Thrawn Lives: All You Need To Know About ‘Star Wars Rebels’ From Star Wars Celebration

On Saturday at Star Wars Celebration, Star Wars Rebels premiered its first two episodes and hosted a panel with members of the voice cast in attendance. We were there (as we’ve been all weekend, I am very tired) and are here to report to you the most interesting things we heard about Rebels upcoming season and what we saw out of the first two episodes.

But, first, here’s the trailer that premiered at Celebration:

The big news: Grand Admrial Thrawn – the popular villain from Timothy Zahn’s books from the ‘90s that take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, but was wiped from existence when all old Expanded Universe was deemed “not canon” by Lucasfilm – is now back on Rebels.

Also, Timothy Zahn will be writing a brand new book about Grand Admiral Thrawn, titled Thrawn.

– Lost in the Thrawn news, the ever-popular Wedge Antilles will also be a character – as a TIE Fighter pilot who defects to the Rebels.

The first two episodes were screened for the assembled audience. I won’t give major plot points away, but I will give you the gist: When the season opens, Kanan and Ezra are not on good terms at all. Kanan is struggling with the events of the season two finale that left him without sight. Kanan spends a lot of time in meditation. This is where he meets a mystical being (voiced by Doctor Who‘s Tom Baker) who tries to show Kanan he doesn’t need his sight to see.

Ezra is put in charge of a mission to secure a group of Y-Wing fighters. Ezra is cocky and brash and doesn’t listen to guidance, which leads to his mission going awry. As this is all happening, Tarkin hands over the operation of destroying the Rebels to, you guessed it, Grand Admiral Thrawn. (And that’s about all I’m gong to say about the episodes because I desperately want to avoid spoilers.)

Other highlights from the panel include:

– A member of the audience asked about Mara Jade possibly ever being a character. Filoni answered, “Not likely.”

– Producer Dave Filoni says we haven’t seen the last of Ahsoka, but in what form (Force ghost?), we don’t know.

– Filoni also said now that, internally, they all know more about Rogue One, they are making an effort to fuse the styles of Rebels and Rogue One.

– Kanan is still blind and now sports a beard. He looks very haggard — and he wears a mask to cover his eyes.

– Ezra has a new, tight haircut and, according to Filoni, has “an attitude.”

– Sabine also has a new hairstyle. Maybe we should just assume everyone on the show is doing something to their hair.

– Tiya Sircar (who voices Sabeen) confirmed we will see some Mandalorians in season three.

– Darth Maul plays a large role in season three and tries to make Ezra his apprentice. Maul’s voice actor, Sam Witwer, says we will see Maul try to figure out what his role in the galaxy actually is.

– In a clip shown, Maul doesn’t like Kanan very much. Maul pushes (bearded) Kanan into a room and jettisons him into space.

The third season of Star Wars Rebels will debut this fall on Disney XD.

Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.