In the season finale of Rebels, viewers were re-introduced to Star Wars fan favorite Ahsoka Tano (operating as codename “Fulcrum”) moments before Darth Vader was also returned to the small screen. We’ve seen Vader on the show before, commanding the Inquisitor to hunt down Force users, but in the finale, Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan came closer than they’ve been in perhaps 15 Star Wars years.
The season two trailer introduced even more characters from The Clone Wars, including clone troopers Rex, Gregor, and Wolffe and Hondo Ohnaka:
A friend recently asked me whether I felt that Ahsoka’s story might overshadow that of the Ghost crew. Is it good to bring back fan favorites when their very popularity can make them polarizing? On one hand, of course it is. Ahsoka’s reappearance has made a lot of people happy, and added a critical female character to an already diverse cast. On the other hand, Ahsoka is a Dave Filoni fan favorite, too. Rebels shouldn’t be just one person’s vision. It shouldn’t be a rehash of The Clone Wars.
Either way, Ahsoka’s return heralds some exciting things for season two. Filoni has said that Ahsoka and Vader will both be used sparingly as Rebels goes on, letting the Ghost crew continue to grow on their own.
Filoni is clearly interested in bringing established characters to his new show, however. Obi-Wan, Luminara Unduli, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and many more have already been used to good effect in Rebels. Lando stopped by for a visit, while Obi-Wan inhabits Kanan’s memories and his holocron. There are plenty of other characters who could join the team for a cameo too, and not just from The Clone Wars. Mining from Legends brings us a whole host of potential new cameos, some more far-fetched than others. Here’s a selection of more Star Wars favorites and how they might be used in Rebels:
Barriss saw everything coming. In The Clone Wars, she was imprisoned by the Jedi for bombing the Temple. She believed that the Jedi were on the wrong side of the Clone Wars, and of course she was right, although no one knew it at the time. If Barriss survived into the Rebellion era, she might know that she was right. Would it make her more ruthless, more willing to set up her friends to take her fall? Or would it make her more dedicated to a Rebellion that she thinks might be able to cut through the Sith Lord’s lies?
As soon as Ahsoka appeared, I wondered whether Barriss would soon follow to confront her. They didn’t appear in a lot of episodes together, but their friendship was an important component of the final arc of season five. It was also, in part, unexplored.
To what extent did Barriss internalize her Master’s distant, impartial calmness? To me, Barriss and Luminara in The Clone Wars were examples of Old Republic Jedi who truly did not form attachments. Luminara would prioritize her missions over her Padawan, and Barriss would prioritize her missions over her friend. (This doesn’t jive with the portrayal of Barriss in the Expanded Universe, but we can’t really take that into account here. The Clone Wars did not refer to it, and Rebels is just as likely to do so as to not.) Fulcrum has also made the decision to leave an ally behind, even though Ezra didn’t stand for it. Might Ahsoka and Barriss find that their Jedi philosophy has become more similar over the years?
Maybe we could get more explanation of Barriss’ behavior, even if she is so much older, in Rebels. After all, the show has repeatedly addressed the cost of leaving friends behind, or choosing to value relationships over the mission. Barriss in The Clone Wars seemed morally gray, but not dark enough to have joined the Empire. She was, in a way, the first person who ever fought it.
She might have died in Order 66 too, although the Star Wars universe has never been good about making the Jedi genocide all-encompassing.
With Sam Witwer (Darth Maul in The Clone Wars) signed on to Rebels (as the voice of Emperor Palpatine), the possibility of Darth Maul’s return seems a bit closer. The comic series Son of Dathomir was a decent send-off for Maul, bringing some of the galaxy’s greatest villains together. Maul is still alive, though, and the one Sith he hasn’t fought yet is Vader.
There is a vacuum of power now that the Inquisitor is dead. It’s more likely that another established character might fill it – we’ve already seen two new dark siders in the season two trailer. But Maul survived The Clone Wars for a reason, and Dave Filoni might be keeping him in his back pocket as a villain – or perhaps an ally.
Maul isn’t on Sidious’ side any more, as we’ve seen in Son of Dathomir. In true Sith tradition, he is now just as likely to fight Sidious and Vader as he would be to fight the Rebels. He had no stake in the Empire. Like Vizago, he could be an unlikely ally. Hera would see through any tricks in a moment, but the Jedi might find themselves needing a Sith for some reason. It would certainly kick Ezra’s plot about learning to use the Force – and use it without his untrained emotions edging him toward the dark side – into high gear.
Bo-Katan, a Mandalorian soldier from the radical Death Watch, has a ready-made connection to Rebels. Sabine knows Mandalorian history. She’s studied it through her art, and some of her sketches include Death Watch designs. (It seems like she enjoys the aesthetic more than the pro-war political statement, but it’s never been directly addressed in the show.)
It would be fascinating to return to Mandalore in Rebels, and Bo-Katan might be a familiar leader for The Clone Wars fans to connect to if it does. Bo-Katan definitely exists in a gray area, fighting against her own sister but saving Obi-Wan from the Death Watch when they were allied with Darth Maul.
And of course, Mandalorians just make any action scene cooler. Seeing Bo-Katan fight Stormtroopers would definitely bring her to another level of awesome.
Speaking of morally gray characters, Ventress has one of the most interesting histories, and most open-ended stories, in The Clone Wars. Her story will continue in July in the novel Dark Disciple, which is based on unused scripts from the show. Until then, though, there are a lot of possibilities for the independent, unhappy ex-Nightsister.
Like Ezra and Kanan, Ventress had a non-traditional experience with the Jedi Order. Ventress lost her Master at an early age, and that’s part of what drove her to the dark side. Kanan is trying to prevent the same thing from happening to Ezra. I don’t imagine that Ventress would be interested either way in the Ghost crew, but if she was forced to fall in with them, she might have her own plans for the Jedi.
As with Ahsoka, so much of Ventress’ potential personality in the Rebels era depends on what happened to her over the 15 years between the series. How did a dark Force user with an attachment to both the Jedi and the Sith react to Order 66? I don’t think Hera would trust Ventress any more than she would trust Darth Maul, but she might think Ventress was useful, if their paths converged. Either way, seeing Ventress in Rebels would be a cool continuation of a strong character’s journey.
There is an inevitable challenge in bringing characters from The Clone Wars to Rebels. If they’re Jedi, they will be immediately targeted by the Empire. Narratively, there must be some explanation as to why they don’t get involved with Luke Skywalker’s story later in the Rebellion era. However, there are several notable Clone Wars-era characters who aren’t Jedi, but have a strong connection to Ahsoka.
The first of these is Riyo Chuchi, a young senator. She enlisted Ahsoka’s help in rescuing the daughters of another politician. Chuchi believed in fairness and equality, and probably wouldn’t sit quietly while the Empire spread throughout the galaxy. She’s the right age to still be alive during the Dark Times era, and perhaps to even have been a senator when the senate was dissolved. Since she was Ahsoka’s friend in the Clone Wars, she might be connected with Fulcrum now, and could serve as a useful contact for the crew of the Ghost.
Lux Bonteri has been a lot of things. Once a Separatist, his disillusionment with that cause lead him to join the Mandalorian Death Watch. A native of Onderon, he worked as part of the rebellion against Onderon’s Separatist king.
Lux has a lot of experience on the ground in rebellions. including Onderon as an independent system fighting the Separatists. Those same skills and concerns could translate to a wider rebellion against the Empire, as the people of Onderon have clearly had bad experiences with outside leadership. Lux isn’t purely a hero, though: he also has a stuck-up, emotionally distant side which could make for an interestingly aristocratic character opposed to the Empire during the Dark Times.
It should be no surprise to see Leia on this list. Her adoptive father, Bail Organa, has already played a significant role in Rebels, and many fans speculated that he was in fact Fulcrum.
We’ve seen in the canon Star Wars comics that Leia is an adventurous young girl, skipping lessons to learn to fight. At Ezra’s age, she might have very different priorities from the Rebel leader she became in A New Hope, but her fiery commitment to justice would be the same.
The crew of the Ghost would probably be inclined to trust Bail’s adopted daughter, but her appearance could also lead to some entertaining hijinks and character dynamics. Since she’s around the same age as Ezra and Sabine, their personalities could conflict or clash. Maybe Sabine appreciates Alderaanian art, or Ezra feels wary about yet another person who knows that he and Kanan are Jedi. Alderaan’s pacifist history could itself be a sticking point among people who see how a lack of resistance hurt Lothal.
Where Leia is, there Winter could be, too. Marvel has already had a chance to fit Winter into the current continuity, but hasn’t taken it so far. She didn’t appear in Leia’s flashbacks in the comics, but Leia’s childhood friend – and rebel super spy – would be a natural fit for the hypothetical future of Rebels. The two were raised together and looked so similar as to be mistaken for twins. A mistaken identity story could play well on Rebels, and it would certainly be interesting to see a determined, tomboyish girl who takes to her martial arts studies with even more discipline than Ezra and Leia.
For almost any role Bail Organa can play in Rebels, Mon Mothma could play that role too. She appeared briefly in live action in Revenge of the Sith, but, of course, really came into her own as a leader of the Rebellion in the Original Trilogy. Hera and company have only just discovered that they’re part of a larger rebel faction, but Fulcrum and Bail probably know a lot more than they’ve told the crew. If season two shows us anything more about the wider rebellion, it would just make sense for Mon Mothma to be involved.
Hear me out on this one. The Ferroans were the natives of Zonama Sekot, the sentient planet that was the key to winning the war again the Yuuzhan Vong in The New Jedi Order series. Of course, all of this is Legends. But stranger things have appeared in The Clone Wars, including thinly-disguised Wizard of Oz references and the strange otherworld of Mortis.
The Ferroans tended the wandering planet Zonama Sekot in the Unknown Regions, guiding it to a sentience that also happened to include polyp ships and a planet-pushing hyperdrive. Their world could bring beautiful new landscapes to Rebels and introduce some of the concepts seen in the wider expanded universe, establishing what, if anything, in the canon galaxy could serve as the equivalent to the Yuuzhan Vong. Bringing Legends material into Rebels in such a big way seems like a stretch, but The Clone Wars did have an entire arc about a general having an existential crisis, so I won’t write anything off.
The introduction of an outsider has revealed a lot about the Ghost crew. Ezra and Sabine are trusting, while Hera and Kanan tend to be suspicious. It’s likely that Dave Filoni will continue to bring elements of The Clone Wars, and perhaps even Legends, into Rebels if only to watch the sparks of rebellion.