[SPOILERS AHEAD for the Star Wars Rebels season one finale!]
Disney/Lucasfilm made the call to renew the Disney XD animated TV show Star Wars Rebels - which is part of the official Star Wars canon under the Mouse House's watch - for a second season, before its first season had even debuted. That turned out to be a smart move, as the well-received series has reached a sizable audience (including some 11 million kids aged 6-11, its target demographic) - starting off the new era of the inter-connected cosmic adventure franchise's existence on the right foot.
Rebels concludes its first season last night with the episode "Fire Across the Galaxy", as written and directed, respectively, by Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni: the pair who co-created the series with Carrie Beck. Shortly after the episode aired, Lucasfilm announced one intriguing new addition to the show's voice cast for season two: geek-favorite Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, who shall play a recurring role on the show as the adventures of the spaceship Ghost's crew (and their efforts to aid the rebellion against the Imperial Forces) continues.
Gellar's husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., voices Jedi Kanan Jarrus on Rebels, making the series a professional working reunion for the pair (who also costarred together in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies from the 2000s). Filoni discussed the casting announcement during a meeting at Lucasfilm's San Francisco headquarters for Disney Media Sales and Marketing's presentations, and issued the following statement (via press release):
“We’re thrilled to have Sarah Michelle Gellar on board for season two. She is a true ‘Star Wars Rebels’ fan and her passion undoubtedly comes through in the voice recording sessions.”
Rebels' voice cast already includes such recognizable names as David Oyelowo (Selma), who voices Imperial Agent Kallus, in addition to the main vocal cast - which is to say, Gellar's in good company. There's no mention yet of what character she will be voicing on the series - but, so far, the majority of players on Rebels have been new additions to the Star Wars universe, be they on the side of the budding Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire, or neither. So, there's a fair chance Gellar's voicing an all-new character too.
"Fire Across the Galaxy" included some big developments for the over-arching story threads on Rebels; that includes, the revelation that "Fulcrum" is none other than fan-favorite Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) - someone many Star Wars: Clone Wars TV show fans have been wondering about (specifically, what happened to her) since Rebels began its run. Ahsoka will be playing a "recurring" role on Rebels hereon forward, much like another familiar face who appeared in last night's episode (more on them in a moment).
This was not the first direct link drawn between the events in Rebels and Clone Wars, but it is one of the more intriguing developments, regarding what role Ahsoka will play in not just the show's future, but in other upcoming Star Wars installments - like the first spinoff film, which may take place around the same time as Rebels (a few years before Episode IV - A New Hope). There've already been rumors that one of the main characters on Rebels (such as Sabine) could make the jump to live-action form in the 2016 spinoff film - as the movie's plot may involve bounty hunters recruited by the Rebel Alliance to steal the original Death Star's plans.
The other big development on "Fire Across the Galaxy" was, of course, the death of the Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs), setting the stage for Darth Vader to become the Empire's #1 "agent" responsible for hunting down the Rebel forces. Indeed, the whole existence of the Inquisitor program has been a curiosity since Rebels began; if the rumor mill is to be believed, a similar character (or characters) may play a key role in the story for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.
And bear in mind, we have yet to learn how Gellar's character (be they good or evil) fits into all this. In other words: if you're interested in enjoying the full ongoing immersive experience offered by the Star Wars franchise, then you should keep tuning in to Rebels for season two - and on the off-chance you're reading this but haven't started watching Rebels yet, now's the time to begin playing catch-up.
Star Wars Rebels season two will begin airing on Disney XD later this year.