Celebration Anaheim gave us a torrent of amazing moments to savor — the emotional impact of THAT teaser trailer, the live-as-it-gets excitement of Smuggler’s Bounty, the awesome coverage provided by StarWars.com in the Cantina, the show-stopping bombast of Star Wars Battlefront — but nothing was more crowd-pleasing than the three-and-a-half-minute trailer for Season Two of Rebels, which marked the return of the much-loved Captain Rex voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
Seeing him back — scarred and physically altered but undeniably Rex — was a huge moment of the trailer and the convention. Many viewers followed the six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars through the eyes of Rex almost as much as they did with Ahsoka, so his return adds more connective tissue between the two modern animated series.
I very much wanted to include the opinions of some of my fellow writers, podcasters, and Insider contributors regarding Rex’s return ahead of the premiere of “Siege of Lothal” on Disney XD this summer and the rest of the 22-episode season starting in the fall.
Read their thoughts below!
Johnamarie Macias (The Wookiee Gunner and Now, This Is Podcasting):
“For some reason, I was looking down at my phone (to check Twitter, most likely) when I suddenly heard Dee Bradley Baker’s voice. My head did this snapping up motion in complete disbelief because, even though I was watching it happen, I couldn’t believe it! The room reverberated with applause and I remember standing up and cheering before forcing myself to sit back down — I was that ecstatic to hear his voice and see his new design! There was also this moment when everyone turned to me because my love for Rex is known far and wide, so friends were snapping pictures of my reaction and tweeting things like, “Someone check on her to make sure she’s alive.” Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day in pure bliss. My heart ached in a good way because my favorite character is back!”
Bryan Young (Star Wars Insider and Full of Sith):
“Sitting there in the darkened arena, watching the trailer for Rebels play out, I couldn’t believe what I was about to see. Judging by the reaction of those around, they didn’t expect to see it either. In a trailer full of all the biggest reveals and moments, one stood out above the others: the return of Captain Rex.
When the screen goes black after Ahsoka said “…the Clone Wars…” you could hear nothing but patient silence from the crowd. Then, when Dee Bradley Baker’s familiar Captain Rex voice announces himself, you could feel the room gasp collectively. The feeling of relief that Rex had made it through Order 66 as a good guy was palpable in the room. It was electric.
We all watched the rest of the trailer stunned.
That’s the best part of Celebration. When you’re in a room like that, with that many Star Wars fans, you can feel their presence and excitement just like Vader sensing Luke on Endor.”
Tricia Barr (FanGirl Blog, Ultimate Star Wars):
“The Clone Wars did a great job of humanizing the clone troopers. While fans have many different favorite clones, Rex earned a strong following due to his camaraderie with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Hearing his distinctive voice and seeing his aged face brought back a rush of memories from The Clone Wars and the bittersweet reminder that the clones age rapidly. The revelation kicked my imagination into overdrive, wondering what had happened to Rex and his companions and what they were fighting for. His incredible walking machine reminds me of Howl’s Moving Castle animated by Studio Ghibli. I immediately thought of my friend Johnamarie Macias of The Wookiee Gunner, who has a particularly fondness for Captain Rex, and how excited she must be to know Rex had survived long past Order 66. What the future will bring for Rex is uncertain, but I’m excited to see him interact with the crew of the Ghost.”
Riley Blanton (Star Wars Report):
“As the screen faded to black in the Celebration Stage arena, thousands of Star Wars fans heard the familiar voice of Dee Bradley Baker say, “My name is Rex.” The place went nuts. The enormous fan reaction is a testament of the staying power the Clone Wars characters have. In the very same trailer, the appearance of Darth Vader didn’t even quite gain the fan reaction that the appearance of Captain Rex did. After seeing beloved Clone Wars characters like Ahsoka and Captain Rex play a part of the Rebels story, Dave Filoni and the Rebels crew have shown a remarkable respect for the Clone Wars fans and have only been producing even better television with Star Wars Rebels.”
So you know what the fandom thinks of Rex’s return, but it’s only fitting that we give the last word to the man himself, the clone who literally drips Rex appeal, Dee Bradley Baker.
Dee Bradley Baker:
“[Ashley Eckstein] was tearing up in the studio when I first came in there and she realized what was happening, because she didn’t know that’s what was happening! And I was very emotional coming out on stage today.
“In terms of technically what to do, there are some adjustments in terms of making these clones sound older. They also, let’s see, how shall I put it? Their personalities have sharpened in certain ways, being of the age that they are.
“So I had to veer from what I had already established in The Clone Wars to fit into a universe that — the Rebels universe, in some ways, is more energetic and moves a bit quicker. So there were some adjustments there, too.”
Mark has contributed to Star Wars Insider for almost a decade, is the owner of Jedi News, writes for DeAgostini’s Build The Millennium Falcon partwork magazine, and co-hosts RADIO 1138. He’s an honorary member of the UK Garrison, a friend of the Rebel Legion, and when he’s not talking, tweeting, or writing about Star Wars, can usually be found sleeping where he’ll most likely be dreaming about Star Wars.