All good things must one day come to an end. Star Wars Rebels still has a few good seasons left in it before the series finale, but it too will some day make way for different stories to come to the foreground. Of course, there’s a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before that ever happens, the most important of which are the Ghost crew themselves. We haven’t seen any of these characters in or during the original trilogy.. So where have they scarpered to?
Kanan and Ezra
Kanan and Ezra seem really simple. Considering both of them are better trained than Luke is in the entire trilogy, them being around during the original trilogy would greatly dilute Luke’s story. So they have to be dead, evil, or at the very least incapacitated. There’s a lot of ways it can play out, but it needs to be very clear why no-one in the Rebellion ever thought to point Luke towards Kanan and Ezra for some Jedi tips and tricks.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean all of our beloved main characters need to bite the bullet. Some of them would be able to keep going in the Star Wars universe without it feeling weird that they’re not mentioned by name in further canon material so far. One of these is Rex, who fan theories have already placed in Return of the Jedi as the character known in Legends as Nik Sant. I know Dave Filoni likes the idea (anyone who can provide me with a link for that would forever be in my gratitude!), so I think this actually has a good chance of being retconned in. Should he find it necessary to kill Rex at any point in the story though, I don’t think the Nik Sant connection will save him. So is Rex in Return of the Jedi? It’s entirely up to Filoni’s cruel, cruel mind!
Chopper is a wildcard whose destiny I don’t really foresee (perhaps he’ll just stick with Hera), but for the remaining three Spectres I think Lucasfilm might actually go with a route akin to the companions in that other space opera, Mass Effect. The ragtag group of misfits you can pick up in these games starts off as a collection of various outcasts, but through the deeds they perform in your service, they’re able to work themselves up to important positions. Several of them, like alien squadmates Urdnot Wrex and Tali’Zorah, even re-appear as leaders of their entire species.
The similarities between Wrex and Zeb are especially poignant. Both of them appear in their relative stories at the absolute low point of their lives. They’re struggling to stay alive, never mind retain their dignity. And the future of their race is very much uncertain.
But much like Wrex used his experiences in the first game to unite his people in an attempt to get the Krogan species in a better place, Zeb used his experiences with his Jedi friends to lead the last of the Lasat to their new (old) homeworld. And as an esteemed former member of the Lasat Honor Guard, it might fall upon Zeb to rally the remaining Lasat to take the battle to the Empire.
There might even be a place at his side for rival-turned-grudging ally Agent Kallus, who could use his regret about ordering the sack of Lasat into a powerful motivator to make up for his past mistakes.
Sabine is also showing signs of moving in this direction. After we’ve seen her best Fenn Rau in a duel last season, she has gained the respect of the Mandalorians at Concord Dawn. She’ll also obtain the ancient Mandalorian weapon, the Darksaber, later in season 3. With a definite return of Bo-Katan Kryze in the cards, repeated hints towards her parentage, and a new faction of Mandalorians working for the Empire… Something is definitely going down with the Mandalorians sometime in the future of Rebels. Could Sabine end up claiming the title of Mandalore to lead her people in the fight against the Empire’s tyrannical reign?
Lastly, there’s Hera, who could actually end up being important in multiple ways. There’s her seemingly obvious future as Phoenix Leader, which would be a fine position for her to be in without running into continuity issues.
However, she also has a direct line into Twi’lek leadership through her father, Cham Syndulla. A folk hero on Ryloth, he has always been a big part of the planet’s rebellion, but has never really trusted either the Republic or Rebel Alliance (and who can blame him? He was definitely right the first time!). Should he ever fall in battle, he could be succeeded by any of his closest partners…
..Or by his own flesh and blood. Hera, who believes in the Rebellion more than anyone in the Ghost crew, would be the perfect conduit for Ryloth and the Twi’leks to finally join forces with the Rebel Alliance properly.
I really hope at least some of this speculation pans out. It’s great that we’re clearly focusing on one classic Star Wars hero’s journey in Rebels, even if it’s happening with major ups and downs. It would be even greater if the smaller characters in the show were to have similar paths toward greatness. And it would make Rebels an important part of the Star Wars saga, setting up major players in the Galactic Civil War (who are detached enough from the general Rebel Alliance to be plausibly dealing with their own stuff during the films we all know and love). Moreover, it allows the characters to evolve into new and improved versions of themselves that will surely have a part to play in tv-shows, comics, and books for years to come. Bring it on!