Early Plans For Star Wars Rebels Would Have Seen It Tie Into Rogue One

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Star Wars Rebels wrapped up earlier this year after its fourth season came to an end. The animated series carved out its own place in the Star Wars universe and turned original characters like Ezra, Hera and Kanan into fan favorites. At an early stage of development, however, the show could have hued a lot closer to the Original Trilogy.

Speaking to ComicBook.com, showrunner Dave Filoni explained that the production team initially discussed having the crew of The Ghost set about going after the plans for the Death Star, in order to tie into A New Hope. However, when Rogue One came out and covered the same area, Filoni decided that he wanted Rebels to tell its own complete story and not just be one piece in a bigger jigsaw puzzle.

“There were some really early on conversations with Rebels about it being it about them finding the Death Star plans. But as Rogue One came about and took shape, it was obvious we weren’t gonna do that story,” Filoni detailed to ComicBook.com. “I didn’t wanna do that story, frankly, honestly, with Rebels because I thought I don’t want their whole existence to just serve and hand off to another part of the plot. I want it to be its own story about this kid.”

Filoni then went on to explain that, for him, Rebels mostly ties into the wider Star Wars galaxy in terms of thematic parallels to the classic films. In particular, Ezra’s journey to hero and enemy of the Empire mirrors Luke Skywalker’s, something that caused him some trouble as to how to make sure their arcs didn’t overlap.

“In the first episode, you see a kid on a planet oppressed by an empire. So, the promise of that kid’s journey is probably that he will overcome that, and save the people there. That’s a really hard goal when we know, if you’re an experienced fan, that Luke Skywalker does that for the whole galaxy. So the question becomes how do we solve that particular story problem. How does Ezra have a significant win? How does he save his friends and people.”

Finally, Filoni added that he had to credit fellow producer Simon Kinberg for helping him focus his ideas for Rebels and making it into more of a show fueled by the family dynamic of its band of heroes. The writer explained that this element was invaluable to how both the series and Ezra’s storyline developed.

“Simon Kinberg really, I think, helped focus my story efforts because he was always adamant about the family aspect of the show. That this is this kid, and it’s about his family. And through that, over time we started to connect the dots about the importance of that family, and his birth parents versus his new family and his new parents, and Kanan and Hera. The story grew out of that, for what he is attached to, and what he needs to let go of. How his friends become more a part of his life. You kind of build to the point, and, in the end, we got where I wanted it to be in the beginning, which was he saves his friends significantly, and the planet Lothol from the Empire.”

Though Star Wars Rebels mostly decided to steer clear of Rogue One connections, it did feature a few references to the prequel movie, including a nod to Grand Moff Tarkin’s plans for “Operation: Stardust” – the codeword for the Death Star. What’s more, Rogue One returned the favor by including a bunch of easter eggs to the TV show, which, of course, were much appreciated by the cast and crew.

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