[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Star Wars Rebels ahead!]
All weekend long, Star Wars Celebration in Europe has been drawing back the curtain, revealing what we can expect next from Disney and Lucasfilm's ever-growing Star Wars universe. From Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, they released a behind the scenes sizzle reel online, while those in attendance had their first look at the film's next trailer. Rogue One's director, Gareth Edwards, also divulged new information about Darth Vader's role in the film and explained how a new planet introduced in Rogue One is connected to The Force.
But of all the breaking news, it's been what's upcoming in Star Wars Rebels season 3 that's been receiving the most attention. The animated series' panel was held earlier today, during which we learned several things about the new season, including that fans may not have seen the last of Ahsoka Tano and, even more surprisingly, that Grand Admiral Thrawn - a favorite Expanded Universe character who until this announcement was wiped from the new Star Wars canon - will join on the series.
It was in the Star Wars Rebels season 3 trailer, released earlier today, that we got our first look at Thrawn, but for fans of Rebels that trailer teased something even more exciting - Ezra's continued pull to the dark side. Ezra's growing connection to the dark side was introduced last season, before coming to head with the re-introduction of Darth Maul, who in Ezra saw a young mind he could twist and control. Their meeting still lingers with Ezra, and as we can see in this latest clip from Rebels' season 3 premiere, Darth Maul hasn't given up on turning the young Jedi into his newest apprentice.
Give the latest Star Wars Rebels season 3 clip a watch above.
Judging by the Star Wars Rebels season 3 trailer as well as this clip (and another released earlier), it seems safe to assume season 3 will pick up events a reasonable amount of time after the season 2 finale. Ezra not only looks older, sporting a new, cropped haircut, but he's also acting older, more world-weary and mature. When we first met Ezra in season 1 he had already grown up rather quickly, having been left on his own when his parents were captured by the Empire. Yet, he retained an optimism and was eager to help the rebellion when the opportunity arose.
But since meeting Maul in season 2 and learning from him how the dark side could grant him the power to avenge his family (doesn't that pitch sound awfully familiar?), Ezra has been slowly tapping into his dark side, something that's only being amplified by the Sith holocron he acquired on Malachor. Finding a way to contain his growing rage will certainly be a hurdle for Ezra this season, and having Maul around, sweetly calling him his apprentice and encouraging Ezra to release his anger, won't help in that matter.
What also won't help Ezra to retain balance is losing his Jedi Master, Kanan, who Maul inadvertently blinded when he tried to kill him in the season 2 finale. The above clip reveals Maul isn't keen on making that same mistake twice, tricking Kanan and sending him out an airlock. Not that it seems all that likely Maul will be successful in killing Kanan right off the bat, but it does seem certain season 3 will see Ezra faced with the choice of either remaining with Kanan, the rest of the Ghost crew, and the light side - or, choosing Maul as his new mentor and embracing the dark.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 premieres on Disney XD in fall 2016.