See the many ways that the animated series connects with the Star Wars films, The Clone Wars, and more.
The Star Wars galaxy has become a lot larger over the last few years with the release of numerous films, novels, comic books, and video games. The TV series Star Wars Rebels is a part of that expansion, and it holds a unique place in the Star Wars timeline. In many ways, Rebels is a bridge between the prequel and original trilogy films showing audiences just how connected everyone is in the galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars Rebels had the difficult task of creating a group of entirely new characters for audiences to fall in love with while bringing in characters from previous Star Wars productions to continue their stories. These familiar characters serve to expand the viewpoints of Ezra, Hera, Sabine, and the rest of the Ghost crew as well as help to tie up loose ends from previous Star Wars storylines.
Star Wars Rebels begins with a familiar face -- none other than Darth Vader. The conversation between Darth Vader and the Grand Inquisitor at the beginning of “Spark of the Rebellion” picks up a storyline directly from the end of Revenge of the Sith. Darth Vader makes it clear he knows there are Jedi out there who survived Order 66, as well as Force-sensitive children. He sends his Inquisitor out to hunt down these younglings and any Jedi who might train them. Enter Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Lothal youth Ezra Bridger.
Kanan, a Jedi who survived Order 66, starts to train Ezra Bridger in the ways of the Jedi at the beginning of Rebels and familiar faces are easy to spot as their journey together begins. Ezra finds a hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi warning Jedi about Order 66 in “Spark of the Rebellion,” and the “Rise of the Old Masters” storyline revolves around an attempted rescue of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli who was last seen in Revenge of the Sith. Ezra first hears Yoda’s voice in episode 10 of Season One, “Path of the Jedi,” and Yoda interacts with Kanan and Ezra throughout the series.
In “Droids in Distress,” Ezra returns C3-PO and R2-D2 to Bail Organa, who we last saw with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newborn Skywalker twins in Episode III. Bail Organa’s character didn’t have much screen time in the prequel films (and only briefly appeared in Rogue One) but in The Clone Wars series and now Rebels, we get to know his character much better. By the end of the first season, everyone on the Ghost knows Bail Organa is an ally of the rebels, as well as the senator from Alderaan.
Many Rebels episodes focus on Kanan trying to resolve his feelings about surviving Order 66 after his Master Depa Billaba sacrificed herself to save him. These feelings go into overdrive in the Season Two episode “The Lost Commanders,” when clone troopers from The Clone Wars TV series Captain Rex, Commander Wolffe, and Commando Gregor re-appear. Kanan and Rex’s relationship in subsequent episodes show the emotional fallout Order 66 created for both the few remaining Jedi who survived and the clone troopers who managed to not take part in the killings.