Star Wars is one of the biggest and longest-running multimedia franchises ever to emerge from Hollywood. What started merely as an idea in George Lucas’ head has grown into a global phenomenon with the original trilogy, and the franchise started expanding unstoppably since then, particularly in the 21st century with the arrival of long-running animated shows such as ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Star Wars: Rebels.’ With the imminent premiere of Disney+’s newest live-action series ‘Ahsoka,’ which will continue the storyline of ‘Rebels,’ we will tell you when and where ‘Rebels’ take place in the Star Wars timeline.
The events of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ are set during the reign of the Galactic Empire. The first season starts in 5 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), 14 years after the Clone Wars ended and the Galactic Republic fell in ‘Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.’ The series is placed between 5 BBY and 1 BBY in the timeline, meaning that it ended one year before the events of ‘Episode IV — A New Hope,’ although the series’ epilogue takes place in 4 ABY, right after the events of ‘Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.’
The ‘Star Wars Rebels’ series was created by Simon Kinberg, Carrie Beck, and Dave Filoni, who is also credited as the creator of the ‘Ahsoka’ series. Just like ‘The Clone Wars’ animated series served to fill some void between ‘Episode II’ and ‘Episode III,’ ‘Star Wars Rebels’ served to fill some void during those 19 years between the events of the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. The series follows a group of original characters, although some of the characters that were introduced in this series will now get their live-action incarnations in ‘Ahsoka.’
How many years is ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ set after Order 66?
‘Star Wars: Rebels’ follows a group of rebels (obviously) that are fighting against the Galactic Empire, working as a group known as the Ghost. The first season begins when Ezra Bridger, an orphan on the planet of Lothal whose parents were imprisoned and killed by the Empire, joins the group after he initially robs them but later joins them after they rescue him from the Empire forces. Taylor Gray voiced Ezra Bridger in the series, and Eman Esfandi will play the character in ‘Ahsoka.’
The Ghost group also features a few other characters, including Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Kanan Jarrus, a former Jedi Padawan and Ezra’s mentor who survived Order 66.
While Order 66 is still deemed a tragic event for the entire Jedi Order, we discovered that many Jedi survived the massacre over the years. Apart from Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, we also met Cal Kestis, the main character of the ‘Star Wars Jedi’ video game series, and Kanan Jarrus was also one of the survivors. It seems like coming up with some new Jedi that survived Order 66 became a usual trope for new projects in this franchise.
Order 66 was one of the main events in ‘Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.’ After Palpatine turned Anakin against his own and named him Darth Vader, he issued the order to all clone troopers to turn against their Jedi commanders while Vader and the battalion of clone troopers killed the remaining Jedi in the Jedi Temple. While we saw that many Jedi were killed, the event wasn’t presented in so much detail, so it was rather easy for the following projects to come up with a story of how some Jedi managed to survive.
‘Revenge of the Sith,’ and therefore Order 66 as well, takes place in 19 BBY, and the first season of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ starts sometime in 5 BBY, so using simple math, we can say that the animated series is set 14 years after Order 66 happened. After the fall of the Galactic Republic, the Empire stayed in power until the ending of ‘Return of the Jedi,’ which takes place in 4 ABY. Therefore, we can say that the Empire existed for 23 years.
Is ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ canon now?
Apart from movies and TV shows, the ‘Star Wars’ franchise also spawned comics, video games, and other additional content, but some of them aren’t deemed the official canon of the franchise. However, ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ definitely is canon, and there are several reasons for that.
When you have such big franchises as ‘Star Wars,’ it’s very hard to avoid plot holes that additional content can create in the original content that came before. However, animated series like ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ take time periods that the movies don’t cover.
Therefore, the additional content doesn’t contradict the mainstream content, or vice-versa. In fact, animated shows are getting more recognition as a part of the canon since live-action projects, such as ‘Ahsoka,’ are now serving as the continuation of the animated content.
The character of Ahsoka Tano first appeared in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ movie in 2008, and since then, she has become one of the most popular Star Wars characters. Her success is pretty impressive, considering she’s equally popular with some characters that the general audience met through the movies.
Ashley Eckstein voiced Ahsoka in all the animated projects, and Rosario Dawson debuted as the live-action version of the character in the second season of ‘The Mandalorian.’ Now, Dawson’s live-action Ahsoka will get her own adventure in a series that was confirmed to continue the already-established story from ‘Rebels.’
Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla are two characters from ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ to debut in live-action in the ‘Ahsoka’ series. The characters will be played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, respectively, who didn’t voice the characters in the animated series. However, one actor who can say that he portrayed both animated and live-action versions of his character is Lars Mikkelsen, who plays Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The fans who watched ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ will surely enjoy ‘Ahsoka’ even more, but the latter will surely find its way to be understandable for casual fans who skipped the animated content of the franchise.
‘Star Wars: Rebels’ is available on Disney+.
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