On February 19, Star Wars: Rebels will begin the second half of its fourth and final season, which will hopefully answer all (or at least some) of the questions we’ve had about the series since day one. Now, we have a new trailer for those episodes—and with it, predictably, come even more questions. Thankfully, we got Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni on the phone to get to the bottom of them.
First of all, here’s the trailer:
There’s a lot to break down here, so let’s get to it.
Yes, it was. In the trailer’s most shocking revelation, Ezra at some point comes into contact with an image of the Mortis Gods, characters who appeared in a landmark, three-episode Clone Wars arc in 2011 and revealed there are powerful beings beyond the Jedi and Sith that play a huge role in balancing the force. (The episodes were season three’s “Overlords,” “Altar of Mortis,” and “Ghosts of Mortis” if you want to go back and watch them, which you don’t have to, but totally should.)
Predictably, Filoni wouldn’t say much about the revelation but acknowledged its potential importance. “I find them to be an interesting relic of folklore that could come up in some way,” he said. “So there were avenues that allowed that image to be a possibility. And we’ll have to see what it actually means when you get down to it.”
“It’s kind of fun to leave it to speculation,” Filoni said. “There are many twists and turns when you’re dealing with a character like Palpatine. He’s so wonderfully written all the time, especially in the films. And it seemed inevitable that if you’re dealing with the Empire, if you’re on this quest to fight evil, that you’re going to have to come across the real devil of our saga, which is Palpatine. So I think, in some ways, it was an inevitable encounter for Ezra. So we’ll see what that yields.”
Also of note, Ian McDiarmid, who played the character in the original and prequel trilogies, is providing the voice.
Throughout both Clone Wars and Rebels, the mythic, Star Wars version of an owl called a Convor has appeared. It also pops up not once but twice in this trailer. Obviously, Ezra straight-up addresses it, but there’s also one on the Daughter’s shoulder.
“Nothing is arbitrary, that’s for sure,” Filoni said when asked about the convor’s appearance. “Everything takes some consideration and thought by myself or a different artist. Everything is really nicely placed. And you know, who doesn’t like owls? There’re always fun.”
Yes, Kanan gets a haircut in this final half of the season. And though Hera might not like it, we do. But Filoni says the change in his appearance is not just a fashion statement.
“Haircuts and hair dyeing are are very big themes in Star Wars Rebels,” Filoni joked, referring not just to this but to Sabine and, of course, “Hot Kallus.”
But on a serious note, he added, “I like to make the characters kind of transform a bit as we move forward. I think it’s visually important and symbolic of where they’re at... I think it’s a thing with Kanan. He’s had a couple different looks that relate to you how comfortable he is with himself, who he is and where he that.”
Some of the coolest Star Wars links in the past year were the Rebels references in Rogue One, which led many to believe Rebels would eventually get to the Battle of Scarif, a.k.a. the final battle in Rogue One, by the series finale. Well, this trailer makes it clear that’s not going to happen and Filoni confirmed it.
“It is not something that I, or the creative team, felt strongly we needed to see in this particular series,” FIloni said. “I would also be showing the side of a battle that we already know the outcome of. And I could find ways to twist our heroes into that story, but I like respecting the filmmakers who made it. Their characters are the real heroes of that story. I don’t want to secondarily insert anybody into something and have that feel weird or semi-fraudulent. I’m sure there’s a story there [but] that particular story isn’t important to the story of Ezra Bridger, in the end.”
We asked Filoni what he wanted fans to take not just from the trailer, but going into the finish of the series.
I hope [fans are] excited to tune in and see where this all goes. I hope [the trailer] really whets their appetite and anticipation. I hope some of them watch it and are able to say to their friends “See! I told you this is where it’s going.” I hope some of them are like “Wow! I never thought that they would go to that place.”
I hope it runs the gamut of different expectations but, in the end, gets them to watch how this all comes together. I think the team has done a great job making this series happen. I’m very proud of this series and how it’s turning out. [But] the fans are the ultimate judge and I’m excited for them to see it.
It’s really the most fun time when they watch it. And you always have a little bit you’re worried about. Did you miss something? Some connection something that you meant to do? But I think we caught everything.
We’ll find out very soon. Star Wars Rebels returns February 19 with two new episodes, then continues February 26 and ends on March 5 with an extended finale.