Lucasfilm Urged Star Wars Rebels Actor to Return Despite Hesitation

By Klein Felt Updated:
Star Wars Rebels poster

According to Kanan Jarrus voice actor Freddie Prinze Jr., he was forced to return to the galaxy far, far away after rounding out his time in Star Wars: Rebels, even though he didn't think it was right for his character. 

Prinze Jr., who has been working in Hollywood since the late-90s, played the Jedi master to Rebels' Ezra Bridger in the animated series, teaching the young padawan not just what it meant to be a Jedi knight but a survivor in a galaxy in disarray. 

Since his character's death in the Rebels Season 4 mid-season finale, Prinze Jr. returned twice to the Star Wars canon, popping up in both The Rise of Skywalker and Season 1 of The Bad Batch.

With much of the Rebels band getting back together in the upcoming pseudo-sequel series, Ahsoka, many have speculated that Prinze Jr. and his blind Jedi would also may an appearance; however, that is looking less and less likely.

Rebels Star Forced To Return to Star Wars

Freddie Prinze Jr., Christmas With You
Freddie Prinze Jr.

Speaking in a recent interview on The Big Thing podcast, Star Wars: Rebels star Freddie Prinze Jr. revealed he was forced to return to Star Wars after Rebels' cancelation. 

When asked about returning to voice a younger version of his Rebels character Kanan Jarrus in Season 1 of The Bad Batch, Prinze Jr. told host Kristian Harloff that "[he] didn’t necessarily want to" come back as he feels it "really kind of dilutes his impact" every time he comes back:

Harloff: “You did do stuff with '[The] Bad Batch' in the beginning, that first season.”

Prinze Jr.: “I was, yeah. I didn’t necessarily want to. I feel like every time you hear Kanan’s voice since '[Star Wars] Rebels' ended, it really kind of dilutes his impact…”

Star Wars Rebels, Kanan Jarrus
Star Wars

On his character's vocal cameo in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the Rebels actor remarked that he "didn’t want to do that either:"

Harloff: “'Episode IX' included?”

Prinze Jr.: “Yeah, I didn’t want to do that either. I was asked as a favor and I feel like all their favors are used up now.”

This frustrated sentiment is in line with past comments from Prinze Jr. Speaking to Extra TV, the actor elaborated on his Rise of Skywalker cameo, telling the story of how "they called [him] and asked if [he] was down to do some Kanan stuff" in the film:

"They called me and asked if I was down to do some Kanan stuff and I’m always down to help out my family over there. And I went in and and [Matthew] Wood was doing the sound design. He’s also the voice of every droid, from that, ‘Roger, roger.’ That’s Wood. And it was just him in the room. And then JJ [Abrams] came in, and kind of broke down the scene, said what was going on, and I’m pretty sure that we all read the same speech, and then they just kind of pulled what they wanted from that speech."

He noted that after everyone who recorded versions of the Rise of Skywalker speech, nobody knew "who was gonna get in and who wasn’t." So he didn't find out he was in Episode IX until "the movie came out:"

"And they didn’t tell anyone like who was gonna get in and who wasn’t. They just wanted to have a bunch of different Jedi, so I’m sure there were some other voices in there as well that may not have made it. But I didn’t even know until the movie came out.”

Is Kanan Jarrus Done in Star Wars? 

Of course, when it comes to Star Wars, no one is ever 100% gone. Especially in recent history, there have been examples of names never thought to return popping up on the screen. 

However, it seems like the Freddie Prinze Jr. ship may have sailed.

For one, his character Kanan Jarrus did get an emotional send-off in Season 4 of Rebels. It is not as if there are any hanging threads left or his run in the universe was cut short. 

There is always the possibility he is playing coy here and will pop up as a force ghost in the Disney+ series Ahsoka. But it feels like that is not the case. 

Despite Prinze Jr. likely not physically appearing in Ahsoka, his character's presence will undoubtedly be felt as the Rebels crew reassembles for the first time without Kanan. 

Star Wars: Rebels can be streamed now in its entirety on Disney+.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.