Return of the Jedi

Dave Filoni Explains Why Star Wars Rebels Steered Clear Of The Original Trilogy

Star Wars Rebels did an impressive job of telling its own story focusing on unofficial Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger and the crew of The Ghost and fitting it into the larger framework of the Star Wars saga. As it took place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, fans expected the fourth and final season to tee up directly with the beginning of the Original Trilogy. As it happened, though, the series finale ended things before the events of those films.

Star Wars Rebels did an impressive job of telling its own story focusing on unofficial Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger and the crew of The Ghost and fitting it into the larger framework of the Star Wars saga. As it took place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, fans expected the fourth and final season to tee up directly with the beginning of the Original Trilogy. As it happened, though, the series finale ended things before the events of those films.

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While speaking to CinemaBlend, showrunner Dave Filoni explained why he decided to keep Rebels separate. The challenge, it seems, was in giving Ezra his own hero’s journey but making sure that it stood apart from Luke Skywalker’s own fight against the Empire. This meant that Filoni and his writers had to continually plan ahead and make sure they were telling a unique story that didn’t step on the toes of the classic movies.

“Well, it’s really something you plan way ahead of time, and while I didn’t know the exact ending, I always had a target where I wanted to get to. In Season 1 and Season 2, I used to start the big story meetings we had with ‘Where are we going with this?’ And they’re like ‘By the end of the season?’ I’m like, ‘No, by the end of the show. Where are we going with this? Where do we need to get to? What are we trying to say?’ Because each season has to kind of build towards that and the truth is and I don’t know if people like this, but you never really exactly know because so much is going to change between the first point and the last point.

Continuing on, he said:

You generally know this kid needs to save his friends, his family, his people from the Empire, and the hardest question was how do you do that because we know Luke Skywalker does that. I didn’t want to go through too far into the original trilogy. I wanted the story to kind of sit apart in its own space. There were some framework challenges and things that we knew but you really kind of sit down with a talented group of people and you just brainstorm for ideas with a general angle of mind and you come up with great things, if you’re lucky, and I think we were pretty lucky and certain things fell into place.”

All that said, Rebels was never short on callbacks to both the Original Trilogy and the prequels. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia and even Luke himself all showed up for supporting or cameo roles across its four seasons. Darth Maul was also resurrected following his apparent demise in The Phantom Menace, a fact that was later introduced into the movies in Solo: A Star Wars Story. 

With Star Wars Rebels now finished, Filoni’s curiously moving in two directions along the franchise’s timeline. Thanks to Disney’s streaming service, he’s getting to finish The Clone Wars after it was prematurely cancelled in 2014, while Star Wars Resistance is also on the way, taking place prior to the Sequel Trilogy.


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Christian Bone
Christian Bone is a Staff Writer/Editor at We Got This Covered and has been cluttering up the internet with his thoughts on movies and TV for over a decade, ever since graduating with a Creative Writing degree from the University of Winchester. As Marvel Beat Leader, he can usually be found writing about the MCU and yet, if you asked him, he'd probably say his favorite superhero film is 'The Incredibles.'