It's been quite some time since there's been an update on the long-awaited sequel to Star Wars Rebels.
The hit animated series, which came to an enthralling end in early 2018, left the door wide open for a continuation of the main characters' story when Sabine Wren departed Lothal alongside Ahsoka Tano in the finale's epilogue. Though we don't know where their search will lead them, the heroines were embarking on a journey to find their lost friend, Ezra Bridger, and antagonist Grand Admiral Thrawn.
No hints of this storyline were given until Ahsoka appeared in The Mandalorian "Chapter 13 - The Jedi," where it was ultimately revealed that she's actively searching for Thrawn. The Chiss' namedrop naturally created a storm of conversation regarding the Rebels sequel and when it might take place relative to the events transpiring in The Mandalorian, and a new report indicates that the sequel has actually already been announced...
Kessel Run Transmissions is reporting that the animated sequel to Star Wars Rebels is no more, and the project is instead going forward as the recently announced live-action series Ahsoka:
"There has been a conversation between Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni as to whether this live-action Rebels sequel is going to be live-action or animation, but it sounds like the way that the conversation had gone is that Rebels sequel being live-action, and that specifically being the Ahsoka series on Disney+."
For those concerned, fear not; Ahsoka's animated journey will still go on:
"That being said, this is not the end for Ahsoka in animation. From what we've heard... Jon has successfully convinced Filoni to tell the next chapter of Ahsoka's journey specifically in a tie-in with Rebels in live-action. The next part of the journey is going to be told that way."
The animated series was well into production, but the success of The Mandalorian's first season changed the trajectory of the project:
"Basically, the Rebels sequel was already in production, even eyeing a November 2020 release date - Taylor Gray even recorded lines for Ezra Bridger already, but after the success of The Mandalorian Season 1, that's where Jon was like 'Okay, we can bring these characters into live-action and tell the story this way...'"
WHAT THIS MEANS
This would explain why word on the Rebels sequel had been so lacking in recent months. KRT broke word on the popular series' follow-up over a year ago with the expectation that the first season was nearly ready to go and would release last fall, but that obviously never occurred. The outlet was as perplexed as the rest of the fandom in regard to the lack of news, and it appears a last-minute decision is to thank for that.
When it was revealed through the trades that Rosario Dawson would be playing Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian Season 2, it was also reported that her appearance would serve as a backdoor into the character's own live-action series. This was confirmed during Disney's Investor Day event in December with the announcement of Ahsoka, but fans were left wondering why the Rebels sequel had gone unannounced.
As it turns out, the sequel was announced, we just didn't realize that the animated version of the story had been canned. It's fair to say that The Mandalorian has been a monumental success for Disney and Lucasfilm, so it likely wasn't too difficult for Jon Favreau to convince Filoni to change up his plans and tell this story in the live-action space.
In doing this, it would seem that the Rebels sequel story is intertwined with the events of The Mandalorian and the world being established around it, which would include Rangers of the New Republic and The Book of Boba Fett. Making this a live-action project will enhance the connective tissue of the overall storyline Favreau and Filoni are playing with and, while it's disappointing that we'll be losing the animated series, KRT has indicated it's not the last we'll see of Ahsoka.
Ahsoka's story began in animation, and it will naturally end in a similar manner. It's already rumored that she'll be appearing in The Bad Batch, due to release some time this year, and there's likely an animated project waiting down the pipeline for the character's final journey once this part of her story has been told.