WARNING: Minor spoilers for both Star Wars: Rebels and The Clone Wars.
With Star Wars: Rebels debuting in October and the first 7 minutes of the show revealed, the hype machine is going full force for the animated series set to fill the gap in our hearts left by The Clone Wars. Rebels is set 14 years after Revenge of the Sith, but there will absolutely be some familiar faces in the new series.
Where does that leave The Clone Wars characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luminara Unduli? And what other characters from the Original Trilogy or the still-canon The Clone Wars show might make an appearance?
R2-D2 and C-3PO
Classic droids Artoo and Threepio appear in the most recent Rebels trailer seeking help from the crew of the Ghost. Droids headlined some of the sillier episodes of The Clone Wars, but if Rebels has a more consistent structure without the anthology format that The Clone Wars sometimes adopted, maybe this will help keep the tone more consistent, too. Artoo clearly clashes with the Ghost’s droid, Chopper – and executive producer Dave Filoni has said that if Chopper is like a cat, Artoo is like a dog.
The droids’ appearance quickly brings up some fans’ concerns about when one cameo is too many. How plausible is it that Artoo and Threepio would be involved in every major event, and every major character, in the galaxy? Others find this no more jarring than the existence of lightsabers, and might find the droids endearing.
Seeing the Rebels crew interact with familiar characters might give fans new information about all of their personalities, and it’s unknown how often the two droids will appear in the show. They might just appear in the beginning to tie the show directly to the Original Trilogy.
The appearance of Obi-Wan, voiced by James Armold Taylor, in a hologram immediately ties Rebels to The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars seems to be the one bit of prequel material Disney wants to associate with Rebels, since the show is much more inspired by the Original Trilogy. Obi-Wan will not necessarily be a big part of the show, but he could appear again.
In the extended trailer, a hologram of Obi-Wan appears to Ezra out of what looks like a Jedi holocron device. He is wearing his typical Jedi robes in the hologram, and provides context to the show by explaining that the Jedi have been disbanded.
It was not long ago that he appeared on Tatooine in the novel Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, also the author of the Rebels novel A New Dawn. But Kenobi has gone the way of the Legends universe, and Obi-Wan could be anywhere.
His appearance shows an interesting contrast between the styles of animation used in Rebels and The Clone Wars; the Rebels version is less squared-off and blocky, with more detailed hair.
The severe, disciplined Jedi Master Luminara Unduli brings a direct connection to The Clone Wars, as she was the teacher of Barriss Offee, who indirectly contributed to Ahsoka’s disappearance. We don’t know how Luminara survived the Jedi Purge or whether she and Kanan knew one another at the Jedi Temple. She will surely have some commentary about the Empire, and may or may not know that Anakin became Darth Vader.
In The Clone Wars, many of the main characters had already appeared in Episode III. Because of this, fans knew they couldn’t die. The Rebels crew doesn’t have this problem with Episode IV – and neither does Luminara.
She appears to have been captured by the Empire and imprisoned in a mountainous fortress in the Stygian system. Fans may be familiar with this location from the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic series.
The senator from Alderaan encounters our heroes after loaning Artoo and Threepio to the governor of Ezra’s home planet, Lothal. His character model is also different from The Clone Wars version, but only slightly so.
Bail is known as one of the founding members of the Rebellion, and he could bring some other founding members with him.
At this time, Princess Leia would be 14 years old – prime time to interact with characters like Ezra and Sabine.
One of the upcoming Marvel comics series is about Princess Leia dealing with the loss of Alderaan – with parts of the new canon intersecting already, maybe the comic could tie in to Rebels.
Even without Leia, Bail is a planetary leader trying to counteract the Empire’s violent, oppressive tendencies from the inside, and could have many stories of his own, perhaps set on the pastoral – and doomed – planet Alderaan.
Billy Dee Williams stated that he would be part of the Rebels crew in June. Lando, the suave smuggler, would be the right age to appear on the show as a younger man. Could Williams voice a younger version of the character?
In the Legends universe Lando crossed paths with Han Solo multiple times before the Original Trilogy, and could do so again. Or he could be running a business venture, trying to start what would one day become his ill-fated Cloud City venture.
NOTE: Wishful thinking ahead…
Last, perhaps least likely, but not least is The Clone Wars fan favorite who disappeared from the show at the end of season five. Ahsoka was Dave Filoni’s brainchild, and a return to this Jedi would get a lot of fans excited for Rebels. Is it likely? Probably not until the show has hit its stride, like Liam Neeson’s cameo as Qui-Gon in season three of The Clone Wars. Who knows where Ahsoka’s journey has taken her. She could be a hermit, a vigilante, or even have fallen to the dark side. On The Clone Wars, she witnessed a vision of herself dressed in Jedi robes. Maybe on Rebels, we’ll get to see what that vision meant.