The Mandalorian Finally Addresses the Future of a Beloved Star Wars Rebels Character

Steve Blum returns as the voice of Zeb Orrelios on The Mandalorian. Here's what Zeb's been up to since Star Wars Rebels.

Star Wars Rebels
Photo: Lucasfilm

This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.

The Mandoverse is expanding further in 2023. While last year’s The Book of Boba Fett fleshed out the post-Return of the Jedi story of the infamous bounty hunter and his quest to rule Mos Espa, two more shows will take this corner of the Star Wars universe to new territory. There’s Jon Watts’ Skeleton Crew, which will see Jude Law leading a group of teens on an epic adventure inspired by ’80s Amblin films. Then there’s Ahsoka, which picks up the story of not just the beloved Jedi warrior but all her friends from the Rebels animated series. We know Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla, and Ezra Bridger are all involved in the quest to find Grand Admiral Thrawn, but there’s one name that until this moment had been left out: the grumpy Lasat rebel fighter Zeb Orrelios. What’s he been up to?

The latest episode of The Mandalorian, “The Pirate,” finally gives us the answers we’ve been looking for. Five years after Return of the Jedi and the end of the Galactic Civil War, we find the former Rebel hanging out drinking at an outpost on the planet Adelphi. Wearing a blue New Republic flight suit, it looks like Zeb has become a full-fledged member of the new government, serving as an Adelphi Ranger, alongside Carton Teva, Trapper Wolf, and the rest of that crew of Outer Rim space cops.

We only spend a minute or two with Zeb, enough for him to give us a little context on how poorly New Republic central command on Coruscant is handling security in the Outer Rim. Zeb is skeptical about Carson’s plan to ask the New Republic for aid in fighting off the pirates who have taken over Nevarro. The galactic government is stretched way too thin and doesn’t seem all that interested in what’s going on beyond its borders anyway. As Tim Meadows’ Colonel Tuttle confirms later, Nevarro isn’t an official member of the New Republic, making it all the less pressing to help Greef Karga and his people. Zeb, who fought to protect defenseless Outer Rim planets like Lothal from the Empire back in the day, must be a little disappointed that this is how the New Republic turned out, no?

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This live-action Zeb, brought to life by CGI, is once again voiced by Steve Blum, who first played the role on Rebels. A fun little fact about Zeb: his species, the Lasat, was actually the legendary Ralph McQuarrie’s original design for the character that became Chewbacca in A New Hope. In that way, Zeb’s history is tied to the very origins of Star Wars, and it’s great to see that design back on our screens in a new way in 2023.

In the Rebels cartoon, Zeb proved himself to be one of the most fiercely loyal members of the Ghost crew of freedom fighters led by ace pilot Hera Syndulla and former Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus. With the rest of his pals reuniting to find Ezra, one of his fellow crewmembers in Rebels, on Ahsoka, it remains to be seen how Zeb will fit into all that. It’s possible Ahsoka is flying around the galaxy getting the band back together at the moment, which likely means she’ll be paying Zeb a visit on Adelphi in due time. Surely, his re-introduction on The Mandalorian is no accident and just a teaser of things to come for the character.

The Mandalorian season 3 streams on Wednesdays on Disney+.