Part of the fun of Star Wars: Rebels these past three seasons has been the show's ability to expand the Star Wars universe with an entirely new cast of lead characters, even as the showrunners use it as a platform to reintroduce fan-favorites like Grand Admiral Thrawn into the canon. However, with the recent announcement that Season 4 will be the show's last, it remains to be seen how much Rebels will lead directly into the films before its grand finale hits the air.
Since the beginning, the rise of the Rebel Alliance has been a central focus on Rebels (naturally), allowing the show to fill a place in the timeline that was once earmarked for that long-discussed live-action Star Wars TV series that never happened. Thus far, Rebels has done a solid job filling in the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but since the show has previously flirted with narrative connections to Rogue One, it wouldn't exactly surprise viewers to see signs that Jyn Erso's adventure is on the horizon.
As it turns out, the show may very well brush right up against Rogue One before it says goodbye. IGN recently caught up with Rebels co-creator Dave Filoni about the evolution of the Rebel Alliance leading up to the era of the films and how the final season will build upon that. Here's what Filoni had to say about the show's potential to tie into the films:
Now that Rogue One is out, it opens up a lot of possibilities for us to tell these stories. We can go to Yavin now. We can start to deal with the way things worked out in the film and include ideas that are happening prior to that. The look of the background rebels really shifts to being more of the kind of drab military colors that you see in Rogue One. The Phoenix group of Rebel soldiers are kind of petering out.
So they’re redistributed into Mon Mothma’s group on Yavin and Dodonna’s group. You see a restructuring of certain cells, and certain cells get destroyed. And that’s true of the ships as well. So there’s lots of little, neat, detail level things that happen when our characters are heading into season 4 and are absorbed into the kind of pre-Rogue One era, which I thought they did beautifully in the film.
Those who have been following recent Rebels news may recall that Filoni previously confirmed that the memorable Rogue One battle sequences on Jedha and Scarif would not factor into the show, heavily indicating that its story would end before Jyn and company complete their mission. However, his words here promise viewers an interesting opportunity to continue to see how the Rebel Alliance changes by the time it launches a retrieval mission for the Death Star plans.
So, aside from some tantalizing teases about the subtle storytelling happening in the background of Rebels, we still have no clue how the show will end or what fate awaits popular characters like Ahsoka Tano. If there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that Rebels has a surprise or two in store for fans during its final run of episodes. Until then, all we can do is speculate on what the Ghost and its intrepid crew will face when the series returns.
Star Wars Rebels season 4 premieres later this year on Disney XD.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars Rebels release date: Oct 15, 2018