Unlike the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the canon series Star Wars Rebels takes place in the classic trilogy timeline, where we get to see our favorite characters, like Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, and Yoda, with the original actors voicing the characters (Leia excluded) in an era that is the most loved by the fan base. It takes place five years before Star Wars: A New Hope, and it’s canon, which means all that happens there influences Star Wars Episode VIII and onward.
As one example, if you think Finn (the Stormtrooper who defects to the Resistance in Star Wars: A Force Awakens) is the first famous Star Wars character to defect from the Empire to fight for the good guys, think again. Season Three has many reasons for Star Wars fans to keep watching.
The biggest news has been revealed in the DisneyXD previews: Grand Admiral Thrawn becomes a part of Star Wars canon beginning tonight, voiced by Lars Mikkelsen. Created by Timothy Zahn in the first expanded universe Star Wars trilogy novel, the excellent Heir to the Empire, Thrawn was the rare intelligent Imperial officer like Grand Moff Tarkin. Dressed in the formal white uniform seen worn by a background actor in the original Star Wars, he is the blue-skinned humanoid who helped rebuild the Empire after the second Death Star was destroyed in Return of the Jedi. We even see from the preview that his attending ysalimir are back.
But that’s not all. There are many other reasons to come back for more:
- Darth Maul will be back this season. It’s easy to understand why Disney would bring back what is probably the best addition to the Star Wars story from the prequel films, but it’s always a bit of a cheat to bring someone back who so clearly died onscreen.
- Later in the season we will also meet a young Wedge Antilles, the Rebel pilot who would fight alongside Luke Skywalker in his most successful triumphs years later.
- In a series that has featured the voice of great genre actors including Firefly’s Gina Torres, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs, we now have Doctor Who’s Tom Baker as a character called the Bendu–a Force user pulled from George Lucas’s original ideas documented in his early 1970s Journal of the Whills story treatment.
- Despite its Disney look and feel, Star Wars Rebels has successfully re-created the look and feel of classic Star Wars, with its music, space battles, environments, and direction.
- More Captain Rex!
When we last met the key players in Star Wars Rebels, we witnessed the coming of age story of Force-user Ezra, and the ongoing trials of Kanan the last Padawan, Hera the pilot, Zeb the tough guy, Sabine the Mandalorian, and Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan Ahsoka–another Expanded Universe character turned canon who is only now understanding her former master has become the evil Darth Vader.
Check out these exciting previews for Star Wars Rebels Season Three:
Set your DVR now. Season Three of Star Wars Rebels begins tonight, September 24, 2016, at 7:30PM Central on DisneyXD.