When The Clone Wars cartoon was ended after Disney bought Lucasfilm, it left a couple of threads unfinished. What happens to Maul and the Dark Saber? What happens to Ahsoka after Order 66? Over the last two seasons of Rebels we’ve learned a bit about this with Maul returning and Ahsoka turning out to be Fulcrum in addition to getting to know new characters. Based on the trailer and announcements from Star Wars Celebration Europe we know the Rebels development team is going to continue to develop those stories as well as try to bring legends back, specifically Thrawn. Let’s now explore how Rebels Season 3 will resurface these questions and expand the Star Wars universe.
Thrawn has long been revered by fans as one of the great EU characters from what is considered by most to be the best EU books, The Trawn Trilogy from Timothy Zhan. It was the first set of novels released since Splinter of the Minds Eye and introduced many of the new characters that would dominate post RotJ EU for the next two decades but its main villain Thrawn stood out. He was unique, methodical, intelligent and was attempting to restore order. He did not act for his own glory and was not evil, if he was on the side of the Rebels/Republic he would have considered as important as Leia, Luke, or Han. This could be just the beginning of Thrawn being part of the new canon…
So where does that leave Thrawn for the new canon and Rebels specifically? First we know that Zhan is coming back to write a novel about Thrawn’s early life that we only ever got a bare bones description of, though it appears to be similar. We also know he uses art and culture like his EU counterpart to understand his enemies. But we can be reasonably sure Rebels will be the only time we will see or hear from him outside of any novels. Its doubtful he has any role in the Post RotJ conflict based on what we know on that subject now too, so Thrawn won’t ever be the presence he was in the old EU. However we can deduce that Thrawn will be as difficult to defeat now as he was in old EU. Its unlikely there will be much in the way of direct interaction between the Rebels crew and him with the exception of him capturing Hera as we saw in the trailer. In short a Thrawn that is very similar in behavior and ability as the old EU version but not as involved scope wise. Don’t expect him to be a key figure outside of Rebels.
Maul is next thread Rebels will be pulling this season. Honestly I suspect this will be the end of Maul, though how his demise will happen is up in the air. For some reason I don’t believe Kanan or Ezra will be the nail in his coffin. More likely is Vader or Thrawn being involved in his demise but even that is not the way I believe they will go. Based on the shot below I actually think Sabine will be the one to finish Maul off. She will reclaim her family’s blade and use it to destroy Maul, or at least play a role in Maul’s demise.
Finally it appears they are also looking to resolve the Nightsisters’ story as well.
In these images we have Nightsister magic from the Clone Wars in the top two and a spirt of sorts in the Rebels trailer. We know Filoni likes to go to the well of TWC and fan service so its likely this is Mother Talzin or her successor. Whoever/whatever it is we know they are no fans of Maul and use Kanan to exact their revenge. In fact, in the comics, Mother Talzin used the same magic on Count Dooku.