It's not an Empire Strikes Back level twist, but the report that Ahsoka will now serve as what was once an animated sequel to Star Wars Rebels is a surprise to all.
The long awaited continuation of Rebels was once said to begin last November, but Star Wars fans will have to wait just a bit longer. Ahsoka was announced during Disney's Investor Day meeting in December, and Jon Favreau revealed that Dave Filoni is penning the scripts for the event series. Should things continue as planned without any COVID-related shutdowns or delays, Ahsoka could be in production as early as later this year.
But what exactly will the series be about? As many have inferred given the breadcrumb dropped in The Mandalorian "Chapter 13," Ahsoka is after the notorious Grand Admiral Thrawn. How exactly does this tie in with what we already know from the epilogue of Rebels?
As things turn out, this situation appears to be pretty cut and dry...
Kessel Run Transmissions is reporting that the plot of Ahsoka is the search for Ezra Bridger:
"The plot of Ahsoka is the search for Ezra Bridger... Ezra and Thrawn."
Ahsoka will be re-purposing scripts written specifically for the animated Rebels sequel:
"The Ahsoka series is literally taking the scripts from the Rebels sequel into her series."
As the Rebels epilogue suggests, Sabine Wren will be a recurring character in the series:
"We're going to be seeing Sabine in live-action, she's going to be co-starring alongside Ahsoka... originally the Rebels sequel was going to be starring Ahsoka and Sabine, so it makes sense that the Ahsoka series would be the same thing."
The Ahsoka series itself will also lead to more stories, but will be what the sequel was always meant to be:
"[The Ahsoka series] will lead into spin-offs like an Ezra and Thrawn show. Ahsoka will be the story that the successor was supposed to be."
WHAT THIS MEANS
We've got quite a bit to unpack here.
The plot of the series revolving around the hunt for Ezra Bridger seemed inevitable, given Ahsoka's mission in locating Thrawn in The Mandalorian. She promised her young friend she would find him when she returned from the World Between Worlds, and it looks like that's still an ongoing process nearly a decade later.
Sabine being a co-star in the series was also an inevitability. Dave Filoni touched on the timing of the Rebels epilogue relative to The Mandalorian, and because no concrete timing was established, it's possible that Ahsoka is returning to Lothal to pick up Sabine after she's learned Thrawn's location from Morgan Elsbeth in "Chapter 13". Should this prove to be the case, Sabine has spent a much longer amount of time on Lothal than previously believed, and Ahsoka's quest to find Ezra has been extensive.
Perhaps Ahsoka picks up immediately where the Rebels epilogue leaves off, with Ahsoka and Sabine embarking on the journey originally conceived for animation with the new info acquired from the magistrate. But like most good stories, it's quite possible that neither of the heroines will find what they were expecting when they inevitably reach Ezra.
The prospects of a series starring Thrawn and Ezra has been compelling for quite some time, and seeing Ahsoka produce spinoffs in the way The Mandalorian has seems to be a natural expansion of this evolving story. The former adversaries certainly haven't been hanging around a decrepit Star Destroyer playing Sabaac for nine years, so whatever Thrawn and Ezra are up to will likely have bigger implications for the narrative that drag Ahsoka and Sabine into the fold.
Despite the recent reports and announcements, it feels like we've barely scratched the surface of where this story is going. The characters of Star Wars Rebels have become beloved members of the franchise, and seeing them in all their live-action glory will be a payoff well worth the wait.