2017 has been a good year for Lucasfilm, thanks to the continued popularity of the Rebels animated series on television and the massive success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters worldwide. The film has just become the second highest grossing Star Wars film of all time, and the Lucasfilm story group is keen to capitalize on that victory by making sure the fallen heroes of the film live on in other media. Thanks to a number of Rebels Easter eggs and cameos in Rogue One, we know that building a shared universe is a high priority for the people behind Star Wars. Luckily, that street goes both ways.
Like Clone Wars before it, Rebels has featured a number of cameos from Star Wars film characters in the past, often getting the original actors to provide their voice. The most notable example is James Earl Jones returning for a number of appearances over the years on Rebels as Darth Vader. One of the biggest ways that Rogue One connected to other media was by featuring Forrest Whitaker as rebellion leader Saw Gerrera. Though not originally voiced by Whitaker, Saw first appeared as a freedom fighter on Clone Wars. We've known for a little while now that Lucasfilm was planning for the character to circle back around to TV, as Whitaker will be voicing a slightly younger version of his Rogue One character for an arc on Rebels during the back half of the season.
Yesterday, the two-part midseason premiere, "The Ghosts of Geonosis," aired and picked up a story connected to the prequels and Clone Wars. In the episode, the Ghost crew investigate the home of the epic climax from Attack of the Clones and encounter Saw, still fighting for freedom against the forces of the Emperor. Thanks to the Rebels YouTube, we've got a clip of a conflict between our heroes and the seasoned veteran.
Though Rebels was initially much more kid-friendly than Clone Wars, it's slowly grown and matured, featuring some dark material ruminating on good versus evil and what it means to hold power. While we're often on the side of the Ghost crew, the burgeoning Rebel Alliance is still at war. Saw Gerrera offers us a counterpoint to the usual heroics of our protagonists by giving us a Rebel who's willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals. In Saw, we have an analog for the more extreme factions of freedom fighters, who are willing to use the same tactics as their enemy in order to achieve success.
The clip above gives us a hint of Saw's tactics, as he tortures Geonosian Klik Klak and opposes the Ghost crew. It will be interesting to see how the two sides reconcile their beliefs given the stark moral differences between them. If nothing else, it's nice to see Rebels continue to push the boundaries and show the compromises people have to make during war. Like Clone Wars and Rogue One, Rebels is built around the idea of a revolution, and the proceedings aren't always pretty.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 continues next Saturday, January 14th with “Warhead” @8:30pm EST on Disney XD.
Source: Rebels on YouTube