The past few years have been hectic for Star Wars fandom. In 2012, nobody expected new live-action movies to happen anytime soon, but the franchise was gaining a lot of steam on the animated front, and The Clone Wars was a big hit with fans in its fifth season. Then Disney acquired Lucasfilm. New live-action movies were suddenly on the way, but The Clone Wars was canceled, and news soon came that it was to be replaced by Star Wars Rebels, airing on Disney XD.
Part of the success seen by The Clone Wars came from the series getting darker and shaking off fan complaints that the series was too childish and targeting a younger audience. This concern was born anew with Rebels. While the start of the first season confirmed those fears for some, the show slowly gained more credibility as it went along, finding ways to explore some more mature areas, and hitting hard on some nostalgic high notes from the original trilogy.
Part of that successful nostalgia comes from the show’s ability to incorporate characters and events that are much closer to the events of A New Hope. Darth Vader, Wilhuff Tarkin, Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, and many other characters have made appearances or been heavily teased, but there’s a lot more to be drawn from that well. As Rebels gets closer and closer to the events of the incoming Rogue One spin-off movie - and thus the events of A New Hope - opportunities to tell the stories of some minor (and major) original trilogy characters are only increasing.
The series has done a great job so far of incorporating characters from the prequels, The Clone Wars, and the original trilogy, but here are 15 Original Trilogy Characters That Can Appear in Star Wars Rebels.
15 Anyone from Mos Eisley
If one scene epitomizes what made the world fall in love with Star Wars, it’s Mos Eisley Cantina. Obi-Wan and Luke may join up with Han Solo and Chewbacca, but it’s not hard to imagine them hiring any of the other patrons in that scene, as they’re almost all characters that are believably coming and going from various galactic adventures.
We’ve already seen some of those characters show up elsewhere - like Greedo in The Clone Wars - but with the crew of the Ghost traveling the galaxy in an effort to build the Rebel Alliance, it would only make sense for them to rub shoulders with others that don’t follow the rules of the Empire. Their dealings with the likes of Lando and Hondo are evidence to that. It would be great to see them work with someone like BoShek, have an unfortunate encounter with Dr. Evasan and Ponda Boba, or enter a cantina where The Figrin D’an Band is playing.
None of these characters are major names in this universe, so it would be little more than a fun nod and serve as connective tissue to the original trilogy. It’s a small bit of fun fan-service that would get a lot of appreciation from hardcore and casual fans alike.
14 Imperial Officers
If there’s one thing the original trilogy is flush with, it’s disposable imperial officers. Early on in A New Hope, we’re shown a conference room with the likes of General Tagge, Admiral Motti, and several others of no consequence like Generals Molock, Romodi, and Bast. Then there’s Admiral Ozzel and General Veers from Empire Strikes Back. A few of them have a line or two, but they’re all present during pivotal moments in the saga.
Many of these officers will probably not be as far along in their career, due to the placement of Rebels in the timeline, so we might see a Captain Ozzel or Major Veers. With so many small original trilogy officer parts to work with, they have a lot of flexibility here. Their appearances could be anywhere from small cameos to bigger arcs that show them promoted to the position they’re in at the time of the original trilogy. Either way, they’re already there waiting to be used.
13 Bounty Hunters
Another group of small original trilogy appearances deserving of additional appearances in animation is the bounty hunters we see on the star destroyer bridge when Darth Vader hires them to hunt down the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Some of them had brief appearances in The Clone Wars animated series, but there’s always an opportunity for a bounty hunter or two to share an on-screen encounter with our heroes.
The crew of the Ghost made a lot of enemies over the first two seasons, so it’s not unreasonable to expect one of the people they’ve crossed to hire a bounty hunter to get revenge. It could even be the Empire that hires them, establishing a working relationship in the past which would explain why those particular hunters are called on in Empire Strikes Back (something the Star Wars comics have already explained for Boba Fett). There’s always room for more bounty hunters in Star Wars.
12 Rebel Generals
Rebels is slowly bringing us closer and closer to the events of A New Hope, but the Rebel Alliance we know from the original trilogy isn’t fully formed yet and is instead a loose collection of Rebel cells. The end of the Rebels season 3 premiere includes a reference to General Dodonna, who leads the Rebel group based out of Yavin IV at the time of A New Hope. This means he probably also has ties to Rogue One, so it’d be great to see him show up, in addition to a few others, like Generals Rieekan and Crix Madine.
Rieekan and Madine don’t show up in the original trilogy until The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi respectively, but that would be a great tool for showing just how little of the Rebellion is actually glimpsed on Yavin IV in A New Hope. Showing more Rebel cells and Rebel leaders that aren’t seen until the latter half of the original trilogy would go a long way to showing the actual scale of the Rebel Alliance at the time.
11 Rebel Pilots
With Wedge Antilles slated to show up during season 3, it would make a lot of sense to see some appearances of more Rebel pilots, especially pilots that died taking on the Death Star, like Jek Porkins, Dex Tiree, Davish Krail, Dutch Vander, and Garven “Almost There” Dreis. Some of these pilots could show up in Rogue One, but they’re also a significant factor after the heist of several Y-Wings in the season premiere - Y-Wings that are likely eventually used in the Battle of Yavin.
Most of these pilots are a part of General Dodonna’s Rebel cell, so they likely won’t have a significant role in the events of season 3, but having them make an appearance would be a great nod to fans and serve as excellent connective tissue. Since Wedge is showing up, and he is eventually also a part of Dodonna’s cell, it could even be an imperative that they at least make a cameo, considering they’re all members of Red and Gold Squadron and fly with Wedge regularly.
10 Raymus Antilles
While Raymus may not be the biggest name in Star Wars, he has the honorable distinction of being the first on-screen kill by Darth Vader in A New Hope, after he's choked out by the Dark Lord of the Sith for refusing to rat out Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance. He doesn’t get much character development, so his character is mostly a blank slate, but C-3PO does mention that he are R2 were the property of Captain Antilles.
Raymus has a very brief appearance in Revenge of the Sith, and has already been mentioned on Rebels, so he’s just awaiting an animated appearance next. He's a Captain in Bail Organa's Rebel cell, so he's already close to some of the events of Rebels. With his involvement in the early days of the Alliance, and fearless end at the hands of one of the most powerful Sith of all time, there's no doubt Antilles has more stories worth telling, and Rebels is a great place to tell some of them.
Rebels has already worked in a couple appearances by the dashing cape-wearing, smooth-talking future administrator of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian, but his faithful cybernetically enhanced sidekick, Lobot, was nowhere to be seen. Lobot didn’t get a ton of screentime in The Empire Strikes Back, and didn’t appear at all in Return of the Jedi, but the recent Lando comic shows that the two characters have a strong history - and that Lando would eventually shoulders some of the responsibility for the events that lead to Lobot’s mind being largely taken over by his cybernetic construct.
Before his human consciousness was lost, Lobot’s implants were utilized to provide battlefield calculations for the Empire. His work for the Empire may or may not be ongoing at the time of season 3, but he was definitely still in full control of his mental faculties at the time, so he would have a bit more personality than he exhibits when he shows up in live-action a few years later. His relationship to Lando and his unique cybernetic enhancements would make for an exciting inclusion on the small screen.
8 Firmus Piett
As one of the few imperial officers to work closely with Vader and not suffer the wrath of his Force choke, Firmus Piett has been in the Empire for most of his life, coming up under the tutelage of Governor Wilhuff Tarkin for some time prior to serving as a Captain under Admiral Ozzel (before his sudden promotion after Ozzel failed Vader for the last time). He’s not the flashiest or most ruthless of Imperial Officers, but he’s the consummate professional who avoids ever failing to a severe enough degree to incur Vader’s wrath.
Season 3 may be all about Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet when it comes to Imperial antagonists, but Piett’s long history in the Empire, serving under Tarkin and Vader, and eventually commanding one of the Empire’s Super Star Destroyers (the Executor at the Battle of Endor) shows just how interesting his early career could be. A young Piett is more than deserving of an appearance in Rebels.
7 Wullf Yularen
During the Death Star conference room scene in A New Hope, many people have noticed a very distinguished looking officer with a white uniform, white hair, and a mustache. That man is Colonel Wullf Yularen, a high ranking officer in the Imperial Security Bureau. Yularen had a long history with the Empire, and also served as an Admiral during the Clone Wars - he’s also featured in a fair number of episodes of The Clone Wars animated series. It would be great to see his return to animation in Rebels.
While Yularen was an Admiral in the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars, he gave up that rank when he moved to the intelligence sector as a part of the ISB. Considering the ISB is already a big part of Rebels with Agent Kallus, and Director Krennic in Rogue One is also a high ranking officer in the ISB (sporting the same stark white uniform as Yularen in A New Hope), it seems the Imperial Security Bureau is a featured part of current storytelling canon, meaning Wullf Yularen is deserving of a prime spot in Rebels.
6 Jabba the Hutt
Ezra has been using the name “Jabba” as an alias for a while now, showing just how big of a figure Jabba the Hutt is. It might not have been apparent in Return of the Jedi when all we saw his palace on Tatooine. After events shown in The Clone Wars, it’s fairly clear that the Hutts are one of the largest organized forces outside of the Empire, possibly even competing with the Rebel Alliance in its early days.
Whether it involves the crew of the Ghost making a trip to Tatooine, or an encounter with him elsewhere (like he Hutt homeworld of Nal Hutta, or the Smuggler’s Moon of Nar Shadda), with so much galactic influence being held by the Hutts, especially Jabba, an appearance by the giant crime lord slug would be great for showing a more dynamic view of the powers at play in the galaxy during this time period.
5 Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma made her first appearance on screen in Return of the Jedi, but it’s since been revealed that she was a significant leader of the Rebellion since its inception (and a senator for the Old Republic before that). She’s also in Rogue One. Some of the new Star Wars books, like Lost Stars, even reveal that Mon Mothma was just as involved with the Rebellion as someone like Princess Leia was throughout the original trilogy, so it makes sense for her to make an appearance here.
If season 3 is about disparate Rebel cells finally coming together to begin to form the larger collective of the Rebel Alliance, then Mon Mothma’s role could potentially even be fairly significant, as she represents the political force behind the Rebellion, even serving as the first Chancellor after the Empire is defeated. Her inclusion would not only aid in forming tie-ins for the lead up to Rogue One, but also give a more detailed story of the forming of the Rebellion.
4 Gial Ackbar
Gial Ackbar is a hero of both the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. After leading the fight against the separatists on his home planet of Mon Cala, he joined a Rebel cell, eventually becoming one of the top brass in the Rebel Alliance. While he doesn’t appear on screen until Return of the Jedi, Ackbar was present at the Battle of Yavin and many other major conflicts through the rest of the war.
Rebels introduced one Mon Calamari character, Quarrie, the inventor of the B-Wing, in season 2, but the most well known Mon Calamari has yet to make an appearance. Now that the rebels have begun stealing ships in an attempt to form a larger and more diverse Rebel Navy, bringing Ackbar into the fold as a Rebel Admiral only makes sense. He’s the perfect person to help the Rebels build a navy respectable enough to take on the might of the Empire.
3 Nien Nunb
He’s another character with minimal screentime in the original trilogy, but much of the newer canon material has shown that Nien Nunb was a big player in the Rebel Alliance, and The Force Awakens also shows that he becomes a Resistance X-Wing pilot. As the copilot of the Millennium Falcon in the Battle of Endor, and an X-Wing pilot in the battle of Starkiller Base, his participation tally for galaxy-saving, superweapon-destroying battles is now at two (leaving him tied with legendary Alliance pilot, Wedge Antilles).
As a smuggler during the time of the Galactic Civil War, Nien filled a very similar role to that of Hera and the Ghost crew in the Alliance, so they could easily cross paths on a few occasions - or even team up for a mission or two. The placement of Rebels in the Star Wars timeline is perfect for an introduction to how Nien Nunb got involved with the Rebellion of the first place, and for a character as significant as he’s becoming, many fans would love to see him make an appearance.
2 Biggs Darklighter
This inclusion will heavily depend on how deep into the timeline Rebels goes, but Biggs Darklighter’s story got heavily cropped from the original theatrical release of A New Hope. Fortunately, Rebels is uniquely situated to bring much of that story back to the screen - just not the big screen.
After leaving Tatooine to join the Imperial Academy (a path Luke Skywalker intends to eventually follow), Biggs becomes disillusioned with the Empire and conspires to commit mutiny and join the Rebel Alliance. Ironically (or not), it appears that Wedge Antilles will have a similar induction into the Rebellion - suggesting Imperial recruits regularly turned on their superiors to join the Rebel Alliance. The only problem with Biggs’s story happening in Rebels is that it would have to happen in fairly close proximity to A New Hope, but with Rebels fast approaching that point in the timeline, it’s not unrealistic for the childhood friend of Luke Skywalker to pop up.
1 Boba Fett
Boba Fett may be one of the more popular characters in all of Star Wars, but very little storytelling has actually delved into the history of his character in current continuity. More of his background was planned for the later seasons of The Clone Wars, but that would never make it to the screen - along with some other major events - after the show was canceled at the end of the 5th season.
There’s a lot of things Boba Fett could be up to at this point. He’s likely near the peak of his career but hasn’t started working regularly with Darth Vader yet, so he could possibly even make his way to the show as a neutral party, depending on who he’s working for. The presence of Fett could also mean other bounty hunters, like Cad Bane - Fett’s mentor - to give us some more bounty hunter team up action similar to the bounty hunters arc in The Clone Wars.
Who’s your favorite on this list? Do you have any other favorite original trilogy characters you’d like to see show up on Rebels? Let us hear about it in the comments!