Though Star Wars fans were excited to learn more about Rogue One at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, the panel and trailer for the third season of Star Wars Rebels, the hit-animated series that explores the events that led to the formation of the Rebel Alliance, garnered far more attention for its exciting announcements, the biggest of which was the reveal that Grand Admiral Thrawn, the beloved Star Wars Legends/Expanded Universe character, would feature as the primary antagonist for the season.
Arguably the most popular character in Star Wars Expanded Universe (Legends) literature, Grand Admiral Thrawn was created by author Timothy Zahn, and served as the principal villain in the novel Heir to the Empire and its sequels, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. When Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney, Thrawn, along with hundreds of other characters, were removed from Star Wars canon. Since that time, it has been rumored that Thrawn would eventually be incorporated back into the franchise in some capacity. With Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) now officially making his return to Star Wars canon, the heroes of Rebels will now have to contend with the Empire’s most brilliant and unorthodox military mind.
Other than the monumental Thrawn reveal, we also see the return of Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), who appears to be hard at work in his attempts to seduce Ezra (Taylor Gray) to the Dark side. Maul’s appearance in Season 2’s finale was a welcome surprise for many fans who were unsure of the former Sith Lord’s fate at the end of The Clone Wars animated series. Though he seems to be both in league and at odds with the show’s heroes in the trailer, Maul’s presence will most assuredly complicate matters throughout Season 3, most particularly for Ezra, who has grown more powerful and arrogant in his Force abilities.
As the trailer seems to indicate, the mysteries of the Force will also be further explored, and the dynamic between the Light and Dark side will grow more complicated with the introduction of a “neutral” Force wielder named Bendu (Tom Baker).
While the trailer features a number of new and returning characters, the teaser also showcases several cool action sequences, including a chase scene that shows Ezra and his friends being pursued by Mandalorians loyal to the Empire. Keen-eyed fans will notice that the Mandalorian armor is actually based on early Boba Fett concept art created by Joe Johnston during pre-production of The Empire Strikes Back.
Star Wars: Rebels will return to Disney XD sometime this fall.
What about you reader? Impressed by the trailer for Season 3? Are you a fan of the show? Let us know in the comments below!