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Star Wars Rebels: Carrying a Legacy

“Ahsoka. My name is Ahsoka Tano.”

At that iconic moment it was clear to Star Wars fans that the hit new animated series Star Wars Rebels was much more than it originally seemed. Many fans correctly guessed that the mysterious informant known as Fulcrum was none other than Ahsoka Tano, fan-favorite character from the earlier show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. With her formal debut speculation ensued over what other The Clone Wars characters would appear on Rebels. Ahsoka, as it turns out, was only the beginning.

Star Wars Rebels

Set around four years before A New Hope, Star Wars Rebels chronicles the ongoing adventures of a small band of heroes as they fight the tyrannical reign of the Galactic Empire. While the show seems to be the leading up to the foundation of the Rebel Alliance, there are numerous elements that tell another story. A collection of stories, some we know and others we’re only just now getting a glimpse of. They’re the untold stories of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

After the critically-acclaimed Clone Wars series was taken off the air in 2013 (with only a handful of unaired episodes reaching completion), fans were left wondering about its final seasons. In September 2014, StarWars.com launched The Clone Wars Legacy, a multimedia project that delved into those unfinished episodes. So far, four story arcs have been released to the public in the form of books and story reels (episodes in early-stage animatics). Dave Filoni, supervising director on both The Clone Wars and Rebels, has hinted that other stories have yet to be told. To that end he looks to Rebels.

Rebels has seen the return of other beloved characters such as Captain Rex, Hondo Ohnaka and Cham Syndulla. This has occurred throughout the show’s second season, part of an effort to allow fans to speculate over what these Clone Wars untold stories were all about. Here’s everything we’ve been given so far:

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The Siege of Mandalore

In the Season 2 opener, The Lost Commanders, Captain Rex reflects on his service alongside Ahsoka Tano, saying, “I fought by [Ahsoka’s] side from the Battle of Christophsis to the Siege of Mandalore.” Clone Wars fans should have a rough idea of what he’s talking about there. When we left Mandalore in The Clone Wars, it was engulfed in a civil war between the Mandalorians loyal to Darth Maul and those led by Bo-Katan, who refused to accept Maul as their leader. A Republic invasion of the planet seemed imminent. Further implications came along in the “Rebels Recon” segment (behind the scenes webisodes) for the recent episode, The Protector of Concord Dawn, in which Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group discuss Sabine’s heritage in the wider Mandalorian context, cluing us in on the transformation Mandalore went through at the conclusion of what would have been Season 8 of The Clone Wars.

Details on this event are still fairly vague, but it’s safe to say that we’re not through with Mandalore yet. Hidalgo said, “How does Mandalore deal with the Empire, and how does the Empire deal with Mandalore? That’s something we’re going to get into.”

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Maul Returns (again)

If you’ve seen the new Mid-Season 2 trailer, chances are you’ve noticed a familiar face (and voice). The unmistakable facial tattoos beneath the shroud of the “Old Master” are a dead giveaway; Maul has returned once again. It’s too early to tell how large of a part he’ll play in the show, or in Ezra’s development, but his mere presence tells us that he survived whatever went down on Mandalore. Last we saw Maul was in the comic, Son of Dathomir, the first installment in Clone Wars Legacy, which ended with him on the run with the Mandalorians and his criminal empire in tatters.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that he’ll appear to Ezra merely as an illusion, but whether he’s physically present or not, we’re bound to get at least a couple hints as to what the Old Master has been up to since then, including whatever time he had left during the Clone Wars.

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Ahsoka’s Story

Ahsoka Tano became an instant hit with fans when she first appeared in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film in 2008. When she left the Jedi Order behind in Season 5 of the show, those fans were shocked and saddened, which made her return in Rebels all the more powerful. As pleased as audiences are to see their favorite ex-padawan back in action, the question must be asked: where’s she been all this time? Aside from the Siege of Mandalore, we know almost nothing about where Ahsoka went after she left the Jedi. Dave Filoni has mentioned more than once that her story during the Clone Wars didn’t end with Season 5; several episodes were written for later seasons which featured Ahsoka, one of which even took place during Revenge of the Sith.

Every now and again on Rebels, Ahsoka has been making subtle references to the events in those episodes. So far, there haven’t been any major allusions, but maybe we just haven’t caught them yet. That’s likely to change as we draw closer to the inevitable showdown between Ahsoka and her fallen master, Darth Vader.

That’s everything we’ve seen and heard so far, and we’re not even finished with Season 2 yet. Rebels has shown us many stories already, each with its own unique tone and style. The one thing they all have in common—be it in hidden references or production value—is the legacy of storytelling left by Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As Dave Filoni said upon the launch of The Clone Wars Legacy, “The one thing you need are good stories to tell, and thanks to the legacy that George [Lucas] left us, we have many many many good stories that, hopefully, the audience will get to see.”

 


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