twitter. We're just ignorant at this point. And accountability is gone, it's literally gone … . I always get sidetracked and talk about stupid morality stuff. I don't even know where I'm going now. What were we talking about, damn it?