When chatting with Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, we prodded about the possible continuity challenges the animated series is already facing - given that it features Jedi Knights and other major characters who do not appear in the movies, and who are specifically mentioned as people who do not exist in that era.
While Rebels focuses on a specific team of freedom fighters - just one of many growing Rebellion cells - the series doesn't necessarily need to cross paths with the other teams of Rebels showcased in the upcoming Gareth Edwards film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the original Star Wars movie it precedes, A New Hope. Does Star Wars Rebels need to conclude before or during the story of Rogue One given its place in the timeline?
According to Filoni, not really. A story following the characters of Phoenix Squadron could skip ahead since the Empire is scattered across the galaxy and battling many little Rebellions.
Dave Filoni: Well it’s a choice, right? It absolutely could. There would be nothing wrong with that if we chose that that was important for us to tell the story. We have surmised, over the years, that the Rebellion isn’t technically over until Return of the Jedi and even then there was some additional fighting that lead up to Jakku. So when is the ultimate victory that would mean Hera and company are free of the fight? Well, it doesn’t seem to be for a long time. So it’s not impossible and there are probably a lot of stories, I’m just gonna try and tell the most important ones for them, what their saga is, and probably not every saga ends on the same day.
I love to give a lot of Tolkien references but Faramir is kind of doing his thing, Frodo is doing his thing, Aragorn is doing his thing, everybody’s got their different movements. If you really study, Elrond was doing his own thing, Galadriel was doing her own thing, in the Iron Hills they were doing their own thing and it’s amazing how he orchestrated all that. So even bits that weren’t necessarily in the books, he knew what was going on. And when you take on mass continuity like this, that’s what you’re really getting at. You have to understand the world and all the moving parts of it. And I think the challenge is you want each story to be original and exciting.
So you say, how many battles can we do? Well, as long as what’s motivating it…like a lightsaber battle, right? A lightsaber fight to me, and I’ve done so many of them in Clone Wars, yes they’re interesting. I love them. But, ultimately, it’s a lot of sword swinging. We see that a lot in movies. What made the Vader and Ahsoka fight work was what leads up to it and the result of it. That makes you remember that fight. Everything that lead up to Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting Darth Vader put you on the edge of your seat. Is the choreography of that what we expect out of a movie today? Probably not. But it’s an amazingly emotional moment and probably one of the fights you remember the most. So that’s what I look for in the fights.
I’ve got guys on set that can do amazing sword fights. It’s my job to make sure I give them an emotional reason for those things to happen. So that’s part of the story telling process.
If there's a story to tell with these characters, that requires the Rebels characters to take part in a specific battle, that could happen whenever but as discussed in the other portion of the interview linked below, Filoni and the Star Wars Rebels creative team have an end point in mind for its protagonists so we don't expect Rebels and its Jedi characters to continue past the film that launched the franchise.
Instead, we're thinking the team may work on another series in the future, one that takes place in a wholly different part of the timeline. What do you want to see from Star Wars on TV and the future of Rebels? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Star Wars Rebels season 3 will air on Disney XD in fall 2016.