Eagle-eyed Star Wars Rebels fans noticed a VCX-100 light freighter amid the ships in trailers for Rogue One and word flew through the fandom we might be seeing Hera Syndulla’s ship, The Ghost. We didn’t know what it meant or how Rebels would connect to Rogue One, but The Ghost and the Hammerhead Corvette beside it, likely one of the three Princess Leia "lost" during her trip to Lothal in Season 2, pretty much guaranteed a connection.
Now that the movie's out, the Rogue One/Rebels connections have been confirmed by Lucasfilm Story Group’s Matt Martin. Not only did The Ghost make multiple appearances, but that's definitely Chopper in the hangar bay at Yavin 4, and you did hear “General Syndulla” paged.
The initial question of "Which Syndulla?" was answered by Dave Filoni during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, and he's confirmed that was definitely Hera being paged.
General Hera Syndulla. Sounds good, right?
However, the connections between Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels don't end there. Since the movie came out, new Star Wars books have been released. Additionally, the trailer for the midseason premiere of Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels shows Saw Gererra looking a little younger, and a lot less mechanized than he does in Rogue One. Rebels started 5 years out from the events in Star Wars: Episode IV. According Martin, we're roughly two years out from the Rogue One timeline.
Filoni also told EW he's been thinking about the Scarif battle and how it would look from the Rebels point of view, which would make a lot of sense. The rest of Season 3 sure looks like it's leading up to a Maul/Kenobi showdown, but it's definitely plausible to think Season 4 (I'm just gonna be optimistic here) will set our rebels on the path to the events at Scarif. How much more beyond the battle will likely be determined by events at the battle (THEY NOT GONNA DIE, THEY BETTER NOT!).
It's safe to say, given the overlap, that connections between Rebels and Rogue One are going to become more numerous. Some of them we've already learned about.
This new promo by Disney XD wholeheartedly embraces the crossover from Rogue One to Rebels and Saw's upcoming appearance in the two-part midseason premiere "Ghosts Of Geonosis", and gives us our first look at Saw in the gap between his actions on Onderon in The Clone Wars and his time on Jedha in Rogue One.
It's one thing to know Saw Gererra lost his sister to the Separatists during The Clone Wars and you can certainly see the level of extremism in his fight against the Empire in Rogue One, but the time in between is still a story to tell. It's the Saw Gererra we'll see on Rebels that will give us the best insight into what Saw ultimately became. Whitaker was committed to making his animated turn at the character as interesting as the on-screen version, making sure to watch Saw's episodes of The Clone Wars and getting details on the character from Filoni.
This interview also includes some hints and gives you an idea of the depth of research Whitaker did.
I can tell you, after screening the midseason premiere, you can see the work that went into the performance. The Saw Gerrera we meet is someone we haven't met yet. At the same time, he's someone you instantly want to know even more about. The animators have also had fun with this new version. I can't say much but watch the eyes.
In regard to the episode itself, go back and watch "The Honorable Ones." It's a good way to get up to speed on what the rebels know about Geonosis to date. More movie to series connections can be seen between the prequels (battle droids) and Rogue One (the drawing in the dirt). Looks familiar, right?
While I'm spitballing, does anyone else think events on Rebels are going to be part of the reason Saw looks the way he does in Rogue One? Call it wild speculation, but Saw's been known to put himself in danger without considering the consequences before.
We've Already Had Characters Cross Over.
Star Wars Rebels has already been connected to Star Wars Episode III through Episode IV thanks to appearances by Bail and Leia Organa, as well as Tarkin and Vader. All four of those characters are also in Rogue One. Obi-Wan Kenobi has already made an appearance on Rebels (in a manner of speaking), and thanks to the new midseason trailer, we know he'll be returning in a major way.
Some of us have been waiting for a Kenobi v. Maul showdown for a long time. A long time.
We now know Mon Mothma will be popping up, so that's another one. We also know Bail Organa's back, as are the Y-Wings the rebels liberated from Reklam Station later seen in Rogue One (I'm pretty sure I also spotted General Jan Dodonna). There's a "blink and you'll miss it" look at Wedge Antilles, and I still think we'll see a newly minted Senator Leia Organa.
On a side note, I'm dying to know more about Sabine's mother.
As for my "I'm going way out on a limb here" theory? Boba Fett. Given his previous inclusion in The Clone Wars, Sabine's Mandalorian storyline, and the Darksaber, I'm thinking we'll see him pop up.
Hints From Other Sources.
ScreenCrush's Kevin Fitzpatrick spotted information in the Star Wars Rogue One Visual Guide that identifies one of Cassian Andor's aliases as Fulcrum.
At this point, we know Fulcrum isn't just one person, but a code name given to several sources within the Rebellion, so nothing guarantees an actual appearance by Cassian. But, you never know. Personally, I think we'll hear him before we ever see him, but the connection remains as a nice reference across the overall timeline.
We also garner a couple of hints from the Star Wars Rogue One Rebel Dossier. In a communique to General Draven, Mon Mothma tempers his concerns about Jyn Erso by reminding him that both Cassian Andor and Hera Syndulla came into the Rebellion seeking a sense of purpose and belonging. Additionally, the Rebel Dossier refers to the search for more information on the Empire's secret weapon as Operation Fracture.
It's not a stretch to think both Mon Mothma and Operation Fracture will thread into the Star Wars Rebels story as we go forward.
Dave Filoni is notorious for his ability to change the subject or evade the question entirely when someone asks for details on upcoming storylines, but every once in a while, he drops a hint. It often feels like a bombshell because of the rarity, so I'm positively giddy over the information he's let slide recently.
More than one member of the Lucasfilm Story Group was on set and Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta has written several Star Wars Rebels episodes. Whether I'm wrong or right about any of this stuff, the bigger picture remains; we're seeing Star Wars interconnect across multiple mediums these days and, thanks to the Lucasfilm Story Group, we're seeing those connections play out in new and interesting ways.
Ultimately, the connective tissue between Rebels and Rogue One has already been built. You could definitely stick to just watching the films, or just watching the animated series, but the value in this new level of storytelling is the richness it provides for the overall Star Wars saga. Deeper storylines, multiple perspectives, and more access to different types of fans can only help grow the fandom and keep the Star Wars franchise healthy and growing.
Rebels has a chance to answer questions many fans have been asking for years (decades even). What happened to Maul? Did all the Jedi really die? We know Luke mentions watching to go to the Academy in A New Hope, so did he know what that really meant? How did the Rebellion grow into, well, the Rebellion? The Empire managed to keep people in the dark about many of their activities. Luke found the droids which led him to Ben and then the Rebellion. That happened for hundreds of people. These are the things I wonder about and Rebels has a perspective that offers answers while also being a really great show on top of it.
In other words, if you haven't seen Rebels and you love Star Wars and Rogue One, Season 3 is definitely worth getting caught up for. All signs point to this being some of the best Star Wars in the entire Saga to date.
Star Wars Rebels "Ghosts Of Geonosis" airs January 7th at 8:30 pm PT/EST on Disney XD.