When Star Wars Rebels first hit airwaves on Disney XD in 2014, it was more than just the first Disney-based Star Wars property released. It was an introduction to a new collective universe set in a galaxy far, far away. With the original Star Wars canon obliterated by the “mouse house,” Rebels was the new beginning capable of connecting the original trilogy to future, filmic, Star Wars installments.
Now entering its third season (coming this fall), the connection between Rebels and other Star Wars properties has been steadily growing. Season one saw original characters like Lando Calrissian, C-3PO and R2-D2 drop by without any real consequences to the new canon timeline. Showrunners stepped up their efforts in season two, letting the crew of The Ghost join up with the Rebel Alliance in their battle with the Empire. It also firmly established a connection to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, by bringing in familiar faces Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, space-pirate Hondo and even Darth Maul. Oh, did I forget to mention Darth Vader??? Now, Rebels is going for broke in their next go-round.
In a conversation with Moviefone, Rebels Producer and Creator Simon Kinberg talked about the future impact the show could have on Star Wars canon.
“What’s lovely is, obviously, we’ve brought in characters from ‘Clone Wars’ in the second season, and we keep sort of bringing characters from the original movies and sort of deepening the relationships between our core characters, the Ghost crew. So it’s trying to balance the two different things, like the original cast from the first season with ‘Clone Wars,’ with characters from the original movies, and maybe even feeding into future movies.”
Did you catch that last part? “Feeding into future movies.” Could Rebels soon become a jumping off point for other Star Wars related movies? It sure sounds like Kinberg likes the idea of his show having a bigger impact on the rest of the Galaxy.
“I’m very excited. I think part of the fun of the way they’re building the universe is that it is interconnected between the different movies and even beyond the movies … It’s something that was true in comic books going back, the way that you’d have interconnections between characters and stories. Even sometimes from DC to Marvel. I like the way that those stories are told in the larger tapestry. And, also, getting to work with other artists and filmmakers and writers, and use their talents — I like not being by myself in a room when I work. I like having other collaborators. You’re with some of the world’s best.”
How exactly would something like this work? Sure, you can have characters show up in single episodes (like they did with Princess Leia), but Kinsberg seems to want more than that. The good part? There are three movies on deck for Star Wars that can make build a lasting connection with Rebels.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Of course the first movie that comes to mind is Rogue One. The movie will be released around the time Rebels season three will be finding its groove. With the two stories happening around the same time prior to A New Hope, there are plenty of options for overlapping stories. Mon Mothma makes the most sense for a cameo, since she could just send The Ghost crew on a separate mission from Jyn Erso and her compatriots (tying both together without one affecting the other).
Or how about going a little more in-depth. We now know that Forest Whitaker will be playing Saw Gerrera, a character previously seen on The Clone Wars. Why not have his character be introduced on Rebels, and we can fill in the blanks on where he’s been before turning up in Rogue One. It’s a similar formula you can use for several characters, including Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe, or even Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO (maybe the Ghost crew is responsible for the droid’s change of heart?). While it’s unlikely that any Rebels characters will show up in Rogue One, there are plenty of opportunities for the TV show to welcome their movie counterparts.
2. Episode VIII
Now this seems like more of a stretch. Rian Johnson has his hands full trying to continue the new trilogy without having to worry about creating connections to television shows. Still, some groundwork can be laid in the upcoming season of Rebels that can tie into the continuing adventures of Rey and Luke Skywalker. (Just a heads up, this has spoilers for Season Two of Rebels. It may also contain plot points in Episode VIII; they might only be rumors at this point, but you’ve been warned).
So season two of Rebels ended with Ezra, Kanan and Ahsoka destroying an ancient Sith Temple (following run-ins with both Darth Maul and Darth Vader). If rumors prove true, Episode VIII will have something to do with Luke and Rey tracking down the original Jedi Temple. The door is open for some sort of connection here. Maybe The Ghost crew find the piece of the map critical to the plot of The Force Awakens? Perhaps Kanan Jarrus eventually becomes Lor San Tekka (crazier things have happened)? Perhaps the two stories have nothing to do with each other, but if we’re bringing Sith and Jedi temples into the fold at the same time, I wouldn’t assume that it’s simply a coincidence.
3. Han Solo Anthology Story
This one makes so much sense I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen. Han Solo is out doing smuggler things while the events in Star Wars Rebels are unfolding. With their experience dealing in the seedy underground, The Ghost crew is going to run into the infamous Nerf Herder one way or another. Perhaps they try to recruit Solo and Chewbacca on some sort of gun-running operation for the Rebel Alliance. All I know is that a scene where Han Solo is hitting on either Hera or Sabine would make season three of Rebels a resounding success.