This morning, Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni dropped a single link to Entertainment Weekly into his twitter feed -- and almost immediately, the fandom figured it out. The second half of the show’s new season promises to be intense, packed with action, and heart-wrenching. Check it out before the recap:
This won’t be your standard recap, by the way: We already know about Ezra’s interesting lightsaber, so I’m focusing on the way this trailer connects to the larger universe, including all of the new books and comics that have released as of recent. Here’s how it all connects:
The Return of Cham Syndulla
The Twi’lek freedom fighter first debuted in The Clone Wars, where he assisted the Jedi in hopes of freeing his planet from enslavement. This plan didn’t pan out so well, as evidenced by the Lords of the Sith novel, where we find Cham still struggling to free his people -- now from the clutches of the Empire. Despite his squad’s somewhat fatal loss against both Vader and Palpatine, Cham survives -- all the way into the Rebels era.
What makes Cham’s appearance particularly interesting is how his relationship with his daughter, Hera Syndulla, will play out. Last year, I interviewed the talented Vanessa Marshall, who lends her voice to the younger Syndulla in Rebels, and she had brought up an interesting note on their relationship:
You’ll learn more about her piloting, and how she came to be such a good pilot. You’ll also learn about her family history, with her father, Cham — and it’s really exciting to have him come back and get a greater sense of why she risks everything for this cause, and why she wouldn’t do it by her Dad’s side.
It’s been a loaded answer that I’ve been waiting to see in action for almost a year, and even before that, when it was confirmed that Cham was Hera’s father. Family drama’s a-brewin’...
Golden Sabers and the Temple
An interesting visual callback to some of my favorite martial arts films introduced new, white-clad characters who wield yellow lightsabers. What’s particularly interesting about these folks is the fact that, between their yellow lightsabers and coordinated fighting style, they remind me of the Jedi Sentinels from the Expanded Universe (Now: Legends) line of stories, comics, and games.
Many fans believe that these guys are Jedi Temple guards, and that they're appearing in a vision that Kanan has.
There are quite a few different factions and groups popping up on the sidelines of the Force: we still don’t know everything about the Inquisitors, the Acolytes of the Beyond that appeared in the Aftermath novel remain a mystery, and we're still in the dark when it comes to who the Knights of Ren (beyond Kylo Ren) are, or their true motives. Seeing another group joining the fray, particularly with a saber color that was thought to be put into canonical limbo, is pretty exciting.
Ezra’s struggle against the dark side has been touched upon in big ways before, but it looks like things are about to get intense. One of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars prequels, Darth Maul, lived on through The Clone Wars and a still-canon comic series distributed by Dark Horse. For years, fans have felt that Maul had to be out there -- more deranged than ever after the events of The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars -- and Ezra’s new “Old Master” looks pretty familiar.
So when Ezra picks up a bright, red, synthetic crystal and looks up into those scalding yellow eyes, it’s not hard for a long-time Maul fan to cheer. After all this time, one of the most intense, terrifying Sith to roam the galaxy is back, and he’s here to take on a very impressionable apprentice. Can Ezra fight the dark side, or will he succumb to its power? Or -- is this just another vision?
The trailer is packed with what seems like hundreds of other moments, including an emotional exchange between Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano -- former Master and Apprentice -- confirming Ahsoka’s suspicions about the Sith Lord. The reunion (and the very likely ensuing battle) is one of the most anticipated moments of Season 2, and going into the second half of this season, it looks like fans are in for a few (very intense, emotional) treats.