Star Wars: Rebels may not be returning until this Saturday, but their mid-season trailer has everyone ready for more right now. The return of old faces, the addition of more material from the Expanded Universe/Legends, and ties into Rogue One are looking to make the second half of Season 3 an epic one. While everyone is talking about a single major reveal of the trailer, there’s so much more that has a Star Wars geek like me excited.
(WARNING: Some minor spoilers for the franchise and recent films may appear below.)
“Old Ben” Kenobi
I’ll start with the end of the trailer, which is the most talked about point out there. The appearance of “Old Ben” Kenobi on Tatooine as he faces off with his oldest nemesis: Darth Maul. People have been asking for more information on Obi-Wan’s activities during the period leading up to Episode IV, and now we’ll get it. This event will hopefully be the final resolution to the Kenobi-Maul story, as only one of them appears to exist by “A New Hope.”
Did anyone else notice the voice actor for “Old Ben”? Either they added a clip of Alec Guinness, or they’ve found someone who can do his voice perfectly.
Now that we have the most obvious reveal, it’s time to go back to the start of the trailer where we saw a “new” starship: the TIE Defender. As a Star Wars tech buff (and avid collector/player of the X-Wing miniatures game), this is possibly the most exciting part. For those not aware, the TIE Defender first appeared in the Star Wars: TIE Fighter space simulator, the sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing, and returned in subsequent space sim games. This variant was the latest TIE iteration, faster and more maneuverable than A-Wings and TIE Interceptors, plus the bonus of shields and a hyperdrive. Although, later books added the starfighter to official EU canon, Disney’s relegation of that material to “Legends” meant this dangerous fighter was no more… until now.
Here we have our first tie-in to Rogue One, which is also a bridge between that movie and the Clone Wars series. An older Gerrera, he’s halfway between his cartoon and live-action versions; more extreme thinking and behavior that predicts his splinter-cell off the Rebel Alliance. Seeing as he’s wearing similar armor to his on-screen persona, perhaps we might also see how he gains his cybernetic limbs?
Another idea from the EU/Legends, at several points we see strange droid-like “Stormtrooper” variants. These look an awful lot like Dark Troopers, which originated as highly dangerous battle droids used by the Empire in Star Wars: Dark Forces. Given the amount of Clone Wars-era “klankers” seen throughout the trailer, this may hint at their origin in the new canon. Plus, if they use material from Dark Forces… could Kyle Katarn be around the corner?
Mon Mothma and the rise of the Rebel Alliance
Another reference to Rogue One and the Original Trilogy, we begin to see these different rebel cells uniting under a single alliance. Mon Mothma appears as the leader, and several other faces from the movies make a quick appearance. Add in a full-sized Rebel fleet, and we’re beginning to come full circle on how the Alliance formed. This cements the show’s presence in the franchise timeline, not to mention helps lead toward the inevitable end.
Hints of the Death Star?
Although nothing is directly shown, they keep mentioning the Empire is up to something. With the presence of Saw Gerrera, Mon Mothma, and other Rogue One tie-ins, it only makes sense they might reference the construction of the Death Star. Of course, they already did that with the novel Catalyst, but the more they can tie things together the better. Will anyone else from Catalyst/Rogue One make an appearance? Galen Erso? Orson Krennic?
Just like the end of Season 2, it looks like Rebels is poised to end this season on a high note. The real question is, with all of these reveals and tie-ins, how much longer can they go? At some point we know how this ends, so how dark are they willing to be on a kids show?