10 Ways Star Wars Rebels Changed The Skywalker Saga


  • Star Wars Rebels subtly changed the Skywalker saga by showcasing the stories of Jedi rebels like Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger.
  • The series introduced the Imperial Inquisitors, led by Darth Vader, who hunted down former Jedi in the Dark Times of the Empire.
  • Rebels revealed Leia’s early involvement with the Rebellion and showed how Yoda remained active through the Force to guide the heroes.



Over the course of its four seasons, Star Wars Rebels subtly rewrote so many parts of the Skywalker saga. There’s a sense in which Star Wars Rebels can be seen as Episode III.5 of the Skywalker Saga, because it takes place during the Dark Times of the Empire’s reign. It’s a little different, though, because the heroes of Rebels are one step removed from the main story. This made for a far more exciting show, because anything could happen; their fates weren’t sealed by the movies, meaning their survival wasn’t guaranteed.

That doesn’t mean Star Wars Rebels is an irrelevance to the main saga, or that it’s just a side-story. The characters are tremendously compelling, and the heroes’ actions skirt just close enough to the Skywalkers to make it truly important to canon as well. Here are the main ways Star Wars Rebels changed the Skywalker saga – sometimes in the most subtle ways.

Reddie Prinze Jr and Star Wars Rebels characters.
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10 Luke Skywalker Wasn’t The First Jedi Involved In The Rebellion

At least three other Jedi were rebels as well

Luke Skywalker knew precious little about the Jedi as he grew up on Tatooine, in part because of his Uncle Owen’s attempt to protect him from those who would seek to use him as a weapon. There are hints in the Star Wars original trilogy that others weren’t quite so ignorant; a deleted scene sees another pilot reminisce about flying with Luke’s father, for example. But nobody realized just how important the Jedi really were to the Rebel Alliance.

The main characters of Star Wars Rebels included Kanan Jarrus, an Order 66 survivor who took on a Padawan in Ezra Bridger. Ezra sacrificed himself to defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels‘ survivor; had he not done so, he’d have been a contemporary of Luke himself, helping the would-be Jedi learn the ways of the Force. Even more intriguingly, Rebels revealed Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan Ahsoka Tano was working against the Empire as well.

Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger in Ahsoka Textless Poster

Ezra Bridger

Hailing from the planet Lothal, Ezra Bridger’s Force potential was discovered by Order 66 survivor Kanan Jarrus. Ezra became Kanan’s apprentice, working as a key asset in the Lothal rebel cell. He sacrificed himself in a desperate gambit to defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn, becoming stranded for years in a distant galaxy on the planet Peridea. Ezra has now returned, thanks to the efforts of his friend Sabine Wren.

Created By Dave Filoni Cast Taylor Gray , Eman Esfandi TV Shows Star Wars Rebels , Ahsoka

9 Ahsoka Tano Gave Anakin Skywalker Another Legacy

The Padawan of Anakin Skywalker even fought Darth Vader


Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, Ahsoka Tano made her debut as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Rebels revealed she not only survived the Dark Times of the Empire’s reign, but served as a vital ally to the Rebel Alliance. She was the first of their Fulcrum agents, working to undermine the Empire from the shadows.

Rebels made Ahsoka Tano a key part of Anakin’s legacy, along with Luke Skywalker himself. Although she didn’t consider herself a Jedi, she was nonetheless a champion of the light side, even rescuing Force-sensitive children from the Sith. Ironically, this continued a mission Anakin himself undertook during the Clone Wars, when he prevented a group of similar children falling into the hands of the Sith.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka

Ahsoka Tano

The apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano was an accomplished Padawan who served during the Clone Wars. Ahsoka left the Jedi after she became disillusioned with the Jedi Council, but returned to serve in the Siege of Mandalore at the end of the Clone Wars. She survived Order 66, becoming a Rebel agent during the Dark Times of the Empire’s reign, and her adventures continue in the New Republic era. Ahsoka was last seen stranded in a distant galaxy, having failed to prevent Grand Admiral Thrawn’s return.

Created By George Lucas , Dave Filoni Cast Ashley Eckstein , Rosario Dawson TV Shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars , Star Wars Rebels , Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi , The Mandalorian , Ahsoka

8 Rebels Proved How Hard It Was To Redeem Darth Vader

Nobody else could reach Darth Vader


In 2016, Star Wars Rebels season 2, episodes 21 and 22 saw Ahsoka come blade-to-blade with Darth Vader. She’d long since suspected Vader’s true identity, and it was confirmed in a horrific confrontation in which Vader confirmed the truth. He initially offered to recruit her, but launched a devastating attack on his former Padawan when she turned him down. Although Ahsoka survived, it was because of the intervention of Ezra Bridger – courtesy of the World Between Worlds – rather than because of any leniency on Darth Vader’s part.

This serves to underscore the end of Return of the Jedi, in which Luke Skywalker successfully persuaded his father to turn on the Emperor. Rebels confirmed there was no trace of goodness in the Dark Lord of the Sith until that moment, and that nobody else could ever reach him – not even Ahsoka. It’s a beautiful way of making that redemption story even more impressive.

7 Star Wars Rebels Confirmed Darth Vader’s Dark Times Mission

Rebels unveiled the Inquisitors

Star Wars Rebels introduced the Imperial Inquisitors, a group of former Jedi who’d been turned to the dark side in the aftermath of Order 66. Their mission was simple: to scour the galaxy for former Jedi and potential Force-sensitives, capturing and killing them. They used some pretty horrific strategies, even turning the corpse of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli into bait.

The Inquisitors were led by Darth Vader, confirming his own mission during the Dark Times. Remarkably, Rebels even saw the Inquisitors taking their prisoner Kanan Jarrus into the Mustafar system, setting up Darth Vader’s continuing presence in that system during the time of the Empire. Jedi: Fallen Order would later build on this, revealing the Inquisitors had a base on the water-rich ocean moon of Nur in the system.

6 The Birth of the Rebel Alliance

Mon Mothma’s declaration of independence

Star Wars Rebels picked up a plot that George Lucas cut from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – unwisely so. It showed the true birth of the Rebel Alliance, with Mon Mothma issuing a celebrated speech that caused disparate rebel cells to begin drawing together. This was the direct precursor of the Galactic Civil War, which would begin over the skies of Yavin 4 in the first Star Wars movie.

Rebels fleshed out the early years of the Rebel Alliance, showing the complex relationships between the different cells. Not everyone worked well together, with Saw Gerrera’s extremist Partisans ultimately continuing to operate independently. This story ran concurrently with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, making it a perfect companion piece; it will be thrilling to see how Andor season 2 ties in as well.


Diego Luna stars as Cassian Andor in Andor, a Disney+ exclusive series set five years before Rogue One. The series follows the titular character as he transitions from a humble thief to a revolutionary icon of the rebellion against the empire. Cassian, a man who tries to keep himself out of confrontations post the destruction of his world, is shoved into the central conflict as he naturally slots into the role of leader. Andor will explore the rebellion’s burgeoning days and highlight pivotal events in the Star Wars Franchise before the construction of the Death Star. 

Cast Genevieve O’Reilly , Adria Arjona , Diego Luna , Kyle Soller , Alan Tudyk , Stellan Skarsgård , Denise Gough , Forrest Whittaker Streaming Service(s) Disney Plus Showrunner Tony Gilroy

5 Obi-Wan Kenobi Was Tracked Down On Tatooine

Darth Maul tracked down his nemesis

Star Wars Rebels season 3, episode 20 (“Twin Suns”) is one of the best episodes of the entire Star Wars TV show. Helped by combining the power of a Jedi and Sith Holocron, Darth Maul successfully tracked Obi-Wan to Tatooine. He used Ezra Bridger as bait to draw him out, hoping to finally get his revenge.

George Lucas brought Darth Maul back in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, aware he’d made a mistake by killing him off in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Although Lucas had planned to keep Palpatine’s Sith apprentice alive for his sequel trilogy, canon took a different direction. It was a much better approach, because it meant both Obi-Wan and Maul had a satisfying conclusion to their personal arcs.

4 Rebels Confirmed Obi-Wan Believed Luke To Be The Chosen One

We finally knew what Obi-Wan really thought


Star Wars Rebels serves a vital role for the franchise, because the same episode – “Twin Suns” – subtly links the prequels and original trilogy together. The Phantom Menace surprised viewers by revealing the prophecy of the Chosen One, a being destined to bring balance to the Force. The Jedi faith in the Chosen One was understandably shaken by Anakin Skywalker’s betrayal, when he turned on the Order and became Darth Vader.

Dialogue in “Twin Suns” reveals Obi-Wan came to believe his young ward, Luke, had inherited the role of Chosen One. This explains why he remained on Tatooine for so long; he genuinely believed only Luke could briing balance to the Force. He was right in understanding Luke’s importance, but wrong in believing Anakin was not the Chosen One – because Darth Vader was not beyond redemption.

3 Rebels Revealed Leia’s Early Involvement With The Rebellion

Some of Leia’s first missions for the Rebellion were revealed


Star Wars Rebels featured several cameos by Princess Leia, voiced by Julie Dolan. As seen in Claudia Gray’s novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Leia became involved with the Rebellion when she was 16 years old, after completing an Alderaanian coming-of-age ceremony for the royal family. She became Alderaan’s senator, and used this as cover to support rebel operations across the galaxy.

Leia apparently routinely visited planets with starships that she allowed to be stolen by various rebel cells. It was a smart strategy, but it explains why the Empire became suspicious of her, coming to believe she was involved with the Rebel Alliance. She repeated tricks like this a few too many times.

2 Surprising Yoda Cameos Revealed How He Worked Against The Empire

Yoda remained active through the Force


Star Wars Rebels features several surprising cameos by Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, who had exiled himself to Dagobah in the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith. It’s always seemed odd that such a powerful Jedi would remain concealed on the swamworld for almost two decades, but Rebels revealed he didn’t remain inactive. Rather, Yoda used the power of the Force vergence on Dagobah to interact with others across the galaxy.

Rebels focused on events on Lothal, with both Ezra and Ahsoka using this to interact with Yoda on occasion. There’s no reason to assume Yoda didn’t take advantage of similar vergences to support other Jedi, too, perhaps even some of those who survived the Dark Times using the Hidden Path network. Still, Yoda knew none of these were the key to saving the galaxy; Luke Skywalker was.

1 Star Wars Rebels Seeded Palpatine’s Quest For Immortality

The World Between Worlds was a chilling part of the story

Star Wars Rebels did a good job of setting up Palpatine’s quest for immortality when it introduced the World Between Worlds. First appearing in season 4, episode 13, this saw Ezra Bridger step through a portal into a realm beyond time and space. The World Between Worlds is the closest Star Wars has ever come to time travel, but it doesn’t allow for history to be changed; although Ezra Bridger was able to save Ahsoka, this appears to be how it was always meant to be.

Palpatine sought to use the World Between Worlds as a way to achieve immortality. He failed, thanks to Ezra Bridger, and sought other means to achieve this end – notably Project Necromancer, seen in more recent Star Wars TV shows. He would ultimately return from the dead in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

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