‘Rebels’ Character Returns to ‘Star Wars’ After Actor Exits Franchise

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The Rebels mural in 'Ahsoka'

Credit: Lucasfilm

Now that Ahsoka (2023) has finally arrived on Disney+ with two episodes under its belt, “Part One: Master and Apprentice” and “Part Two: Toil and Trouble”, it’s fair to say that it really is the live-action sequel to Star Wars: Rebels (2014 — 2018) we were all hoping for.

The latest series from Disney and Lucasfilm’s Mando-Verse, which follows The Mandalorian (2019) and The Book of Boba Fett (2021), brings Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) center stage, as she leads a number of Rebels characters, who had previously only been seen in animation, into a brewing war against the remnants of the Galactic Empire.

Hera Syndulla in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Mandalorian graffiti artist and Jedi padawan Sabine Wren is played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Twi’lek war general Hera Syndulla is brought to life in live action by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Astromech droid chopper is once again voiced by Dave Filoni. Though not a Rebel, Lars Mikkelsen also reprises his role as Grand Admiral Thrawn.

However, there are three Rebels characters who are absent from the show — for now, at least. One of them is Jedi Ezra Bridger, who appears only via hologram in the first episode, and is played by Eman Esfandi. While Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren are continuing their search for Ezra, it remains to be seen whether he’ll have a substantial role in the series.

In fact, it’s possible he’ll be side-lined in favor of Sabine, while the runtimes for subsequent episodes may also pose a problem for the character.

Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Another is Lasat warrior, Zeb Orrelios. Fortunately, we’ve already seen Zeb in live action, in The Mandalorian Season 3 episode, “Chapter 21: The Pirate”, with Rebels voice actor Steve Blum reprising his role. The problem is that Zeb hasn’t appeared in any of the marketing for Ahsoka, so it’s possible he won’t show up, either.

He does, however, make an appearance in the first two episodes, in the form of a mural that has been built on Lothal to honor the Ghost crew for their efforts in saving Lothal from Thrawn’s Imperial forces many years before, as seen in the Rebels Season 4 finale “Family Reunion — and Farewell.” And among the Ghost crew on the mural is, of course, Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus/Caleb Dume (Freddie Prinze Jr.).

Zeb Orrelios from Rebels in The Mandalorian Season 3
Credits: Lucasfilm

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Earlier this year, when asked if he would be appearing in Ahsoka, Freddie Prinze Jr. said he was done playing the character of Kanan Jarrus in the Star Wars franchise.

In an interview on Kristian Harloff’s YouTube channel, the actor commented on his very brief role in Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (2019), in which he appears only as the voice of the dead Jedi, alongside many returning actors/characters.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to do that either,” he said, referring to the fact he had reprised his role as a young Caleb Dume in Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021). “I was asked as a favor and I feel like all my — all their favors are used up now.”

While it also remains to be seen whether Kanan will appear in Ahsoka, whether in a flashback sequence or as a Force Ghost, the Rebels mural is nice little nod to the character.

As per Disney and Lucasfilm, here’s the official trailer for Ahsoka:

Ahsoka stars Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka Tano), Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Sabine Wren), Eman Esfandi (Ezra Bridger), Lars Mikkelsen (Grand Admiral Thrawn), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Hera Syndulla), Genevieve O’Reilly (Mon Mothma), Ivanna Sakhno (Shin Hati), Diana Lee Inosanto (Morgan Elsbeth), and the late Ray Stevenson (Baylan Skoll).

The first two episodes of Ahsoka are now streaming on Disney+. New episodes will be available to stream every Tuesday, with the eighth and final episode airing on October 3.

Did you like this clever nod to Rebels? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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