Star Wars continues to pump out stories on all fronts. The Force Awakens is out on digital and Blu-Ray, Rogue One is on its way (check out the new trailer!), Episode VIII production is in full swing, comics and novels are hitting the shelves on a nearly weekly basis, and Rebels just wrapped up a brilliant second season.
The Star Wars universe is continuing to grow, and that means new canon is being established. There are new ships, species, historical events, characters, and revelations about the Force on a nearly weekly basis, any of which could change the way we see past events, or even influence the future of Star Wars storytelling.
With the end of season 2 of Rebels, there have been some major new additions, so here’s our round-up of 24 Things Added to Star Wars Canon in Rebels Season 2.
The history of stormtroopers has always been an issue of debate in Star Wars continuity. Initially introduced as straightforward foot soldiers of the Empire, it was later revealed that stormtroopers were originally clones that fought alongside the Jedi, and had latent programming to wipe out the Jedi Order with the execution of Order 66.
By the time of the original trilogy there are still some clones in the ranks of stormtroopers, although most of the soldiers have been replaced with conscripts. But not all clones serve the will of the empire. Captain Rex, Captain Gregor, and Commander Wolffe were each able to successfully circumvent the programming that would trigger Order 66, and eventually retired from the Empire, living together on the planet Seelos.
Upon meeting the crew of the Ghost, Captain Rex joins up with the fledgling Rebel Alliance, lending his veteran experience and knowledge of Imperial protocols to the the cause. His ultimate fate hasn’t been revealed, but showrunner Dave Filoni has acknowledged the character’s strikingly similar appearance to a Rebel commando seen on Endor during Return of the Jedi.
When all the old Star Wars Expanded Universe was clarified as non-canon material under the Legends banner, many fans bemoaned the perceived loss of years of world-building they’d come to consider a part of mainline continuity. Not all is lost, though. Several key elements of Star Wars Legends have been brought back into the fold, and Rebels is one of the more significant players in that effort.
One of several Legends elements reintroduced in season 2 was the Interdictor Cruiser. Interdictor Cruisers bear a similar shape to the classic Imperial Class Star Destroyer, but include four bulbous gravity well projectors on the two aft quadrants. These function as high powered tractor beams, serving to enforce Imperial blockades with the ability to snatch passing ships right out of hyperspace.
While the canon book Tarkin did include a brief cameo featuring ships with a similar technology, Rebels pulled the ship wholesale as it appears in Legends books and games.
The main driving plot point point of Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced a map of the known Star Wars galaxy. The map in The Force Awakens is incomplete (per the plot), but outside of the search for Luke, it leaves the incomplete star map as a fairly ambiguous concept. Star Wars Rebels digs in a bit deeper, though.
Space exploration is complicated. Planets are far apart, necessitating hyperspace travel, but ships can’t simply be pointed at the desired destination and sent into hyperspace, as space, especially uncharted space, is full of hazards. Thus, most interstellar travel occurs via established hyperspace routes. Once a safe route is established, the coordinates can be used by anyone that has a copy of said map. Google isn’t sending automated ships around the galaxy to build routes, so many of these maps are traded and cobbled together in lieu of some sort of master map.
So, while it may be possible to locate individual planets and systems on a map, identifying routes between them is the real key. The Empire and the Old Republic obviously had their own more comprehensive maps full of Hyperspace routes, but since the Empire wasn’t exactly known for it’s transparency, it’s not like every ship has the same comprehensive map to reference.
The Star Wars prequels introduced an established Jedi Order headquartered on Coruscant, and The Clone Wars added more detail and layers to that order. In The Clone Wars, we see a lot more nuance to the hierarchy, including the introduction of Temple Guards - Knights whose role is to, well, guard the temple.
On the flip side, Star Wars Rebels introduced the dark side Inquisitors, force wielding Vader minions tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi. The Grand Inquisitor was the main antagonist for most of season 1, meeting his fate vs Kanan in orbit above Mustafar.
Although the Grand Inquisitor is dead, season 2 (along with some extrapolation from showrunner, Dave Filoni) sheds some more light on the Grand Inquisitor’s backstory, revealing that he was a former Jedi Temple Guard. The Jedi Order he protected was severely flawed, and his journey to the dark side began upon hearing Bariss Offee’s condemnation of the Jedi during her trial for the bombing of the Jedi Temple in The Clone Wars.
Season 1 of Rebels (as well as the book A New Dawn and comic Kanan: The Last Padawan) introduced fans to Kanan, the cowboy Jedi. Kanan was a Padawan during Order 66, and went into hiding during the dark times, only to re-emerge when he takes Ezra Bridger on as his own Padawan. Due to the fact that Kanan never finished his own training, he has doubt in himself as a Jedi, and in his ability to be Ezra’s master.
Rebels season 2 gives him that confidence when he’s in the Jedi Temple on Lothal, where the specter of a Jedi Temple Guard (the one that’s revealed to be the Grand Inquisitor) knights him as a proper Jedi.
The exact logistics are hazy (was that a force ghost? Did the force itself knight Kanan? Was it all just a vision to give confidence to Kanan? Does it even matter if he’s “officially” a Knight, since there’s no Jedi Order?), but what is clear is Kanan now sees himself as a proper Jedi, and has the confidence to fully accept his role as Ezra’s master.
Star Wars doesn’t always delve into the what and the how of the science part of science fiction, and people don’t always react well when it does (cough, midi-chlorians), but such insight can add some interesting flavor to the galaxy far far away. Such is the case with the Purrgil.
The Purrgil are a species of giant space squid whales that roam through deep space, and are often considered to be a pest due to their occasional disruption of starship traffic. At least Hera considers them pests when the Ghost crew encounters them as they seek out a new source of fuel.
During this encounter, Ezra is able to commune with one of the Purrgil through the Force, discovering that they actually breathe in clouzon-36 - the same fuel used by most starships - giving the beasts the ability to naturally jump into hyperspace as they travel from star to star.
Though not a very impactful plot point in the larger Star Wars universe, knowing that an early civilization must have first studied the Purrgil to obtain the ability to jump to hyperspace adds some more color to a tapestry already rich with lore.
Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan - Ahsoka Tano - makes a reappearance after disappearing from Star Wars continuity since the season 5 finale of The Clone Wars animated series, where she walked away from the Jedi Order.
Season 2 of Rebels gives us an older, wiser Ahsoka, who is no longer a member of the Jedi Order, but still wields the force, and carries two white bladed lightsabers - the first extended exposure of an unaffiliated light side force user in current canon.
On the surface, Ahsoka may not be distinguishable from any Jedi, showing that the dark side vs light side debate focused on so much in the rest of the saga may be a little more nuanced than the struggle of Jedi against Sith.
The Clone Wars was originally intended to chronicle the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but its run got cut short when the show was canceled after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Just because the show is no longer airing doesn’t mean those stories will never see the light of day, though. Some have already gotten adapted through other mediums, such as the Dark Horse comic Son of Dathomir, or the novel Dark Disciple. One such story has yet to be told, but the event was given a name in Rebels: The Siege of Mandalore.
Very few details have been given, but the Siege of Mandalore appears to be the penultimate battle of the Clone Wars, obviously occurring at Mandalore, and it appears Anakin was there with Captain Rex and the 501st, and Ahsoka returned to fight alongside them. It’s also highly possible Maul had an involvement as well, considering he still had the loyal following of the Mandalorian group Death Watch at the time.
The Battle of Mandalore happens toward the end of Clone Wars, and is the last time Ahsoka sees Anakin before he becomes Darth Vader. Ahsoka said the last time she saw him, he was running off to save Chancellor Palpatine from General Grevious, which sounds a lot like the events in the opening act of Revenge of the Sith.
Hopefully this gets adapted (maybe an Anthology?) in the near future!
The X-Wing might be one of the most featured fighters in the Star Wars saga, but they have yet to make an appearance in Star Wars Rebels. So far, the Rebellion is relying on a few squadrons of A-wing fighters, and a single B-wing. The B-wing doesn’t make its first cinematic appearance until Return of the Jedi, but the origins of the B-wing fighter actually occur in Rebels, placing the origin of the fighter before the events of A New Hope.
The crew of the Ghost, along with Bail Organa’s Rebel cell, are attempting to provide relief aid to the enslave people of Ibaar, but an impenetrable imperial blockade is making it impossible to get the supplies to the surface. After suffering heavy losses, Hera Syndulla leads a mission to find a Mon Calamari mechanic, Quarrie (whose name is aptly derived from famous Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie), and his rumored new “blockade buster.”
Upon her arrival, the blockade buster is revealed to be a just a small fighter, but it packs quite a punch. Quarrie calls the ship the “Blade Wing,” but it ends up being known by the classic B-Wing moniker.
The classic ship may have gotten an introduction years (and several cinematic episodes) prior to its on-screen reveal, but it’s important to note that this version was merely a prototype. Quarrie joined the Rebellion to assist in finding a way to mass produce his Blade Wing Blockade Buster, obviously finding success some time before the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.
The Mandalorians (specifically, Death Watch) were a force to be reckoned with in The Clone Wars, yet the only sign of their existence during the time of the original trilogy was Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor. Aside from a few offhand references to the Siege of Mandalore, it’s not clear exactly what happened to them, but there are still Mandalorians out there.
One such group is known as “The Protectors,” serving as mercenaries, and mostly working for the Empire. Kanan tries to convince them to join the Rebellion so the Rebels can have safe passage past the planet Concord Dawn. The Protectors, being mercenaries, don’t have a political or moral stake in either the Empire or the Rebellion, but out of self interest decide to not get on the Empire’s bad side, and deny the Rebels passage.
After Kanan and Sabine (a Mandalorian herself) engaged the leader of The Protectors, Fenn Rau, in what Anakin Skywalker would refer to as “aggressive negotiations,” Fenn Rau was taken into Rebel custody, leaving instructions for his men to allow the Rebel fleet safe passage.
Episode IV famously opens with the Devastator overtaking Tantive IV, and Vader taking Princess Leia into custody, telling her “Don't act so surprised, Your Highness. You weren't on any mercy mission this time.” It turns out Leia had a long history of crying wolf with the Empire, and Darth Vader was done buying it. By this time, Leia had developed a reputation for providing relief aid, in which her ships and supplies would routinely get “stolen” by Rebels, which is precisely the scheme she’s trying to pull on Lothal in season 2.
In fact, Vader isn’t the first person to pick up on this pattern. During her relief trip to Lothal, the Imperial officer in charge, Lieutenant Lyste, informs her of plans for extra security due to the suspicious heists surrounding her travels. When the beefed up security still fails, and the Rebels steal all the ships and supplies, Leia even manages to blackmail Lyste to compensate Alderaan for the ships he allowed the Rebels to steal do to “inadequate security on Lothal.”
No wonder Vader has no more patience for her “mercy missions!”
The opening crawl of A New Hope states "It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.” With Rogue One coming this winter to tell the story of those Rebel spaceships striking from that hidden base, it’s important that Rebels maintains that continuity. That means we need Rebel spaceships (check) and a hidden Rebel base for them to strike from.
We already know that by the time of Episode IV the Rebels have had at least 2 hidden bases - Dantooine and Yavin IV - and now Rebels has them establishing a third (the first of the three bases built) on the planet Atollon. Whether the “secret base” in the opening crawl of A New Hope refers to Dantooine, Yavin IV, Atollon, or elsewhere remains to be seen, but the the Rebels are clearly on their way to winning their first victory against the Galactic Empire.
The Death Star may not have become fully operational until the events of A New Hope, but the construction of the battle station began 18 years earlier in orbit over Geonosis, with Admiral Tarkin overseeing the project.
When the crew of the Ghost scouts out the orbit of Geonosis, however, there’s no sign of the Death Star. There’s construction equipment (and Inquisitors), but the Empire has thoroughly covered its tracks. Including the removal of any potential eye-witnesses. That’s right. The Geonosians are gone, likely exterminated by the Empire. There are no signs of life anywhere on the planet.
While it’s not likely that many Star Wars fans will shed a tear over the Genosian Genoside, It does show that the Empire was wiping out entire species long before its battle station was operational.
In the Expanded Universe lore established through the Knights of the Old Republic II game, Malachor V was the site of a massive battle during the Jedi civil war, taking place thousands of years before the Star Wars prequels, resulting in the death of hundreds (or thousands) of Jedi and Mandalorians.
Just how much of this story is going to remain the same in new canon has yet to be spelled out, but the Rebels finale establishes that Malachor is the site of an ancient Sith temple, as well as the location of a massive battle, resulting in massive loss of life. The battle at Malachor diverges from the Legends version in that it is a conflict between the Jedi and Sith, and doesn’t involve a Jedi civil war or Mandalorians, but the basics of the event are still in place, and definitely serve as a great hat tip to a fan favorite game.
The appearance of Kylo Ren’s crossguard lightsaber in the first trailer for The Force Awakens caused quite an uproar, and fans were divided about it for months. Not only had such a blade never appeared in the Star Wars movies before, but some people weren’t convinced that it was even a practical design. Now that the movie is out, those complaints seem to have died down a bit, only for it to be revealed that Ren’s was not the first crossguard lightsaber to exist.
While scouting the legendary battlefield of Malachor, Ezra picks up an ancient green bladed crossguard lightsaber, suggesting the design has also been used by both dark and light side force users. There’s not much known about that era in current canon, but it definitely appears that the crossguard might have been a more common design in the days before the Republic. Hopefully this is an area of the timeline that continues to get fleshed out in Star Wars mythology.
Darth Maul met his apparent death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace, only to reappear years later, thirsty for revenge. He trains an apprentice, and even acquires control over Mandalore before Sheev Palpatine shows up, killing Maul’s apprentice and capturing Maul. He quickly escapes Palpatine’s prison, only to disappear from Star Wars storytelling for several years, finally reappearing in the final episodes of Rebels season 2.
At this point, Maul (now "just Maul") is pretty bitter against everyone (as if he wasn’t before). He’s amassed power for himself on several different occasions, but it’s always been taken from him, leaving him with nothing. He enters the show, apparently stranded on Malachor, seeking a means to destroy the Sith when he encounters the crew of the Ghost. Things go south and Vader shows up, so he obtains a TIE fighter from one of the dispatched Inquisitors, and is set loose on the Galaxy once more, likely to have additional impact in an upcoming story (whether told through Rebels, or otherwise).
In the same way that a light side force user isn’t necessarily a Jedi, a dark side Force user isn’t necessarily a Sith. Both orders are dogmatic and have a set of rules, or codes. In the classic Expanded Universe, the Sith Code was:
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.Through passion, I gain strength.Through strength, I gain power.Through power, I gain victory.Through victory, my chains are broken.The Force shall free me.
Although not yet cited in full (or credited as the Sith Code), Darth Maul has recited several lines of the code on different occasions. In The Clone Wars, he references it to Savage Oppress and now in Rebels, he tells Ezra “your passions give you strength, and through strength you gain power. You have see it. You feel it. You must break your chains.”
Who knows if the Sith code will ever be explicitly spelled out, but it’s definitely exciting to see bits and pieces show up organically in the meantime.
Holocrons aren’t an explicitly stated part of Star Wars lore in the Star Wars films, and were actually originally introduced via the Expanded Universe, but they finally entered the main continuity in The Clone Wars, and have been relevant through several new canon books, comics, and now Star Wars Rebels.
The Jedi and Sith mirror each other in many ways, but not all. The Sith, for example, don’t become Force ghosts upon death. The Rebels finale adds even more similarities through the introduction of a Sith holocrons.
In their quest to stop Vader and the Inquisitors, Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka set out to find the knowledge needed to combat the Sith. This journey leads them to Malachor, Maul, a Sith temple, and a Sith holocron. How this ancient artifact will factor into the future of the show isn’t yet spelled out, but now that it has been introduced, we can likely anticipate a good amount of Sith lore to be laid out in season 3.
Part of Maul’s plan on Malachor included the activation of a Sith weapon, which appears to have been the Sith temple itself. The activation was never completed, so it’s not entirely clear what the repercussions of activating the weapon would have been, but a beam shooting into the sky does suggest there could be some potential interplanetary destruction occurring, should it ever be fully activated.
The Sith temple, being a superweapon, is an obvious reminder of other super weapons, such as the Death Stars or the Starkiller Base, adding to other elements in new canon where Sheev Palpatine, the Empire, and subsequently the First Order are seeking out and researching dark side powers as inspiration for new strategies and technology.
Canonical Darth Vader stories have so far covered two areas of life after Anakin. We’ve seen the early years, where he’s still learning to purge himself of his Jedi training and memories of Padme, and the later years, where those memories are brought back to the forefront after the discovery of Luke. Neither version of Vader (minus what we see in A New Hope) presents Vader in his prime.
Rebels shows us Vader at his peak. He’s over a decade and a half removed from Padme and his child's (fake) death, the fall of the Jedi, and his duel with Obi-Wan. This Vader is cold. This Vader is brutal. This Vader is a sight to behold. Vader is used sparingly in season 2, but for good reason: he's OP. Kanan and Ezra briefly dueled him in one of the first episodes, and he walked all over them. They only barely escaped. Every time Vader comes on screen in Rebels, his presence is felt, and you know he's not afraid of killing whoever he faces.
With rumors that Darth Vader will get a big screen reprisal in Rogue One this December, the Vader in Star Wars Rebels definitely provides a good reason to be excited.
At this point in Star Wars Rebels, we’ve seen 4 Inquisitors: the Grand Inquisitor, the Fifth Brother, the Seventh Sister, and the Eighth Brother, all of which are dead. It’s not clear how many there are in total, but considering the naming scheme, there are a likely a minimum of 4 remaining unaccounted, assuming that numbers aren’t gendered, and the Eighth Brother is the highest number.
It’s highly possible the other Inquisitors existed, but have already been killed by Maul, remaining Jedi, or even a disappointed Vader prior at this point, but just because all the Inquisitors we’ve seen on screen have been killed off doesn’t mean there aren’t any more lurking in the shadows.
Fans were perplexed when the The Clone Wars movie (which was technically the first 3 episodes of the show) introduced Ahsoka Tano as Anakin’s Padawan, considering she never gets mentioned in the films. She was not immediately loved, but as the show went on and fans began to fall in love with her, frustration began to be replaced by dread. This character is going to die. If Ahsoka Tano is Anakin’s Padawan in between Episides II and III, then she has to get killed off, right?
Instead, she was written out. She left the Jedi order, posing another question: If she wasn’t a Jedi at the time of Order 66, then that means she’s alive after Anakin becomes Vader. Considering she never pops up in the original trilogy, did that mean she died before then? The dread over her inevitable death increased as many fans realized she was going to fight Vader.
When Ahsoka finally returns to the screen in the Rebels season 1 finale, this fear is all but confirmed, making season 2 a story dominated by the question over when Ahsoka will face her former master. It finally happened in the last episode, in what could be one of the most emotional scenes in the entire Star Wars saga, only it lacked the definitive resolution fans expected.
Vader obviously survived the fight, but Ahsoka’s fate wasn’t so explicitly established. It appears that she also survived, but her resolution is still far more ambiguous. Showrunner - and Ahsoka creator - Dave Filoni, said that there are likely more Ahsoka stories to tell (just probably not in Rebels), and the ending was intentionally left open to interpretation, but with the timeline running out before the events of the original trilogy, there’s a lot of Ahsoka questions remaining. Prepare the fan theories!
Kanan, the cowboy Jedi, is blind. Maul causes damage to his eyes during their duel, leaving him to end the season wearing a blindfold. Considering this is Star Wars, there’s no knowing how permanent of an injury his loss of vision will be, as they could replace his eyes with cybernetic implants, or give him some kind of a visor to restore vision.
If he does stay blind, though, that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to still see. This could just be an opportunity for him to form a closer bond to the Force. One of the first examples of the Force shown in Star Wars was Luke’s training on the Millennium Falcon, when he had to deflect the blasts from the remote while wearing the blast shield over his eyes.
Kanan is no stranger to such training, either. The comic Kanan: The Last Padawan actually shows his Master, Depa Billaba, training young Jedi in lightsaber combat without the use of their eyes. Kanan obviously has some practice in that technique, as he’s able to quickly defeat Maul once he finds his focus. The idea of a blind Kanan Jedi sage warrior in season 3 is definitely intriguing.
Ezra has been flirting with the dark side since season 1. He’s emotional and he can let his passions rule him. He has the best of intentions, but he’s headed down a questionable path. Kanan is warned by the specter of the Jedi Temple Guard in the temple on Lothal that Ezra feels the pull of the dark side and could become a servant of evil.
The scales are really tipped when Maul briefly takes Ezra under his wing. Ezra ultimately rejects Maul to side with his friends, but he’s already tasted the dark side at this point. The final shot of the season is red-eyed Ezra accessing the Sith holocron, where he’s certainly not going to find any teaching leading him down a lighter path.
Making matters even more complicated, all accounts suggest the Ghost crew (at least Kanan and Ezra) are long gone by the time of the original trilogy. Something big is going to happen to these characters, and Ezra convening with a Sith holocron is going to leave the third (and possibly final) season of Rebels a lot to resolve.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any fan theories about any of what we saw this season? How do you think Rebels will lead into Rogue One and A New Hope? Let us hear about it in the comments!