There are many mysteries left hanging in the Star Wars saga, vast reams of story left unexplained and just waiting for a book, or a TV show, or even another movie to explore these enigmas. The Star Wars canon has always reached far beyond the films themselves, and George Lucas's grand plan became story fodder for the old Expanded Universe. Yet, there are still many questions left unanswered.
In this new era of Disney/Lucasfilm canon, the execs are hard at work pulling all this story potential together. Pablo Hidalgo, chief of the Star Wars story group, is the king of canon, and he works together with the franchise's main writers and creators — Lawrence Kasdan, Gareth Edwards, and Dave Filoni to name but a few.
Essentially, there is a lot in the Star Wars saga that is canon, but has yet to be talked about explicitly onscreen. And at Star Wars Celebration last weekend, I was lucky enough to get the answer to one of the saga's most compelling mysteries, and what that means for the future of Star Wars: Rebels.
Lights In The Sky: How Force Users Find Each Other
Star Wars: Rebels, in case you're unaware, is a Disney XD show that ties into the Star Wars films, following a small rebel cell as they help to form the wider Rebel Alliance. It's a really interesting and exciting series, and it also provides a crucial connection to the previous animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, by reintroducing fan fave characters like Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul.
One of the main mysteries of Star Wars: Rebels Season 2 was just how the Inquisitors kept finding Ezra, Kanan, and the others on their missions. There were many theories posited by fans — like whether there was a spy in the Rebel Alliance — but the answer is much simpler than that... and it solves one of the major mysteries in the entire saga.
I spoke to Sam Witwer at Celebration, the actor who has portrayed Darth Maul ever since his return in The Clone Wars, and I asked him how Maul knew Ezra and the others would be visiting Malachor in the Rebels finale. This was his reply:
According to Witwer, who did assure me that his explanation was part of the mythology-building he and Filoni did when working on Rebels, it all comes down to how Force users sense each other's presence. Obviously this is something which is talked about a lot in the films, but we never knew exactly how it worked... until now.
Hiding From The Sith
Picture this: Everyone who uses the Force is a bright spot of light in a dark galaxy. The stronger they are in the Force, the brighter they shine. Back in the good old days of the Republic, the sky was filled with these stars, but thanks to Order 66 that sky slowly got darker and darker. Naturally, those that still use the Force stand out more, and it's easy to send people like Darth Vader or the Inquisitors to snuff out those last remaining stars.
Witwer used the example of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, explaining that this was the reason they were separated and never learned their heritage.
Had Luke and Leia been trained from birth, they would have shone brightly for years, making them a target for the Emperor and Darth Vader. Witwer continued, explaining Yoda and Obi Wan's original strategy for the Skywalker twins.
"The plan was to wait until they were about twenty and train them as fast as possible, so that they were these shining lights immediately... Yoda and Obi Wan would train these twins and they would have four knights to face down the Emperor."
This is something fans have wondered about for years, and while it has been hinted at in previous extended canon materials, it's good to have a definitive answer about this. But of course, the Skywalkers aren't the only Force sensitive people in the galaxy.
Maul's Grand Plan For Ezra
Because he was just a child when Order 66 happened, Kanan Jarrus never learned this part of Force lore. For all she taught him, Kanan's master didn't let him in on this method of eluding other Force users. And why would she — back in the Old Republic, the Jedi Order didn't know of the Sith menace until it was too late.
As Witwer explains, this means that Kanan and Ezra are "playing with fire". The more Kanan trains Ezra, the brighter his light shines, and the more obvious they both are to those who would hunt them down. It seems as though Maul was aware of Ezra long before he arrived on Malachor, and he used this method of tracking the budding Jedi to inform his grand plan. Because as we know, Maul is bent on turning Ezra to the Dark Side.
"The Sith are all about divining the future. They want to control things. And [Maul has] learned that from his master. He is able to anticipate that he needs to be in a specific location, and as soon as [Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka] arrived it was clear why he needed to be there."
This is definitely something that will be explored in Season 3, as although our heroes have evaded Maul once, he's back to biding his time and building up his power, ready for his eventual reunion with Ezra.
In the meantime, Ezra has the holochron, and there's no doubt that his use of the device will start to nudge him towards the Dark Side. Then of course there's that prophecy Kanan heard in the Jedi temple — that Ezra would fall to the Dark Side, and Kanan himself would die.
Season 3's gonna get dark, folks, and it will be one hell of a ride. Here's hoping that Kanan and Ezra finally work out that they need to lay low and use the Force less, or they'll be that much easier for Maul to find.