Star Wars Rebels is Key to Ahsoka

Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Zeb Orrelios, Hera Syndulla, Sabrine Wren, and Chopper in Star Wars Rebels. Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Watching Star Wars Rebels has more or less become an important key to understanding Lucasfilm’s Ahsoka on Disney+.

Dave Filoni’s previous comments came in an interview with Collider.

“I don’t think you would need to watch any [episodes of Rebels]. They’re all available on Disney+, so you can check them out there and that would be great, but… for me, if you really were interested in [Rebels] and if it got people that maybe don’t–aren’t as interested in animation into it, I would start [with], probably, like, maybe the episode, “Jedi Night,” where the sad thing happens to Kanan. Even if you didn’t understand what that was, it would propel you forward. If you just watch Season 4 [of Rebels], you’d be set [for Ahsoka].”

When Star Wars Rebels premiered in October 2014, nobody knew that it would eventually play a huge role in the future of the franchise. It’s importance truly became known during season 2 of The Mandalorian. Not so much with the introduction of Bo-Katan Kyrze (Katee Sackhoff) but with the introduction of Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson/Ashley Eckstein) in live-action. As soon as Ahsoka asked Morgan Elsbeth as to the whereabouts of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), it set the path in motion for Star Wars Rebels characters to make their live-action appearances. The first episode brought us back to Lothal, which made its first live-action appearance.

Rogue One previously gave us a Chopper cameo and a reference to General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead/Vanessa Marshall). The Ghost has appeared on Yavin 4, prior to the Battle of Scarif. Maul’s (Sam Witwer) appearance in Solo was likely a shock for many fans if they did not watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels. Long thought dead, we learned what happened after Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in two in The Phantom Menace. Fans of the two animated series were one step ahead of the curve. I was late to watching The Clone Wars so you could imagine my surprise during his subsequent appearances in animation.

This brings us to where we are right now. Fans unfamiliar with either series are at a disadvantage. Because of Captain Rex’s (Temuera Morrison/Dee Bradley Baker) role in Star Wars Rebels, it certainly helps to watch The Clone Wars. Ahsoka’s presence in both series makes them required viewing. It would have been nice to see a larger role for Captain Rex rather than a cameo a few weeks ago when the World Between Worlds made its live-action debut. I would not think that Captain Rex is dead but he’s not getting any younger.

This past season of The Mandalorian featured the first live-action appearance of Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum) at Adelphi base. With the third season’s focus on reclaiming Mandalore, the thinking was that Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo/Tiya Sircar) could make a cameo. Oh, well. Sabine’s live-action appearance, much like Hera and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi/Taylor Gray), came during Ahsoka’s first episode. There are also references to the late Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) but no outright live-action appearance just yet. It’s unlikely that Prinze Jr. reprises the character in live-action. That being said, it would be cool to see Kanan appear as a Force ghost.

The fact of the matter is that this season’s focus on Thrawn and Ezra dates back to the Rebels finale. Our understanding of purrgil also dates back to seeing them on Rebels. It was fun to see one appear in hyperspace on The Mandalorian during the third season. I’m not one to tell people what to do but watching The Clone Wars and especially Star Wars Rebels is key to understanding Ahsoka’s character as well as what’s happening on Ahsoka. It’s a quick binge depending on what kind of time you have to spend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Ahsoka is really the fifth season of Star Wars Rebels, only it is in live-action.

All episodes of Star Wars Rebels are streaming on Disney+. The Ahsoka finale will be streaming on Disney+ at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on October 3, 2023.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.