Even though Star Wars fans had another feature film to pass the holiday season, nothing quite compares to the return of Star Wars Rebels. Lucasfilm released the series’ annual mid-season trailer, packed with major moments from the upcoming second half of season three. Check out the trailer here, then jump right in with us as we cover the five biggest revelations that Star Wars Rebels has in store for 2017.
The Rebellion Becomes an Alliance
Rebel leader Mon Mothma is joining the cast of Star Wars Rebels! Fresh out of her Rogue One appearance, Mothma crosses paths with Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, and their colleagues. Besides the above scene, the trailer also shows Mothma meeting with fellow rebel leaders Bail Organa and Jan Dodonna via hologram. In the trailer, Mothma says, “We’re building an alliance. This is our rebellion.” We’ll have to see if actress Genevieve O’Reilley will again be responsible for Mothma’s latest appearance.
However, the rebellion is far from safe. The trailer provides several glimpses of the Empire attacking the planet Atollon, the site of the rebels’ Chopper Base. Perhaps that’s why the rebel fleet is out in full force. Notably, the trailer offers a few shots of the Nebulon-B frigate, which has been a staple of the Rebel Alliance since its debut in the original trilogy.
It looks like Star Wars Rebels is forming other connections to Rogue One, particularly via the series’ debut of the film’s Death Troopers. However, one of the more worrisome shots from the trailer is of Chopper suffering a malfunction that’s more cataclysmic than any he’s ever had before.
Thanks to Chopper’s cameo appearance in Rogue One, we know that the grumpy-but-trusty astromech must survive Rebels. At least until the time of Rogue One, which is two years into the future from the current time frame of Rebels. But it’s anyone’s guess what the rest of season three has in store for Chopper.
Thrawn is Ripped
Grand Admiral Thrawn‘s endgame is coming to fruition. In the trailer, Thrawn menacingly proclaims, “[The rebels] revealed their meager defenses, and it’s exactly this moment I’ve been waiting for.” What’s more, the trailer offers the first look at Thrawn out of his Imperial officer uniform. And man, he is jacked.
Thrawn’s ogle-worthy musculature allows him to perform frighteningly well during a sparring session with Imperial sentry droids. The trailer also shows Thrawn personally taking up a blaster during combat. The odds aren’t good for whoever is on the receiving end of Thrawn’s blaster.
As for Thrawn’s ongoing pet project, the trailer shows that his TIE/D Defender design has reached completion. The design for this advanced starfighter first debuted in a recent Rebels episode, “An Inside Man“. With the TIE Defenders in play, the rebels are about to face even higher stakes than ever.
In other Empire-related news, the trailer shows that Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin still has some appearances left before season three ends. Moreover, there’s a new Imperial officer who’s coming to Star Wars Rebels, as seen in the above shot.
There’s no official confirmation yet, but the officer looks suspiciously like Wullf Yularen. Yularen first debuted in A New Hope as one of the Empire’s Joint Chiefs aboard the Death Star. He later received a supporting role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the admiral for Anakin Skywalker’s fleet. Under the Empire, Yularen holds a command position in the Imperial Security Bureau, so he’s technically Agent Kallus’s boss. If this is indeed Yularen, then perhaps Rebels will use that connection to bring him in.
So far, Sabine Wren’s mother has been periodically referred to in dialogue on Star Wars Rebels. Now, it looks like she’s finally making her full debut. The real question is whose side she’s on. She tells Sabine, “Your rebel friends are going to bring the Empire down on all of us.” That makes it sound like she doesn’t have any love for the Empire, unlike Imperial lackey Gar Saxon. Speaking of Saxon, it looks like he’s heading for a rematch with Sabine after their first encounter earlier this season.
It also appears as though Sabine inherited her penchant for armor customization from her mother. Sabine’s mother is clad in a yellow color scheme that doesn’t match any known Mandalorian clans from Star Wars lore. Is this the iconography of Clan Wren, or perhaps an as-yet unseen faction? Personally, I’m just glad that we’re getting to see Mandalore for the first time since its recurring role on The Clone Wars.
Getting back to Sabine, the trailer shows that she finally begins to use the Darksaber. Sabine recovered the weapon from Dathomir back in the winter finale, and now it’s time for her to wield it. In the trailer, Mandalorian outcast Fenn Rau reminds Sabine of the Darksaber’s significance as a symbol of Mandalorian power. Leave it to Kanan to assume the unlikely task of training Sabine in lightsaber combat.
Due to her lack of Force sensitivity, Sabine must use a fighting style that’s reminiscent of that of Pre Vizsla from The Clone Wars. Instead of relying solely on the Darksaber, Sabine must integrate the weapon with her personal fighting style and arsenal of weapons. Season three is steadily proving to be Sabine’s biggest season yet.
More Trips to Lothal
Since Star Wars Rebels revealed that season three will focus on the rebellion’s assault on Lothal, it makes sense that the planet will return in upcoming episodes. In the above shot, the trailer shows that Kanan and Captain Rex make a trip to Lothal. Perhaps they’re performing reconnaissance for the rebellion’s upcoming strike. Kanan and Rex are also clad in stormtrooper armor, probably leftover from their team-up in last season’s “Stealth Strike“.
Oddly enough, Lothal has another returning visitor: Agent Kallus. In the trailer, Kallus visits the abandoned communication tower that served as Ezra’s home before he joined the rebellion. Does Kallus need to find something that Ezra left behind? It’s an odd place for Kallus to visit, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.
Hello, Old Ben
Ever since The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm’s marketing team has traditionally saved the biggest revelation for the end of a trailer. And once again, that’s what happens. The trailer leads into its final reveal by beginning with Ezra’s re-encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s message from the series premiere, Spark of Rebellion. In doing so, the TV series comes full circle, since Obi-Wan’s message was what first piqued Ezra’s interest in the Jedi and led him to become Kanan’s apprentice.
Audio snippets of Obi-Wan’s message continue to play throughout the trailer. Then, we see Maul trekking across the Dune Sea of Tatooine. Maul finds his target in front of a small fire, at which point Maul ignites his lightsaber. Maul’s opponent says, “You’re in the wrong place,” before also igniting his own lightsaber.
Maul’s adversary is none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is Ben Kenobi as fans first saw him in 1977 when A New Hope premiered, though the film didn’t have that title yet. However, Obi-Wan’s debut on Star Wars Rebels shouldn’t surprise fans who have tuned into season three. Especially not if you’ve been keeping up with our Recap and Reactions from fellow Fan Contributor Robert Mitchell and I.
Even though Obi-Wan’s appearance looks cool, Robert and I still aren’t happy with Maul’s continued presence on Star Wars Rebels. Voice actor Sam Witwer has infused Maul with a captivating level of depth. But since his resurrection on The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm has simply prolonged Maul’s story for far too long.
Hopefully, Obi-Wan’s impending showdown with Maul will give the former Sith Lord his overdue send-off. Stephen Stanton (Tarkin in Rebels, Admiral Raddus in Rogue One) will be voicing this older version of Obi-Wan, and he does a terrific job of channeling the late Alec Guinness. Previously, James Arnold Taylor voiced Obi-Wan for The Clone Wars and Spark of Rebellion. We’ll have to see where Stanton takes the character.
Star Wars Rebels returns this Saturday with a one-hour special, “Ghosts of Geonosis“. Stay tuned for our first Rebels Recap and Reaction of the new year!