[SPOILERS for Star Wars Rebels season 2 ahead.]
Star Wars returns to the big screen this December with the arrival of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film set not too far ahead of the events in Episode IV - A New Hope. However, a few months before then, the beloved franchise will be back on the small screen with season 3 of Star Wars Rebels: an animated TV show that, like Rogue One, takes place not too long before characters such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo joined the battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire.
Rogue One takes place at a darker time in the history of the Star Wars universe and will adopt the feel of a gritty war film, to better reflect that. Things are going to be getting darker and more dangerous on Rebels season 3 too, as series protagonist Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) is now older and more battered following the events of the season 2 finale - as is Ezra's (for now, blinded) master, Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.). Ezra and Kanan's lives aren't going to be getting any easier either, as the Empire steps up its game up and brings in its most brilliant military strategist, Grand Admiral Thrawn, to deal with the Lothal-based rebels.
Thrawn, who is voiced by Lars Mikkelsen (brother of Rogue One actor Mads Mikkelsen), isn't the only enemy that the heroes from Star Wars Rebels must deal with during season 3. Rebels season 2 incorporated (Darth) Maul back into the mix too - and the former Sith Lord is perhaps more dangerous than ever he was before, now that he owes an allegiance to no one but himself.
Disney XD (via MSW) has now released official descriptions for Ezra, Thrawn and Maul in Rebels season 3 too, bringing viewers up to speed on where the characters are at (mentally, that is) when the show's third season begins. You can read through those descriptions, below:
Ezra Bridger - Ezra's strength in the Force continues to grow, but so does his recklessness. After the confrontation with Darth Vader on Malachor, Ezra secretly worries if he is strong enough to defeat the dark side. Now 17 years old, he becomes more daring as the rebel missions become more dangerous. He is rising in status in the Rebellion, and gaining more responsibility.
Grand Admiral Thrawn - A methodical, tactical genius, Grand Admiral Thrawn is summoned by Governor Pryce to bring an end to the growing rebel threat. Thrawn is coldly analytical and values information above everything else. The only officer in the Imperial fleet of Chiss descent, Thrawn earned his position through decisive victories where he used his brilliant mind to outmaneuver his enemies.
Maul - Now freed from the dark depths of Malachor, Maul is running amuck in the galaxy. Driven by a decades-long thirst for vengeance that risks clouding his sanity, the restless former Sith Lord hopes to heal old wounds by completing a task he should have done years ago. Though Maul has found the galaxy has changed much during his exile, the dark side trickster knows where a few secrets are buried.
It makes sense that Ezra would be a couple years older in Star Wars Rebels season 3, in keeping with everything that has happened on the show and the real-time that has passed since season 1 debuted. Many Rebels fans have taken extra notice of Ezra's age change this season as a direct result of his new "grown-up" haircut especially. Season 2 of Rebels wrapped on a note foreshadowing that Ezra's efforts "to defeat the dark side" (as the official description puts it) will prove even more difficult than he might be expecting, too.
Speaking of Rebels characters whose futures are clouded in doubt: Rebels fans who are unfamiliar with everything that happened to Maul (Sam Witwer) following his "resurrection" in the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars TV show (also co-run by Dave Filoni, like Rebels) will find the character to be a much-changed fellow compared to the silent Sith Lord introduced in Episode I - The Phantom Menace. One also wonders what the task is that Maul "should have done years ago" that he's now on a quest to finish and possibly wants Ezra to help him accomplish at last.
Does it have to do with an old enemy of his from the days of the Clone Wars? There is a certain old Jedi Knight whom Maul has a bone to pick with, just hanging around in the deserts of Tatooine around the time of Rebels, after all. Such a (final?) showdown between Maul and his old enemy, Obi-Wan Kenobi, may be too much of a fan-service scenario for the Rebels showrunners to go that route, but it's a possibility nonetheless.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 premieres on Disney XD on September 24th, 2016 at 8:30 pm EST.
Source: Disney XD [via MSW]