This article contains spoilers for both Rebels and Rogue One.
So far, I’ve only seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story once. I know I missed a lot of details, including several Star Wars Rebels easter eggs. Chopper at Yavin 4? The Ghost in the Rebel fleet? An announcement calling for “General Syndulla”? All these slipped right by me. I wonder whether this hidden trivia means we’ll see the Alliance’s attack on Scarif from the Ghost crew’s perspective before the series is over.
While I was wondering about other ways Rogue One connects, or could, with the ongoing animated series, Lucasfilm went and dropped a brand-new trailer for the back half of Rebels‘ third season, which premieres in a few short days (January 7) on Disney XD:
The trailer answers some of my questions – well, honestly, a lot of them! – but, as is Rebels’ way with me, raises some others. Here are six things I’m either looking forward to seeing or still hoping we’ll see as this year’s worth of rebellious adventures wraps up!
1) See More Saw!
One thing on the list is already guaranteed: More adventures with Saw Gerrera!
Since the Rogue One character originally debuted in The Clone Wars, it’s only fitting he return to animated form – older, more battle-scarred, but not yet the partly robotic man he is in the movie. (Unlike the other heavy breathing cyborg in Rogue One, fortunately, Gerrera is still more man than machine!)
In Rogue One, Rebel leaders call Saw an “extremist.” What will the Ghost gang think of him? I bet Zeb, and perhaps Sabine, will find him a kindred spirit. Kanan and Hera will be more guarded. Ezra will feel torn. We’ve seen his loyalty to the Rebellion’s ideals, but we’ve also seen a desire for decisive action lead him to behave rashly, as Saw often has.
Continuity demands Saw survive whatever exploits he faces in Rebels. The suspense will come in seeing how. Perhaps we’ll see the battle that led to his partial mechanization. To what lengths did Saw go so that he might live to fight another day?
2) Mandalorian Madness!
In the trailer, Ezra’s reaction to Sabine’s decision to let the Mandalorians know they’re coming lest they become targets is priceless, harkening back to his resigned declaration in “Imperial Super Commandos” that he just doesn’t get the whole Mandalorian thing! If this footage is any indication, Sabine is really going to come into her own as a character over the next few weeks. Her mastery of the dark saber looks as though it’ll play like a distaff Arthurian legend.
Of course, if you know your Arthurian legends, you know that wielding the special blade to gain allegiance happens at the beginning of the mythos, when everything is bright and full of promise. Arthurian legend doesn’t end well for anyone, least of all the leader who holds Excalibur. Will Sabine successfully bring the Mandalorians into the Alliance? (We didn’t see any Mandalorian rebels during any of the original trilogy, after all, did we?) Or is she headed for her own tragic last battle – perhaps without any hope of an Avalon from whence she can return as a “once and future queen”?
3) The Whills of the Force
Ears of Star Wars fans who know something of George Lucas’ original screenplay perked up when, in Rogue One, Chirrut Îmwe called out, “May the Force of others be with you,” and when Cassian told Jyn that Chirrut and his partner Baze Malbus were “Guardians of the Whills.” Apparently, the Lucasfilm story group has decided this old language will be ensconced in Star Wars canon as connected to a Force-related religious order.
Will Rebels give more information? We’ve already seen the series’ willingness to explore previously unknown or alternative aspects of the Force (in last season’s “Legends of the Lasat,” for example, and especially with the revelation of the Bendu this season). And, apparently like Chirrut, Kanan is physically blind but still sees clearly through the Force. The trailer also shows him mentoring Sabine in some abilities that, if not strictly connected to the Force, are at least Force-like.
I don’t want all the Force’s mysteries explained, but I’d enjoy learning more about the Guardians of the Whills – preferably through cameos from an animated Chirrut and Baze!
4) The Big Blue Baddie’s Plan Revealed!
Grand Admiral Thrawn hasn’t been the dominating, dreaded presence I thought he’d be in this season of Rebels. After proving a superb villain in “Hera’s Heroes,” he hasn’t really taken center stage again.
It’s time for Rebels to justify bringing Thrawn off the printed page of Timothy Zahn’s novels and onto the small screen. What’s that “experiment” he’s been running? What’s his connection to Commander Sato?
Maybe his story will take some new turns Rogue One makes possible. Might he meet Director Krennic or Governor Tarkin? Here’s a hypothetical that couldn’t arise in the “Legends” continuity: What would happen if Thrawn met Darth Vader?
I have faith in the Rebels creative team. When Thrawn finally shows his hand, I’m certain it will be not only memorable but also a game-changer for our rebel heroes. In the new trailer, after all, he crows about having discovered just how “meager” the Rebel Alliance’s defenses actually are, and he swears he’ll settle for nothing less than its “utter defeat.” Looks as though the resolution to the Grand Admiral’s patient plotting arrives sooner rather than later!
Even better: Mon Mothma will be there to see it! I’m thrilled Rogue One is apparently only the start of this character’s further development. It’s only fitting that one of the original trilogy’s few principal female characters other than Leia finally be given substantial attention.
5) Maul Done
Darth Maul’s storyline still stands in need of resolution, too. After the midseason finale, a trip to Tatooine seemed all but certain. Now, the midseason trailer has let it be known: Obi-Wan vs. Maul is once again on! (For the planet farthest from the bright center of the universe, that desert world sees an awful lot of action!)
I simply cannot wait to see this epic, (perhaps) season-ending lightsaber battle on the Jundland Wastes’ sands. Given A New Hope, the outcome can’t really be in doubt, at least as far as “old Ben” is concerned, but the duel will certainly be a thriller! And if the fight imperils Ezra, Kanan, or others from our band of rebels, who knows what unexpected dramatic, even dire, consequences it might have?
Back in October, blog visitor Sean Morton and I had a brief back-and-forth in the comments (on my review of “The Holocrons of Fate“) about whether Luke Skywalker could show up in Rebels. (We do read the comments, folks, so feel free to chime in!) Sean suggested Obi-Wan might show Kanan and Ezra the “new hope” he’s protecting from a distance.
I like Sean’s idea, but I’m not as convinced as he is that Luke’s actual presence in an episode is a canonical impossibility. Maybe he and Ezra could hang out together at Tosche Station? If Rogue One teaches us anything, it’s that we never know when a familiar face from the Star Wars saga might show up!
Speaking of which…
6) Bring Back Leia
I admit: The last item on my list may have been sparked more by Carrie Fisher’s sudden death than by rational reflection on where Rebels should go next. Nevertheless, we did first see Princess Leia in animated form during the show’s second season (“A Princess on Lothal”), and I think it would be nice to see her again, especially now that Rebels is drawing closer to the timeframe of Rogue One.
I saw Rogue One on the night of December 26. About 12 hours later, I heard Ms. Fisher had died. I’m so glad the last sight I’d had of her before the sad news broke was in Rogue One’s final frames, reminding her fellow freedom fighters, and all of us in the audience, about the importance of hope. I’d really like Leia to close out Rebels‘ third season on a similar note.
What are you looking for as Rebels wraps its third season? How do you think Rogue One will shape the series going forward? Let us know in the comments below!