When it comes to the film and television areas of the Star Wars universe, there have always been connections. OK, maybe “always” isn’t the correct word. The holiday special that aired on television certainly doesn’t count as canon. That aside, the characters from film and TV play in the same sandbox. But, since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the Story Group was created, synergy has become more important. A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller starred Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla and was out just before Star Wars Rebels premiered. Tarkin by James Luceno hit shelves not too long before the first appearance of Wilhuff Tarkin in Rebels. It’s all tied together, and that means it’s possible for characters from Star Wars Rebels to cross over into other mediums–even live-action films. Maybe more possible than we realized.
The seeds for this idea were planted at the Gareth Edwards panel at Star Wars Celebration. We learned the premise of the first Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One, and when it will take place. It’s about a rogue band of resistance fighters on a mission to steal plans for the Death Star, and the story unfolds between Episodes III and IV. Edwards said it was closer to IV. That puts it awfully close to Star Wars Rebels on the timeline since Rebels takes place five years before A New Hope. Lucasfilm’s Vice President of Development Kiri Hart was at the panel and when she was asked about the similar time period of Rebels and Rogue One, she said the Story Group is facilitating development for Rogue One, and they’re “very much aware that things are happening on the same parts of timeline.” She said there were opportunities there.
Given the role we’re seeing the crew of the Ghost play in the budding Rebel Alliance, it’s conceivable that their names would come up. Even though the cells are cloaked in secrecy to a degree, and even though the galaxy is large, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the resistance fighters in Rogue One come into contact with characters we know from Rebels.
Rebels executive producers Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni talked to /Film about whether we could see the rebels crossing over into live-action stories. Kinberg said, “Absolutely there’s been conversation about it. That this story could be a story that crosses over into other films, whether it’s A New Hope or other movies. And that movies could potentially even enter into our timeline and our moment. It’s a big galaxy. So, you know, things are happening all over the place that don’t necessarily have to react to each other, the way we react to news around the world.”
When asked about whether Rebels crew could appear in a live-action movie, Filoni said, “I would never say never to that. I mean, now that Lucasfilm is so integrated in story from top to bottom in all different forms of media, we already have had our characters cross over into novels. We’re gonna have our crossover into comic books. I would say it’s entirely possible. And I would encourage it.” Filoni added he’s talked to the creators of other films and made it clear the characters are up for grabs. Additionally, Kinberg stated at the Star Wars Rebels panel at Celebration that he and Filoni sit in the room with feature film writers and they contribute to each other’s projects. The doors are open.
As someone who became obsessed with the galaxy far, far away through Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I’m excited about the potential for characters created for The Clone Wars and Rebels to have a greater life beyond the series. They deserve to be introduced to a wider audience in the live-action films and can be used to connect the dots and expand the story for themselves and also for characters we already know. Think about how much more we’ve learned about Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader because of Ahsoka Tano. The possibilities are exciting.
Would you want to see Star Wars Rebels characters on the big screen? Which ones? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.