After an exciting new trailer for the back half of Star Wars Rebels season 2 was released by Disney XD and Lucasfilm last week, perhaps the most exciting and revealing trailer to date of any for anything related to Star Wars animation, fans began speculating on how season 2 will end, what season 3 (already confirmed) will be about, and how it can connect to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other upcoming films.
The teaser features a new Inquisitor, an old Sith warrior, familiar characters (Leia!) from the original trilogy and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and more, highlighted by the visual spectacle of an ancient Jedi Temple and a familiar-shaped lightsaber. But there's more to this teaser than meets the eye.
While Star Wars Rebels is primarily about the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance during the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it's also largely about the Force and what it means to be a Jedi. Much of the show has been dedicated to Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) teaching Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) to be a Jedi as they are hunted down by Sith Inquisitors, and now, Darth Vader as well. Joining the cause this season as a key organizer of the Rebellion is Star Wars: The Clone Wars fan-fave hero and fellow Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) who in the teaser is being setup for a major showdown with her old master, Anakin Skywalker.
Speaking with EW to explain the trailer and tease upcoming events in the series, Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni says the plan is to wrap up the storyline this season.
"Vader and The Emperor think that if they can get Ahsoka, she would be a key that leads them to other Jedi survivors. The Emperor has a most-wanted list. Yoda and Obi-Wan are right up there."
"I like a lightsaber fight like anybody, or a big action sequence like we’ve done in the past, but I always find that those have little meaning if you don’t have the emotions going into it to support it — you don’t have the tension and the stakes. There’s some really powerful scenes coming up for fans involving Ahsoka."
This is a very big, and potentially foreboding moment in Rebels since we know Ahsoka doesn't appear in the original trilogy. And if Star Wars Rebels season 2 is where her story truly ends, they're at least attempting to do right by fans in how Vader will be depicted during these sequences. Ahsoka will hear Anakin's voice, as he used to be pre-Vader, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actor Matt Lanter returns for these scenes. James Earl Jones of course, returns as the voice of true Darth Vader.
"It makes it actually very emotional since we loved working with Matt. So it was a fun day in the studio."
The final episodes of Star Wars Rebels season 2 will also delve more into the backstories of other key characters, including Zeb who may learn he's not the last of his species, the Lasat. Kanan's fortitude will be put to the test when facing Jedi Temple Guards, yellowish lightsaber wielding, white-and-grey-armored sentries who end up battling both the Rebels and the Sith Inquisitors which puts their loyalties in question. Filoni adds that this encounter "plays very strongly into Kanan’s character and who he is, and becomes an important moment for him."
Viewers will also see the return of the Twi'lek warrior Cham Syndulla from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the father of Hera (Vanessa Marshall), while Sabine (Tiya Sircar) will meet a pair of other Mandalorians which is setup for what Filoni teases will be new lore about the Mandalore.
"I think it opens up the door for more Mandalorian madness in the future."
The latest trailer also teased another new Inquisitor, this one a masked character who is shown in the trailer fighting alongside the Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) and Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar). His identity remains a mystery intentionally so it must connect to someone we know. Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will arrive in theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD on January 20th, 2016 at 9:00 pm EST.