Ahsoka Tano was already one of Star Wars best characters when she made her live-action debut on The Mandalorian. Her journey from Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan who left the Jedi Order to a famous Rebel is legendary in the galaxy far, far away. Her story is not over, though. Rosario Dawson will return as the honorable Togruta on her own Disney+ spinoff, Ahsoka, where she will hunt down an old enemy, Grand Admiral Thrawn. That’s the very same Imperial officer the Shadow Council is hoping returns. We know he’s returning and that Lars Mikkelsen will also play the iconic villain on the show. With few equals, he’s an imposing enemy.
Good thing she’ll have some help in dealing with him. He’s not the only character from Star Wars Rebels who will appear on the series. What other famous figures from the animated show are also returning to the franchise? And who else might join them? These are all the characters from Star Wars Rebels who you need to know before Ahsoka.
The Twi’lek Hera Syndulla was a great and renowned hero who followed in her father’s footsteps as a freedom fighter. She served as commander and pilot of the Ghost, the Rebel cell ship at the heart of Star Wars Rebels. The practical but compassionate Hera was a mother figure to the crew known as Spectres. Thanks to her the Ghost‘s crew was also among the very first cells to join the Rebel Alliance when it officially formed. Her dedication to the cause, bravery, skills, tactical mind, undercover work, and ability to sense a trap made her an invaluable member to the Rebellion. She continued fighting until the Empire fell.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Hera on Ahsoka.
The love of Hera’s life was the brave, funny, often cantankerous Kanan Jarrus, a Jedi whose real name was Caleb Dume. He survived Order 66 as a young Padawan but forsook the Jedi way and went into hiding. His life and attitude forever changed after he met Hera and joined her aboard the Ghost. There he served as her second-in-command. Despite his own incomplete training, he served as Master to Ezra Bridger after the Force-sensitive youngster joined the team. Haunted by his past, Kanan struggled as Ezra’s teacher. Darth Maul blinded him in a duel, but eventually, Kanan learned to see through the Force thanks to a unique being named Bendu (more on him below).
His story seemingly ended when he sacrificed himself to save his fellow Spectres—a scene The Mandalorian season three finale paid tribute to. However, Kanan manifested as part of the Cosmic Force as a huge Loth-wolf named Dume who guided Ezra.
While Kanan is dead, it’s possible we will see him in the past on Ahsoka via a portal found in the World Between Worlds.
Kanan’s memory also lived on with his green-haired son Jacen, born after his father died. Introduced during Star Wars Rebels‘ final moments, Jacen was seen flying with his mother Hera in the Ghost. Little is known of Jacen’s life post Rebels, but he was considered a member of the ship’s crew at an early age (Spectre 7).
It’s possible Jacen was present during the Battle of Exegol in The Rise of Skywalker (set decades after Ahsoka). The Ghost was not only among the countless ships that arrived to fight Palpatine, Jacen was “born to fly just like his mother.”
We don’t have to wonder if Star Wars Rebels most lovable warrior with anger issues will make his live-action debut on Ahsoka. Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios made a surprise appearance at a New Republic Rangers base during The Mandalorian‘s third season, voiced by Steve Blum. You can read more about the Lasat in our primer on the big fearsome lug, who we fully expect to see return on Ahsoka. As a member of the Ghost and a hero with experience fighting Thrawn, his fellow Spectres will likely need his help once more.
The Ghost had its own Mandalorian, the artist and warrior Sabine Wren. She grew up on Mandalore under Imperial control and trained as a cadet for the Empire. When the Empire used a machine she helped design and build against her people she became disillusioned with them, but her family exiled her. She fled her home world and eventually joined the Ghost, where she served until briefly returning home to help free Mandalore alongside her family and other clans under Bo-Katan Kryze. Sabine was the person who gave Lady Kryze the Darksaber the first time.
Sabine Wren, who loved her crew mates but spent a lot of time by herself, was a great fighter capable of improvising under duress. She created beautiful works of art wherever she went (even during raids on the Empire), and became close friends with Ezra Bridger, whom she set out to find with Ahsoka Tano during Star Wars Rebels‘ last scene.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo will play Sabine Wren on Ahsoka.
Ezra Bridger’s Jedi training under Kanan Jarrus was difficult, and not just because of Kanan’s own insecurities and fears. The orphan who had lived as a small time thief and conman briefly developed a relationship with Darth Maul, who hoped to lure Ezra to the dark side. Maul (as well as Palpatine) failed, and Ezra became a hero of both the galaxy and his home world of Lothal, the planet at the center of Star Wars Rebels.
During his time aboard the Ghost he formed a close personal relationship with each of his Spectres, even if he did often frustrate them with his pranks and childishness. But as he matured he became a more dependable friend, Rebel, and Jedi Padawan—a far cry from the untrusting kid he had once been.
Ezra also had special connections with Force-sensitive animals, including Loth-wolves and purrgil. He used those mystical space whales to save his home planet during the show’s finale. They whisked both him and Grand Admiral Thrawn into unknown hyperspace, freeing Lothal of the Imperial blockade that threatened to destroy it. His friend Sabine Wren later realized the final part of Ezra’s secret plan involved her finding him.
At the start of Ahsoka Ezra will still be missing, but we know he’ll appear eventually. Eman Esfandi will play the heroic Jedi on the show.
Kanan Jarrus had all but given up on the Force after Darth Maul blinded him. He found his way back to it on the planet Atollon thanks to a wise, very old, gigantic, bearded, moose/bear-like Force-sensitive creature named Bendu. Calling himself the “center of the Force,” the powerful figure refused to serve either the Jedi or the Sith. Instead he opted to remain neutral in all things. That didn’t prevent him from guiding Force-sensitive beings through their problems. He helped both Kanan and Ezra in their training and helped repair their relationship.
Despite his age, wisdom, and knowledge, Bendu—one of Star Wars most unusual and enigmatic characters—could also fly into a rage. When he did, he created huge storms.
Chopper and AP-5
The Ghost‘s last original member was the sassy and sarcastic astromech droid Chopper (a.k.a. C1-10P or “Chop”). Loyal droid of Hera, Chopper also worked as the ship’s mechanical engineer. While often ornery and difficult, Chopper was a dedicated and important member of the Spectres. He also briefly appeared in Rogue One.
Rebels other beloved droid was the former Imperial RA-7 protocol droid AP-5. Grumpy, put-upon, and sarcastic, AP-5 is Star Wars‘ answer to Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Despite his demeanor, AP-5 served the Rebellion ably. After the Ghost freed him AP-5 worked for Phoenix Cell, the larger Rebel cell the Spectres had joined.
One of Star Wars Rebels‘ greatest villains became one of its greatest heroes. Agent Alexsandr Kallus, former Captain of the Imperial Security Bureau recognizable for his signature sideburns, spent years fighting insurgents, especially on Lothal. But he had a change of heart after working with Zeb Orrelios to survive on a desolate frozen moon. That led Kallus to reevaluate his loyalties, resulting in him taking up the mantle of Fulcrum, a name used by high-level Rebel spies (one previously used by Ahsoka and Cassian Andor.
Thrawn eventually discovered the treachery, but Kallus escaped the Grand Admiral’s clutches. In Rebels‘ finale, after Palpatine’s defeat, his friend Zeb showed Kallus he had not destroyed the Lasat people. Zeb took Kallus to a hidden planet in unchartered space where the Lasat had made a new world.
Clone Soldiers Captain Rex and Wolffe
The Spectres joined forces with three surviving clone soldiers on Rebels. Two of them, Captain Rex and Wolffe, were still alive at the end of the show. Captain Rex had famously served as second-in-command of the 501st legion under Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. He became a trusted friend of Ahsoka Tano, and she removed his inhibitor chip after Order 66.
By the time Ahsoka sent the Spectres to meet with the bald, bearded Rex, he was living in secret with two other clones. That included a former soldier who served under Jedi General Plo Koon, Wolffe. His chip had also long ago been deactivated, but he still carried the scar that cost him his right eye.
The Clone Wars‘ legendary pirate leader was far more of an independent contractor by the time period covered on Star Wars Rebels. He was still as untrustworthy, greedy, charming, and lovable as ever. And he was also an unlikely friend of Ezra Bridger, which is why Ahsoka seems like the best possible time for Hondo Ohnaka to make his long overdue live-action debut. (At least on-screen. His animatronic is already a part of Galaxy’s Edge.)
The last surviving Mandalorian Protector once served the Empire’s hand-picked leader of Mandalore. That brought Fenn Rau into direct conflict with the crew of the Ghost. The talented pilot and dangerous fighter ended up a prisoner of the Rebellion, but he eventually joined the Alliance after Sabine Wren earned his respect and he learned his fellow Protectors had all been slaughtered. He then stood with Bo-Katan in the fight to reclaim Mandalore. While we would have expected to see him on The Mandalorian, his connection with Sabine and her fellow Spectres make him a candidate to appear on Ahsoka.
Fenn Rau isn’t the only famous Mandalorian waiting for their live-action debut. Sabine’s mother Ursa, leader of House Wren, reunited with her daughter on Rebels before supporting Bo-Katan’s uprising against the Empire on Mandalore. Ursa is a fearsome matriarch highly protective of her family and her people.
Bonus The Clone Wars Character – Professor Huyang
One animated character we know will appear on the Rosario Dawson-led show didn’t appear on Rebels. The ancient droid Professor Huyang was seen on The Clone Wars fulfilling his long-time role as lightsaber instructor to Padawans. He aided them in constructing their weapons after they had acquired their very own kyber crystals.
Huyang already appeared in an Ahsoka trailer. Lucasfilm has since confirmed David Tennant will once again voice the droid who has a database of every lightsaber ever made.
Of course, this is just a brief summary of what you need to know about these important figures. If you want to know more you have time to watch/rewatch Star Wars Rebels before Ahsoka debuts on Disney+ this August.
That’s when we’ll find out what other famous faces from the galaxy far, far away will join the hunt for Thrawn.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike, and also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.