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Rebel Release Date, Cast And Plot - What We Know So Far

Rebel was one of five pilots that ABC picked up in September 2020 to go straight-to-series and start production as soon as COVID-19 made it safe to do so. The series, which was first announced in late 2019, comes from executive producer Krista Vernoff, who's the current showrunner for Grey's Anatomy and Station 19. The story is based on the life of Erin Brockovich, who was also the subject of the 2000 movie featuring Julia Roberts.

Although Rebel is ostensibly billed as a legal drama, Vernoff made it clear during a recent Television Critics Association presentation it's not going to be that — at least, not in the traditional sense. "It's sexy, it's family, it's friendship, it's all of the human interactions with a legal element," she said, per Deadline

The upcoming show includes the participation of Brockovich, who is listed as an executive producer. It started filming in December 2020 and is now ready for prime time — literally. Here's what you can expect from the show.

Does Rebel have a release date?

ABC ordered ten episodes of the drama, and it'll air on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. after Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy. Both of those shows will return from the winter hiatus with new episodes on March 11. Rebel has its series premiere on April 8, 2021. It'll displace A Million Little Things, which is also airing new episodes starting March 11 and will return to its Wednesday time slot at 10 p.m. once Rebel starts. 

The addition of Rebel to Thursdays makes the whole prime-time evening slate dedicated to one showrunner's projects. It shows a certain amount of faith in Vernoff's work, which has been in evidence ever since ABC Studios signed her to a multiyear deal in 2019 following her being hand-picked by Shonda Rhimes in 2017 to be showrunner for Grey's Anatomy.

What happens after that, schedule-wise, likely depends on how well the series does. Rebel will also be available outside the U.S. on the Disney+ streaming service starting in May. 

Who's in the cast of Rebel?

Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) plays the main character in Rebel, a blue-collar legal advocate named Annie "Rebel" Bellow, who works without a law degree for causes she believes in. Deadline reports that ABC was eager to have Sagal on the 2021 slate after her 2020 pilot, Nana, didn't get picked up, so they sent her all their hottest scripts and this was the series she picked.

The cast also includes Andy Garcia (Ocean's Eleven), John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), James Lesure (For Your Love), Lex Scott Davis (Training Day), Tamala Jones (Castle), Ariela Barer (Runaways), Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl), and Sam Palladio (Nashville).

Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica), Adam Arkin (Chicago Hope), Matthew Glave (The Wedding Singer), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Abigail Spencer (Timeless), MoMcRae, Daniella Garcia, and Jalen Thomas Brooks have been announced as recurring stars on the series as well, rounding out the cast.

What is the plot of Rebel?

According to ABC, the show focuses on Sagal's character. "She's a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost," the show's description says.

Inspired by Brockovich's life today, the series features John Corbett as Annie's husband Grady and Andy Garcia as her (often frustrated, it seems) legal associate, so it'll cover both her professional and personal life. Although there's not a lot of specific information about episodes out yet, media reports (such as Deadline's) say that Abigail Spencer plays Misha, a cardiothoracic surgeon who fears that she has inadvertently harmed patients by using the Stonemore Medical Corporation's heart valve. Variety also pointed out that Daniella Garcia plays a very pregnant woman who is afraid her mother will die as a result of a defective heart valve before the baby comes. As these characters are recurring, it sounds like this particular storyline could be an arc carried out over multiple episodes. 

The Stonemore situation is also prominently referenced in the series trailer, which shows Annie Bellow talking to a patient and promising action, confronting a Stonemore executive onstage, and being led away in handcuffs. It looks like there will be plenty of injustice for her to tackle during the course of the first season, when it arrives in just a few weeks.