[THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS REBELS.]
The last few weeks have been busy and turbulent ones for the most diehard fans of Star Wars, learning that not only had the cast of Episode VII been assembled, but that the massive expanded universe of Star Wars fiction had been ruled non-canonical. But it isn't just J.J. Abrams' film which represents the next dose of canon content: that also comes in the form of the animated series Star Wars Rebels. And according to recent reports, one beloved character from the original trilogy could be joining the cast.
To date, Disney has been fairly forthcoming with Rebels details. A series of videos have introduced fans to the cast, ranging from the 'cowboy Jedi' Kanan to the new Twi'lek pilot Hera, and the team's impressive muscle. While the Disney XD series will be taking hold of the torch passed by The Clone Wars, there was always a question of whether Rebels could succeed without any of the recognizable stars of the live-action films. So it may not be surprising that according to Star Wars fan site Jedi News, Disney has saved one of the most well-known cast members for last.
While covering the new Hasbro toy lines set to be released in the coming year, promotional artwork was released detailing the many hero and villain figures, children's masks, collectibles, and more. Among the confirmed characters and secondary figures that are all but expected for any Star Wars line was one item which caught their attention: 'Rebels Obi-Wan Kenobi.'
The fact that this incarnation is referred to as a 'Rebels' variant on the iconic Jedi is telling, even if the artwork or final designs may still simply be placeholders. But if Obi-Wan Kenobi will be appearing in Rebels in some capacity, it marks a brand new entry in the life story of one of Star Wars' central characters. And according to those now entrusted with the brand, it will be canon for future stories and spin-offs.
Adding even more enthusiasm to Kenobi's potential return is the fact that the series is being overseen by screenwriter Simon Kinberg, currently also at work on a spin-off Star Wars film. Kinberg has previously cited the original trilogy of films as his main inspiration for crafting the next era of the series, so it's entirely possible that Kenobi will be on hand simply to offer guidance (as he did to Luke Skywalker) to the show's new unorthodox Jedi, Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.).
As Rebels will be bridging the gap between the sudden rise of Emperor Palpatine seen in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the Imperial juggernaut seen in Episode IV: A New Hope, Kenobi's presence would offer something new for fans of both trilogies. As the first trailer for the series promised, the show will be set in a dark time of the fictional universe, as entire societies are being brought to their knees. It seems that while the show's stars will band together to oppose the Empire, they may begin the fight that will lead to the eventual Rebel Alliance.
Until now, movie fans were led to believe that Obi-Wan Kenobi simply allowed the Empire's conquest to proceed, relegating himself to the shadows and conceding the fight for the next decade. If Rebels seeks to tell a different story - one that shows Kenobi's efforts to stop Vader and Palpatine didn't begin and end with watching over Luke Skywalker - plenty of fans might get on board.
We'll keep you updated if confirmation of Kenobi is released, but for now, what do you make of this apparent reveal? Are you more interested in Rebels, or are you hoping to see something entirely new?
Star Wars Rebels premieres with a one-hour special this fall on Disney XD.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.