When Does Star Wars Rebels Take Place?

With The Clone Wars at an end, fans might be wondering what show comes next in the Star Wars timeline. We explain why Rebels should be your next binge watch!

Star Wars Rebels
Photo: Lucasfilm

Fans hoping for more animated Star Wars adventures on Disney+ may have to wait a little while now that The Clone Wars has come to an end with the explosive season 7 finale. As the Republic falls and the Empire rises, some fans might be left wondering what’s next for Ahsoka Tano. Fortunately, while Disney hasn’t announced a follow-up animated series to fill the void left by The Clone Wars‘ excellent final season, Disney+ already has another animated series that directly connects to The Clone Wars while bridging the gap to the events of the Original Trilogy.

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Star Wars Rebels first aired on Disney XD from 2014 to 2018. It tells the story of a group of rebels known as the Spectres in the days before the Galactic Civil War. Here is the show that chronicles the formation of the Rebel Alliance, the heroes who stood against the Empire in the years before Luke Skywalker left Tatooine, and the Jedi who survived Order 66. The show also ties up a few loose ends from The Clone Wars, such as where Ahsoka, Maul, and Rex went after the Clone Wars. And if you’re a fan of the Original Trilogy, there are quite a few cameos from fan-favorite characters throughout the series.

At the center of Rebels is Ezra Bridger, an orphan living on the Imperial-occupied planet of Lothal. It’s while causing some trouble for the Empire that Ezra meets the Spectres, a crew of freedom fighters who travel around the galaxy on their ship The Ghost. They’re just one of many splinter cells in the series taking the fight to the evil Empire. After having a run-in with the Spectres, Ezra is recruited by the group and soon discovers that he is Force-sensitive. Fortunately, one of the Spectres is a former Jedi who decides to train Ezra in the ways of the Force.

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As you might expect, the series offers a great mix of Rebel antics and Jedi action. And while the show often takes a more lighthearted approach to Star Wars, this animated series actually dives much deeper into the secrets of the Force and the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith than any of the movies do. It explores elements of real magic in the Star Wars universe as well as sci-fi concepts never-before-seen in the galaxy far, far away. The show sets up at least one or two things that might prove to be very important to Star Wars stories yet to come.

Since Rebels takes place between The Clone Wars and A New Hope, where exactly does the show land on the Star Wars timeline? Almost all of Rebels is set between 5 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and 0 BBY — right before Rogue One and A New Hope — with each season covering about a year in the lives of the characters.

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To put it another way, Rebels begins14 years after the end of The Clone Wars, which is set from 22 BBY to 19 BBY. That not only means that there are 14 years between the two shows that are ripe for exploration, but that when we meet Ahsoka, Maul, and Rex again on Rebels, they’re a bit older.

Disney+ probably won’t keep fans waiting for a new Star Wars animated series for very long. With The Clone Wars and Resistance coming to an end this year, it’s likely that something new is already in the works. The question is: when might fans actually get to see what’s next? We don’t have an answer to that just yet. But until then, start Rebels if you’ve not watched it already!

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