Not only is Darth Vader on his way to Star Wars Rebels, but so are franchise icons Yoda and Leia Organa, further solidifying the animated series' place in the franchise's canon. When season 2 returns next week, fans can expect bigger battles, both on the ground with lightsabers and in the skies with more starships than ever, as the young Rebel Alliance grows in strength and the Empire tightens its grip on the remaining Jedi of the galaxy.
Star Wars Rebels takes place before the events of the original film, A New Hope, and explores the origins of the Rebellion and its connections to Alderaan's Organa family and what was once the Jedi Order. These connections are the focus of the remainder of the show's second season (season 3 is already confirmed too, by the way). Let's take a closer look.
EW just posted an exclusive teaser trailer for the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels season 2 that features some incredibly intriguing scenery and happenings. From a small army of lightsaber-wielding characters (really, how many Force users are active during this era?!) and a Sith master, to ancient Force-related artifacts and another crossguard lightsaber.
Fans won't have to wait long to learn more as Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD on January 20th, 2016 at 9:00 pm EST, but we have so many questions. First, the lightsabers.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, midway through third season, its lead characters received radical design changes which for Ahsoka Tano meant having now two lightsabers, one of them a shorter yellowish-green shoto. Outside of Mace Windu's (Samuel L. Jackson) purple lightsaber in the prequel trilogy, there haven't been many color deviations of lightsabers in the canonical stories. In Star Wars Rebels, we've already seen that Tano has had another weapon swap over the years, still wielding a pair of blades, but this time with different hilts and white-colored light.
The protagonist of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger, built his own lightsaber in the show that doubles as a blaster, further showcasing the TV team's willingness to deviate from what's in the movies and expand on the lore of the Jedi and Sith weapon. The Jedi-hunting Inquisitors for instance, use strange, gimmicky spinning double-bladed red lightsabers and now, another crossguard lightsaber will appear in the series too - timed to debut right after Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) similar weapon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Of course, from what we know about Kylo Ren - whose story takes place four decades after what we're now seeing in Star Wars Rebels - he hastily crafted his rugged lightsaber based on an ancient design. What we see Ezra wielding up top is nothing sloppily made. It's elegant in its hilt design, with clean blades emitting from its three emitters. We can assume it's not something Eza or his master Kanan Jarrus built, but something they found.
So not only is the ancient weapon a link between Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but so to are the hints of the old. We've already seen Ezra and Kanan explore an ancient Temple, and we know from the beginning of development Episode VII was always going to use MacGuffins to have its plot centered around locating Luke Skywalker and the ancient, original Jedi Temple.
But why? Is he in search of ancient artifacts? An explanation and fulfillment of the prophecy of the chosen one? Is the "Old Master" really Darth Maul and is he connected to the new antagonists behind the First Order and Knights of Ren that are being established in the new Star Wars trilogy? What is Ahsoka Tano referring to when stating that "there's always a bit if truth in legends"? Will Star Wars Rebels offer more connections to the new trilogy and this year's Star Wars: Rogue One movie which takes place during the same time period, also featuring the early Rebels?
Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will arrive in theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD on January 20th, 2016 at 9:00 pm EST.