Last week, fans of Star Wars Rebels were delivered a massive blow. Showrunner Dave Filoni announced at Star Wars Celebration Orlando that the upcoming fourth season of the show would also be its last. Filoni tried to cushion the blow by saying it was better this way and he knew from personal experience working on the animated version of Star Wars: The Clone Wars just how frustrating it can be not to be able to bring a series to a close. And while it wasn’t said, quite frankly Rebels was running out of runway as the show gets ready to butt up against the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Filoni did reassure fans that though Rebels was heading into the sunset, that didn’t mean Lucasfilm Animation would be hanging up its black cowboy hat.
Part of what Filoni meant was surely the upcoming Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated micro-series that will put the spotlight on the women of a galaxy far, far away. But Forces of Destiny is an experimental project for YouTube, one tied into a book and toy line for children in much the same way that Mattel did with Monster High’s early years. It seems unlikely the Lucasfilm Animation department would only be tasked with creating three-minute shorts, no matter how wicked cool the main characters are. So then, what’s next? As always, Disney is playing it close to the vest with their next Star Wars project, but a few time periods ripe for story exploration stick out.
#1 – After the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
This is probably the safest bet for the next installment of Lucasfilm animation. So far, the division has been going in chronological order, filling in gaps in the plot as if trapped going in a straight line. Setting a new cartoon before the events of The Empire Strikes Back would give the team approximately three in-universe years to work with. It would also eliminate any pesky spoilers since the audience would know exactly where the main players such as Luke, Leia, and Han will be by the end of the series. This could free up Lucasfilm to tell the stories of others in the Rebellion, the Empire, or even those outside the conflict such as the smugglers and the cartels and perhaps intersect them with the main cast.