Star Wars Rebels season 4 will feature many treats for fans of the franchise to enjoy. As the narrative heads ever closer to the events of A New Hope, more characters from the Star Wars movies will make appearances in the popular animated series.
For starters, Saw Gerrera will turn up to aid the Rebels, with Rogue One’s Forest Whitaker reprising his role, and Grand Moff Tarkin is set to re-appear as well with, as the recent trailer told us, a new project up his sleeve – something called ‘Operation: Stardust’ (three guesses as to what that is).
One classic character who won’t be showing his ugly, disfigured face in season 4, however, is the Emperor himself. Showrunner Dave Filoni revealed the news while attending Fan Expo over the weekend, according to this post from Star Wars Underworld reporter Benjamin Hart.
Dave Filoni confirmed at Fan Expo that Palpatine's not in season 4.
— Benjamin Hart (@BenHartWithNoE) October 1, 2017
This isn’t too surprising for fans of the series, as the Emperor’s never had a big presence on Rebels. In fact, he’s only indirectly appeared – via holograms or voiceovers – on a couple of occasions. Both times, he was voiced with an uncanny impression of Ian McDiarmid by Sam Witwer (who plays Darth Maul on the show).
Likewise, it makes sense within the Star Wars universe, too. At this point in the timeline, the Rebel Alliance has yet to become the serious threat it that would be during the events of the Original Trilogy, so Palpatine wouldn’t fear his enemy enough to intervene himself.
Not that the absence of Darth Sidious will mean that Ezra, Hera, Sabine and the rest of the Ghost crew will have it easy in season 4, mind you. Following on from his introduction in season 3, Grand Admiral Thrawn will continue to hunt our heroes down. Prolific Star Wars actor Warwick Davis is also joining the cast as Rukh, an assassin Thrawn hires as his bodyguard.
Furthermore, it hasn’t been confirmed, but we’d also suspect that Darth Vader will return to the show at some point this season. As Ahsoka Tano’s set to re-appear, it would make a lot of sense for her former master to follow her back onto the scene, too.
Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD for its fourth and final season on October 16th.