Bo-Katan, Cad Bane, Ahsoka Tano, and the Grand Inquisitor. Disney+ Star Wars’ shows are where some of the franchise’s best animated characters have made their live-action debuts. Now The Mandalorian‘s “Chapter 21” has delivered another big introduction with Star Wars Rebels‘ Zeb, the fearsome Lasat warrior, who didn’t stop fighting even after the Empire fell. He joined the New Republic’s Rangers. It’s a good thing he did, too. His old friends from the Ghost will soon join him in making the move to live-action, and they’ll need help fighting a very dangerous enemy from their past.
Who Is The Mandalorian‘s Zeb?
Garazeb Orrelios, better known as Zeb, was once a Captain of the Honor Guard on his native world of Lasan. After the Empire destroyed the planet it appeared as though Zeb was last surviving Lasat in the galaxy.
His deep hatred for the Empire led Zeb to serve on the Ghost. On Star Wars Rebels he lived and fought alongside his friends Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Ezra Bridger. The rebel cell—who also worked closely with Ahsoka Tano—played a significant the Rebellion in the years preceding the events of A New Hope.
At nearly 6’9” Zeb ( voiced by Steve Blum both in animation and on The Mandalorian) was both an imposing foe and friend. Quick-tempered and even quicker to fight, Zeb’s ornery personality, impatience, and impulsive behavior often had him clashing with even his closest allies.
That was especially true of Ezra Bridger, the Jedi Padawan who enjoyed needling his large colleague with pranks and jokes. Eventually, though, the two developed a strong friendship. The gruff Zeb also had a playful side. Combined with his dry sense of humor he could give as good as he got. And the two always looked after one another, including when they got themselves into trouble.
But while his serious exterior accentuated his natural strength and ferocious fighting skills, it also hid a compassionate and loyal heart. Zeb was a dedicated Rebel who cared greatly for anyone suffering under the Empire. He was driven to help and fight by both his animosity for the Empire and his personal feelings of failure and guilt over not saving his home planet and fellow Lasats. Zeb kept a bag of Lasan dust in his private Ghost quarters to remember his planet and his fallen people.
What Happened to Zeb After Star Wars Rebels?
The Ghost fought in the Galactic Civil War. The ship (and presumably at least some of its original crew) also appeared during the Battle of Exegol in The Rise of Skywalker. But Star Wars Rebels‘ primary story ended before that. The show’s main plot concluded with the Ghost crew helping to save Ezra’s home planet Lothal from Grand Admiral Thrawn.
However, the series finale did reveal what awaited the famed Rebels once Emperor Palpatine fell. Zeb brought Kallus, the man who destroyed Lasan, to a secret planet. The former Imperial Security Bureau officer-turned-Rebel did not kill every other Lasat. Other surviving members of Zeb’s race had created a new home on Lira San. After years of thinking he had failed his people, Zeb knew they were safe and thriving. He also knew he had served them honorably.
That was Zeb’s last on-screen moment in Star Wars before his live-action debut as a pilot with the New Republic Rangers at the Adelphi station in the Outer Rim. Now we know it didn’t take long for him to leave Lira San behind (if he ever stayed there at all). He served the New Republic just as he had served the Rebellion. It’s a good thing he did, too. In Star Wars “no one’s ever really gone.” That includes both your closest friends and your greatest enemies.
The Return of Star Wars Rebels‘ Ghost and Grand Admiral Thrawn on Ahsoka
Zeb is the first member of the Ghost crew to make his live-action debut in the franchise with The Mandalorian. (The first living member, at least. The Ghost’s droid Chopper appeared in Rogue One.) It won’t be long before we get more, though. Ahsoka will feature both Hera Syndulla and Sabine Wren. The show will also answer one of Star Wars‘ most enduring questions: what happened to Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn? The two disappeared with purrgil into hyperspace. Rebels ended with Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano going out to search for their friend. And when Ahsoka made her own live-action debut on The Mandalorian, she did so hunting for Thrawn.
Both Ezra and Thrawn will also appear on the spinoff series. But Thrawn might already be playing a major role in the events of the galaxy far, far away. He might have ordered the attack on Bo-Katan’s castle. He might also have helped Moff Gideon escape the New Republic’s grasp. A powerful figure is still serving the Empire in the shadows on The Mandalorian. Few Imperial officers were ever as capable of doing that like Thrawn.
Whether Thrawn’s already back or on his way, though, doesn’t matter. The New Republic will need all the help they can get stopping him. It’s a good thing Zeb, one of the best, most lovable, most heroic characters in Star Wars animation history, is already on the job in The Mandalorian.
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.