Inside the Star Wars Rebels Panel and Premiere at Celebration Europe

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It was a dark and stormy night… well, not really. It was my first day at Star Wars Celebration Europe, and my first main panel: The “Star Wars Rebels” Panel and Season Premiere! The first part of the panel was information about the new season of Rebels, and discussions about the characters, cast, story, and design. Clips, photos, the season trailer, and finally the season premiere were shown, followed by more discussion and ending in a Q&A. Details and photos after the break!

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The crowd’s energy at the beginning of the panel was electric, starting with a chant of: “Season 3! Season 3! Season 3!”

DJ Elliot and Mark Daniel introduced the show as usual. I have to take a moment to say how much I appreciate their enthusiasm, and Celebrations would feel less like Celebrations without them. They joked about Mark Daniel not knowing who Dave Filoni was at first, and he joked about Dave saying “check out this dude with the cowboy hat.” Secretly I wonder if Dave originally wore the hat to be incognito, but now that it’s his signature, he’s grown too fond of it to stop wearing it.

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Mark Daniel.

Mark explained that photos and videos of the premiere were not allowed. Then ensued a number of amusing moments as Mark pretended to be someone filming stuff they’re not supposed to. Security jumped on him (with Bob Marley’s “Bad Boys” playing in the background), and he said: “Ok I’m gonna put it back in my bag. I’m sorry… HAHA NOT REALLY!!” Then security took his phone and dragged him out. After more giveaways and comedic moments, the panel host, Warwick Davis, used his mini scooter to zoom up to the stage to the cheers of the crowds and the strobing lights.  He reminded everyone to check out the hashtag #SWCEPics for memories of Celebration that Warwick had con-goers doing. He then introduced the guests: Dave Filoni, Tiya Sircar, and Sam Witwer.

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Note: All dialogue in this article are approximations of what was said, not exact quotes, unless otherwise stated.

Warwick wasted no time diving in with a question for Dave: ‘Did Ahsoka survive?’

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Dave: ‘Um, you know, Yoda says a lot of things to Anakin. Death is a natural part of life; miss them do not, mourn them do not. The conflict of Anakin vs Vader has been talked about for almost a decade. You’re never sure what you’ll get to tell; long term it’s uncertain. But, when Rebels came about, we had the opportunity to tell this story. You might not have seen the last of Ahsoka Tano. But it could be a cheap shot like her on a lunch box, or a flashback.’

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The panelists showed images of a blind Kanan, with beard, red scars, and a darker look.

Dave: ‘Grey Samurai stories were drawn on for this look, and Freddie (voice of Kanan) was a huge fan of Samurai, so according to Dave he understood what they’re trying to do with the character. Changing the way the character is doing things, the way he looks at life, etc., will be compelling.’

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Dave: ‘Ezra got a hair cut, and has more of an attitude. He’s more of a teen. No one liked his hair season one, but now I’ve cut it people ask why…. I can’t win!’

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Sabine’s character design also got an overhaul.

Tiya: ‘I like her new look! I do get asked for styling ideas for the character sometimes. This season I get to interact with more mandalorians, and I may or may not be related to some of them…. Sabine also has some new gadgets.’

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All of the main characters’ designs were updated. Hera has a more military look, and Zeb’s outfit changed as well.

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After playing a clip of Sabine fighting some mandalorians along with Ezra, Maul was brought in to the discussion.

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Sam: ‘I stalked him (Ray Park) for several years. I ran into him so many places. I had an obsession with him and with Darth Maul.’ *laughs* The fun of this guy (Maul) is that he becomes these different things. Crazy Maul, “The Phantom Menace” Maul, General Maul, and the current version.’

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Dave: ‘Maul is looking for something. He’s fallen several times. He’s in between now, not fully evil, but he can never be fully good unless something truly unusual happened.’

Sam: ‘He thinks of Ezra as his apprentice, someone he could guide. He thinks Ezra can achieve all that he has tried to, that they could become a team. He’s looking for a brother of some sort, an apprentice.’

Dave: ‘Yes, he wants to make Ezra an apprentice. He’s being selfish, but he doesn’t see it that way.’

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Warwick: ‘Can we buy those?’ *pointing at Dave’s hat*

Dave: ‘No.’

Introduction for another clip:

A ship is flying through a fascinating broken ring of asteroids. Ezra is piloting. Maul is waiting for him with Kanan. Ezra has to help Kanan, and Maul mocks Ezra and Kanan both. Kanan has to tell Ezra to take it easy, and Maul calls Ezra ‘apprentice’ multiple times. Ezra is very snippy and snarky, kind of like Ahsoka back in the day. Sabine, Hera, and Zeb are being held hostage. Maul shoves Kanan into an airlock and flushes him out!!!!! The clip ends….

A Kanan cosplayer in the audience was pretty upset, and Sam said “sorry” to him.

Dave: The set (for the above clip) was actually something from a future season of “The Clone Wars” that was recycled for “Rebels.”

The trailer for “Rebels” season 3 is introduced, with Dave saying: “Let’s expand the universe” to gasps and murmurs of speculation from the audience.

Then the trailer was shown. Be sure to check out our in depth, shot by shot breakdown of the trailer.

“Battles leave scars….” Some of the trailer highlights for the audience (and me) were: Wedge appears!!!!! He was a cadet in the academy, who defects. Hondo comes back. REX is back! Mandos who serve the Empire….

But, the most important, exciting, and emotional part of the trailer for everyone, was the revelation of one. Grand. Admiral. THRAWN. The crowd went nuts.

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YASSSSS!!

After the trailer, a message played from Thrawn’s original creator, Timothy Zahn, to the fans, were he greeted everyone, talked about his newest Star Wars book, “Star Wars: Thrawn,” and finished by saying he is very pleased with the direction the character is being taken. Then his book cover was shown, to be released in April 2017.

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Dave: ‘It’ll be hard to be a Mikkelsen and not be into Star Wars, because Lars is brother to Mads, who stars in “Rogue One.”

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Conversation then moved back to Sabine.

Dave: ‘Tiya was asking me when she’ll get a jet pack.’

Tiya: ‘It’s very exciting I get one now!’

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Dave: ‘We like the darksaber. It belongs to the mandos.’

Dave and Tiya then told about how apparently Taylor Grey wasn’t happy that Tiya’s character got the darksaber and not his, and Tiya ratted him out to the crowd by saying they had to explain what the darksaber was to him!

Warwick had a desk and chair on stage just for him, just his size, and it was adorable.

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Warick: ‘How come I’m not in Rebels!? Years ago at Star Wars Weekends I re-dubbed “The Clone Wars” trailer with all the voices myself, to prove myself to Dave.’ *laughs*

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Warwick then proceeded to do a dead on Maul impression, much to Sam’s dismay as he joked about stealing his job.

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Then Sam did an amazing yub yub and ewok impersonation.

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Afterwords there was a question and answer session, and everyone left satisfied with a great beginning to season 3 of “Star Wars Rebels!”

~ Bethany Blanton

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  • Sarah Kemp

    “No one liked his hair season one”? What’s he talking about? My sister and I loved Ezra’s old hair.
    I can understand that some people were complaining about Ezra’s hair season one, but not the people who liked it, so I guess they didn’t realize that only a portion of the fans didn’t like his hair.
    And now that he’s cut it, the people who did like Ezra’s hair are complaining, because his floppy hair was adorable and fir his personality better than a this buzzcut thing he’s got going on.
    When I first saw the trailers, I was hoping that the haircut was actually just a tight ponytail.
    Personally, I still think he should have a Padawan braid.