Rebels Recon is a series of behind the scenes webisodes that comprise short summaries of various Star Wars Rebels episodes, interviews with the cast and crew, and other content.
Season 1 notes
- Hidalgo is asked if the Stormtroopers are still clones, like how all of the Clone Troopers were clones of Jango Fett. Hidalgo confirms that no, the Empire gradually phased out the Clone Troopers as they got older, and the newer "Stormtroopers" are just regular recruits from across the galaxy.
- Hidalgo says Season 1 is loosely around "five years" before "A New Hope" - however it is later consistently stated, particularly in "Empire Day", that it has been 15 years since "Revenge of the Sith", and Luke (born at the end of Episode III) is about 19 years old in "A New Hope", so it's closer to four years earlier - though Hidalgo was apparently just rounding.
- Hidalgo directly states that adult clones age about twice as fast as normal humans, thus the original Clone Troopers grew old enough to simply be phased out in the intervening 15 years - i.e. if clones were speed-aged to be in their physical prime, around their mid-20's, when first deployed to fight in the clone wars, in the past 15 chronological years they have biologically aged around 30 years, so surviving Clone Troopers at this point biologically look like older men in their 50's.
- Asked why C-3PO had one mismatched leg in the previous episode, Hidalgo points out that he always had a mismatched leg in the original trilogy: the shin of his right leg is actually not the same gold color as the rest of his coverings, but a paler silver color. Clips are shown of footage from the original trilogy to demonstrate this. Hidalgo doesn't know exactly what happened to him, but assumes he must have had some mishap in the 15 years since the prequel trilogy - citing that C-3PO always had a tendency to get damaged, and got shot to pieces in "The Empire Strikes Back" and had to be put back together by Chewbacca and R2-D2, etc.
- Filoni: The Inquisitor's lightsaber is sort of like a "cheat mode": it does automatically (twirling the double-blades) what the full-Sith Darth Maul could do on his own (with his bare hands), which is subtly meant to imply that he isn't as highly trained as Darth Maul was - because he isn't actually a full "Sith".
- Asked how the Inquisitor is not a Sith, Hidalgo points out that "Dark Side users" are not automatically "Sith", and do not automatically have that skill level. As an example, Hidalgo points out that Ezra is a "Light Side user" and he's training to be a Jedi, but it would be incorrect to formally call him "a Jedi", because a "Jedi Knight" is a specific rank and power level that an adept has to achieve (after advancing through Youngling and Padawan apprentice stages). He explains that while the Emperor and Vader (both full Sith) are spreading out some of their Dark Side skills and training, the Inquisitor is a "lower class of underling" that they don't want to give equal power to.
- Note: Hidalgo will explain this in more detail in the later Rebels Recon for episode 2.9.
- Filoni believes that fundamentally, Clone Troopers are overall superior to the later Stormtroopers. His reasoning is that the Clone Troopers were born and bred to be soldiers, it was their entire reason for existing since their first moment of life. In contrast, Stormtroopers are regular people who had other lives before they volunteered or got recruited - their level of training and mental focus on being a soldier can never match the utter dedication to their purpose that the Clone Troopers had.
- Hidalgo walks through what happened to Luminara Unduli, in case there was any confusion from the last episode: she was captured alive during Order 66 instead of being killed on the spot, and the Empire made it a point to "leak" footage of her being taken alive to the prison on Stygeon Prime - then soon after arriving she was killed in that prison cell. All of this, including the point to take her alive once she had been subdued, was part of a calculated trap laid out long in advance, to use Luminara as a lure for any Jedi that managed to escape the initial purge. This was a more effective use for Luminara than simply killing her on the spot. The fact that Luminara died in that cell, combined with the presence of her preserved corpse, left enough of an echo of her presence in the Force there that it would fool surviving Jedi like Kanan into thinking that she was still alive there, and convince them that the footage of her being taken to the prison wasn't simply faked.
- Hidalgo was asked why the Empire was interested in a shipment of Kyber Crystals in the previous episode - the crystals used in lightsabers to focus and project their blades. Hidalgo strongly implied that they might want to use them as components in the future Death Star's super laser.
- Filoni: At the end of the Clone Wars, most people welcomed and celebrated the Empire - it promised greater security and freedom to prevent another war caused by Separatists from ever happening again, and to be stronger than the Republic was (which is what indirectly led to the Separatist crisis starting in the first place). Most people trying to get by from day to day honestly felt that the Emperor had followed through on his promise to bring peace and order to the galaxy and that this was worth some seemingly minor freedoms they gave up. However, as time passed, it is becoming increasingly obvious to progressively more and more people that the Empire represents fear and oppression: the tighter the Empire clenches its grip on the galaxy, the more planets slip through their fingers, as it makes people see what they truly are.
- Are Fyrnocks and Mynocks related? Hidalgo: not biologically. Maybe they got similar names because they are another kind of pest animal/minor threat encountered in open space. "Fyrnock" is indeed pronounced "Fear-nock". Originally they were called "Nacht-fyrs" - i.e. "Night Terrors" - but this was somewhat cumbersome, so they switched around the syllables to just make it "Fear-nock".
- Asked if Kanan is so outmatched against the Inquisitor because the Inquisitor is really that powerful, or that Kanan is that limited? Hidalgo acknowledges that it's a combination of both, but emphasizes that Kanan was not a full "Jedi Knight" when Order 66 happened, he was just a Padawan apprentice, and never completed his training.
- Previous comments about the Inquisitor in Rebels Recon indicate that the Inquisitor, while formidable, isn't as powerful as a full Sith like Darth Maul - and indeed the Emperor deliberately held back on the Inquisitor's training, to ensure he would never be powerful enough to turn against the Emperor. Thus both Kanan and the Inquisitor are not as powerful as a full Jedi versus a full Sith, i.e. Obi-Wan versus Count Dooku.
- The writers had some discussions about how plausible it was that there would be an ancient Jedi temple on Lothal, but they decided that we've seen temples on different planets before in Clone Wars, and clearly, the Jedi were an ancient and galaxy-spanning organization that lasted for thousands upon thousands of years, so there are probably numerous satellite temples and sanctums spread out across the galaxy.
- The writers discuss that a Jedi trial is sort of customized to each Jedi - just as the cave on Dagobah was specifically adapted to Luke facing Vader. Thus Ezra's trials in this episode specifically address his own personal fears.
- Are the stormtroopers considered an elite corps of the imperial military, or are they "regular" soldiers? Hidalgo addresses that we really don't tend to see stormtroopers deployed as an elite special forces unit only dropped into combat situations - even in the original trilogy, they are often used as standard guards for imperial ships and installations. So they are "regular" in the sense that they are commonly deployed on an everyday basis. Hidalgo goes on to point out that we really see a spectrum of ability from the stormtroopers in the original trilogy: some stormtroopers purely on guard duty or scrambled at short notice are quickly overwhelmed when the main characters fight them, but at the other end, the stormtroopers that board Princess Leia's ship in the opening scene of "A New Hope" actually seem quite effective and do a lot of damage, quickly overwhelming the ship's defenders. Hidalgo speculates that because Vader knew his Star Destroyer was going to capture and board Leia's ship, the specific detachment of stormtroopers that were tasked with boarding it under fire with a well-trained and experienced combat unit. Thus Hidalgo speculates that apparently there are some stormtrooper divisions which are well-trained and elite combat units (i.e. Vader's 501st Legion), and others which are garrison units, not as well trained or experienced with combat - but they're all considered "stormtroopers" and wear the same armor.
- Hidalgo was asked how Kanan got his kyber crystal, and why in the previous episode Kanan seemed surprised that Ezra found one in the hidden Jedi temple on Lothal. Hidalgo explained that Kanan was already a Padawan when Order 66 happened so he already had his own lightsaber, and he got the kyber crystal to make it the same way that the Jedi Younglings are seen doing so back in the "Clone Wars" TV series: traveling to the frozen planet Ilum, an ancient Jedi world, and finding them in the planet's caves. This was the main source of kyber crystals for the Jedi at this point in history, and this became so ingrained in initiates that most Jedi forgot there were other ones - or at least, Kanan as a young Padawan may have just assumed it was the only planet they could be found on. It isn't clear if there are other "sources" of kyber crystals in the galaxy on the same scale as Ilum, but it is rare to find one somewhere else, i.e. the kyber crystal Ezra finds isn't from a big vein of minerals growing out of the ground, but may have just been dropped by some other Jedi thousands of years ago.
- Asked if Gall Trayvis was always supposed to secretly be an Imperial plant, or if this was decided late in production (as he was mentioned in passing throughout Season 1), Hidalgo said that it was decided quite early in the character's development that he would be an Imperial trap. Filoni says they did leave clues that Trayvis was really working for the Empire, and they did worry that some fans were on to it from the beginning - but that's the whole point in leaving clues, to start fans guessing. Hidalgo points out that Trayvis is the one that announced the "leaked" footage about Luminara being alive, which turned out to really be a trap set by the Inquisitor, and this led viewers to start questioning if Trayvis could have known it was a trap (which as it turns out, he actually did).
- Given that Lando clearly doesn't have the Millenium Falcon in this episode, and how close it is to "A New Hope" (3-4 years in the future), Hidalgo thinks that Lando probably already lost the Falcon to Han Solo by this point (instead of Lando having the time in the space of the next four years to gain the Falcon, then lose it to Han, then become administrator of Cloud City on Bespin).
- Hidalgo confirms that Kallus always knew that Trayvis was an Imperial plant, meant to lure out potential rebel groups.
- Why are Jedi treated as fairy tales despite being active 15 years ago, presumably within most people's lifetimes? Hidalgo: we forget that our TV shows focus on the Jedi all the time, but the average people in the galaxy don't know much about the Jedi. Even at the height of the Clone Wars, there were only ten thousand Jedi - spread out across an entire galaxy. So most people have never seen a Jedi, and only heard of them secondhand. So it's easier for the Emperor to try to bury knowledge about them.
- Hidalgo confirms that Cham Syndulla from Clone Wars is Hera Syndulla's father.
- The writers always knew that Fulcrum was Ahsoka, this wasn't a decision made later. They realized fans might guess it ahead of time, given that there's only a small pool of characters it could be and still have a dramatic impact. They also left several clues about it. Still, they also tried to misdirect viewers by not only using a voice distorter when Fulcrum talks to Hera in earlier episodes but using different voice actresses than Ahsoka's actual voice (knowing that fans would probably play with the audio files and undo the distortion to hear the original voice).
- Ahsoka has new lightsabers, and when she first turns them on in Season 2 (the clip shows concept art), they will be colored white, not blue or green like the Jedi, because she left the Jedi order at the end of the Clone Wars TV series (still being a Padawan at the time). She still has a light color, white, to signify that even if she left the Jedi Order, she is still a "good" character.
- Hidalgo is asked if Stormtrooper armor is air-tight, i.e. when if the squad of Stormtroopers that Chopper blew out of an airlock could have survived. Hidalgo explains that Stormtrooper armor can be sealed against the vacuum of space, but it doesn't have its own internal supply of air - they need large external air tanks for that. Hidalgo cites that this was actually seen in "A New Hope" when the Millenium Falcon is entering the Death Star: several Stormtroopers can be seen in the foreground, who are wearing the normal armor but equipped with external air tanks (a clip of this footage is shown).
- Asked how Tarkin can be at Lothal if he should be overseeing construction of the Death Star at this time, Hidalgo points out that Tarkin is the Grand Moff (governor) of the entire Outer Rim Territories - he isn't just focusing all of his time on one project, but constantly traveling around between important hot spots, then moving on to another crisis as it pops up somewhere else.
Season 2 notes
- The "Rebel Alliance" as an official organization, using that name, doesn't exist yet. Numerous militias and resistance groups have bubbled up on their own across the galaxy, but (as Tarkin alluded at the end of Season 1) they're not united yet - not communicating with each other and coordinating their actions. Bail Organa and others are of course in the process of finding and contacting different local resistance groups, which will eventually join together and formally become "the Rebel Alliance".
- After Kenobi and Yoda, Ahsoka is one of the people Vader would most want to destroy because she knew Anakin very well and is a living reminder of the good person he used to be but would like to forget and bury in the past.
- Asked if Ezra was born the exact same day as Luke and Leia, Hidalgo points out that he logically couldn't have been: Ezra is stated to have been born on Empire Day itself, the day that Palpatine declared the new Galactic Empire in the Senate - a speech that Padme was present for, she died in childbirth after that. Hidalgo thinks that about two days passed (in Episode III) between that speech and when Luke and Leia are born at the end.
- Hidalgo: The Stormtrooper armor in "Rebels" is not meant to be a different, early "Phase" of armor, compared to the Stormtrooper armor seen in "A New Hope". The Clone Troopers did go through a major in-universe armor design upgrade from "Phase I" armor seen in "Attack of the Clones" to "Phase II" armor seen in "Revenge of the Sith" (three years later at the end of the Clone Wars). Hidalgo says that while sharp-eyed fans might pick apart a few slight differences in "Rebels", these are purely stylistic (due to being a cartoon) and in-universe there was no major update to Stormtrooper armor between "Rebels" and "A New Hope".
- Filoni: He talked with Lucas, who confirmed to him that not all Clone Troopers turned on their Jedi during Order 66 - Rex had been warned about this conspiracy by Fives.
- What happened to the rest of the surviving clones? Hidalgo: "A lot of different things happened to them. Some of them had pretty sad situations. In many ways, the Clone Troopers are sort of this 'lost generation' of unappreciated veterans who helped save the galaxy and were then discarded. Others, though, stayed loyal to the Empire, and became sort of a training guard - they became the instructors at academies across the galaxy, training the next generation of soldiers" (the non-clone Stormtroopers).
- The AT-AT variant used in this episode is officially supposed to be an advanced variant that Kallus was assigned somehow - they're officially bigger in-universe than the ones used at Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back". They based it on early concept art from that movie - also bigger is more fun.
- The writers were asked the old debate about how they pronounce "AT-AT": sounding out the letters of the acronym as "aye-tee-aye-tee" (All Terrain Armored Transport) or just sounding it out as "at at". Filoni argues that when children first saw the movie in the 1980s and had toys based on it, many people just sounded it out as "at at" - in his opinion, only know-it-alls called it "aye-tee-aye-tee", because they had to hunt down that information (there wasn't as much of an easily accessible Expanded Universe of novels and resources then, much less easily accessed internet guides). Hidalgo, however, defends that in-universe, the correct pronunciation is indeed "aye-tee-aye-tee" because it's an acronym, and they take care that this is how the voice actors will pronounce it any time it is spoken aloud on-screen. That being said, however, Hidalgo recognizes that enough people pronounce it "at at" that off-screen, if they were just sitting down to coffee with someone and they called it "at at", he wouldn't feel compelled to interrupt and correct them.
- Hidalgo is asked how Kanan can know about the clone brain chips when he didn't find out about that in the spinoff comic showing him during Order 66 and his first year on the run from the new Empire. Hidalgo acknowledges the comic didn't mention it but simply points out that after the comic ended another 14 years passed before "Rebels" started, so presumably Kanan just found out about it eventually in the interim.
- Filoni describes the Inquisitors, pointing out that they're not called "Darth" because they're not full Sith, but the writers use the brother/sister terminology to make it feel like they're part of a "strange cult" / monastic order of some kind.
- Hidalgo: The numbers are ranks and they're meant to hint at competition between the Inquisitors (they don't view each other as equals). The low numbers are also meant to suggest that there are a relatively small number of them (i.e. not hundreds). Filoni admits that the death of the Grand Inquisitor, the head of the group, led to a power vacuum within the Inquisitors, and they're now competing among themselves to seize higher positions.
- Filoni hints at who the Grand Inquisitor was before he was an Inquisitor: "Rebels" is not the first time we've seen the Grand Inquisitor. He was in the Clone Wars, but you didn't know it at the time.
- Hidalgo: the TIE fighters used in "Rebels" are indeed meant to be the same model later seen in "A New Hope". The wings appear proportionately a little smaller but that's just a stylistic thing due to being a cartoon - in-universe they're not meant to be a different proportion. Also, the cockpits of TIEs seen in the original trilogy seem too cramped to fit three people inside. Hidalgo explains that the low camera angles used in those shots in the films made the cockpits seem more cramped than they actually are. He then displays a detailed model of a TIE, and also set photos of the actual live-action TIE cockpit used in the original trilogy, and it is indeed big enough to fit three people.
- Did Sabine know about AT-AT's weak spot (in the neck) from Tseebo's downloaded info or from her time at the Academy? Hidalgo: from her time at the Imperial Academy. She excelled at weapons training and knows a lot of information about Imperial weapons and vehicles. She's the team's weapons expert.
- As opposed to the idea that the B-Wings later displace the Y-Wings as obsolete, Hidalgo says that different groups of rebels in different parts of the galaxy simply happened to use different fighters. The Yavin 4 group that went against the Death Star happened to use just X-Wings and Y-Wings - Hidalgo and Filoni felt the B-Wings and A-Wings didn't appear quite as prominently in the original trilogy, so they decided that this group of rebels (Phoenix Group's cell) will just happen to rely on A-Wings and B-Wings as their mainstay fighters, to visually differentiate them.
- Wolffe and Gregor did not accompany the rebels back to their fleet when they left; the mission was just to get commander Rex. They stayed behind on Seelos. Hidalgo thinks they really wouldn't be up for a new war anyway: Wolffe is kind of reluctant, he's blind in one eye, and Gregor suffered some brain trauma in that big explosion he was in and was left kind of kooky. So they stayed retired on Seelos. Hidalgo hints that where we left them, "let's just say they've got a bigger boat now" - referencing that the joopa hunt scene was an homage to the film "Jaws". Somewhat implied that they're going to salvage the parts from their damaged AT-TE and the three AT-ATs they took down to repair one of the AT-AT's as their new cobbled-together mobile home (just like they customized their original AT-TE).
- Sabine didn't go immediately from being a star Imperial cadet to being a rebel (there wasn't even a widespread rebellion to join at the time). Ketsu helped her get out of the Imperial Academy, but then for a while Sabine became a bounty hunter, and only after that did she join up with the rebel cell on Lothal.
- Asked what are under Hera's headphones, ears or some kind of cones/mini-lekku (head tentacles). Hidalgo confirms they're actually small cones, and that this goes back to the original trilogy itself. Male Twi'leks have lobed ears like humans, but females have these small cones instead. In "Return of the Jedi" we see the male Bib Fortuna with lobed ears, but the dancing girl Oola with the cones. This was followed in the Prequel Trilogy with Aayla Secura. So "Rebels" didn't make this choice they're just following what the movies consistently did.
- Filoni discusses how the concept for the Interdictor originated in the original Expanded Universe, starting in the old Star Wars roleplaying game by West End games.
- Recruits enter the Imperial Academy at 15, but Sabine is 16 at the start of Rebels. When was she a bounty hunter? Filoni explains "we have every reason to believe she was a prodigy as a child", so she was fast-tracked, possibly becoming a bounty hunter at 13, definitely by 14 (i.e. we've seen child prodigies that quickly assume major offices at young ages, like Amidala and later her daughter Senator Leia).
- Filoni: The Emperor isn't one to share power, so the Inquisitors are what he allows to exist, keeping them on a short leash - i.e., he doesn't have them trained as full Sith so they'll never be powerful enough to turn against him.
- Hidalgo: The writers assume that standard units of measurement are used across the galaxy, i.e. an "hour" or a "day", are based on the standards of the galactic capital planet Coruscant (as in the original Expanded universe).
- Didn't want the fate of Ezra's parents to be hanging over his head for the entire series, and they didn't want it to be too similar to what happened to Luke in the original movie trilogy (actually getting to find his parents, and/or finding out they turned evil).
- Garel was a temporary stop, they couldn't even land all of their ships in the same place.
- Filoni: they're always running from the Empire from one temporary base to the next, one step ahead. Hidalgo: it's why in the movies we see them having bases on uninhabited planets like Yavin 4 and Hoth. It's not only harder to find that way, but it means they're not endangering the civilian population by their mere presence.
- Ezra has the "power to connect"? It's not that only some Jedi can "connect" with other creatures they feel through the force. All Jedi can, Ezra's just naturally very good at it with little training.
- Everyone at the Star Wars Rebels offices is excited to go see Episode VII: The Force Awakens in theaters over the mid-season break!
- Pablo Hidalgo is asked about the B-Wing which debuted back in "Wings of the Master": dialogue in that episode established that the name stands for "Blade Wing". Hidalgo is asked if the "B" always stood for that, or if Rebels invented it, and if it is canon now. Hidalgo explained that as he heard it, back when Return of the Jedi was being produced, when it was decided that two new starfighter designs would be made for the film, they were simply referred to as "A-fighter" and "B-fighter", even before the designs were even created. These were just placeholder names which eventually stuck, and which had no relationship with their physical appearance whatsoever (in contrast, the X-Wing and Y-Wing have the shape of those letters). Over time, years later, fans and Expanded Universe writers tried to come up with reasons for why they were called this. Apart from the A-Wing sort of having the general outline of a capital "A", some Expanded Universe writings came up with the idea that the "B" stands for "Blade wing", because when its wings are folded up and not in attack position, it has a narrow blade-like profile. Therefore, as Hidalgo explained, the name "B-Wing" didn't originally stand for anything, Star Wars Rebels did not itself invent the idea that it stands for "Blade Wing", but this is a fanon/Expanded Universe term which Rebels has now confirmed as the canon explanation behind the name.
- This episode is just starting to unravel Sabine's backstory, it and the Mandalorians will be a major running subplot in the TV series. Filoni "would argue" that Sabine's mother, was in fact, one of the Death Watch members in the throne room when Pre Vizsla was killed and Darth Maul took over (back in Clone Wars). Hidalgo: reiterates that this is still just "the tip of the iceberg" on the Mandalorian subplots; they did a lot of backstory building for Mandalore back in Clone Wars, how the different Mandalorian clans connect to each other, their rivalries.
- Specific Question: What is the relationship between "Clan" and "House", what do they represent? When Sabine says she is "Clan Wren, House Vizsla"? Filoni: It's a pyramid structure. The Ruler of Mandalore has for themselves the Protectors, who are a Kingsguard / royal guard. Below that are the separate "Houses", the big factions like Kryze and Vizsla. Beneath that are "Clans" - multiple clans work under a House, they're bannermen to them. Thus "Clan Wren" is a vassal sworn to House Viszla.
- What happened to Mandalore in the gap between series? This will be gradually revealed more as the major Mandalorian subplot advances in Rebels, but the writers give some general outline:
- The untold end of the Clone Wars (the series was abruptly canceled) "would have centered on the tensions on Mandalore, and would have left the planet in a certain condition." Presumably, Mandalore ended up being occupied by the Republic - which soon transformed into the Empire.
- Henry Gilroy: Because Mandalore has a lot of power in the Senate, and an infamously powerful military, the Empire thought it would be too much trouble to force a direct occupation on them - instead it's a "soft occupation" - the Empire found someone they could control within Mandalorian society or leadership to prop up as a pro-Imperial puppet leader/faction, which will cause less trouble than the Empire trying to control Mandalore directly.
- Hidalgo: We're going to be exploring more of how the Empire deals with Mandalore, and Mandalore deals with the Empire.
- Twitter Question: Were Leia's ships Hammerhead Cruisers from Knights of the Old Republic?: in-universe, yes, they are modern ships designed in an ancient/classic style - though they're not literally thousands of years old ships that have directly survived from that era. Out of universe, yes, it was a nod to KOTOR.
- Filoni: They wanted Zeb to have been someone important and recognizable from Lasan's society, but not so important as to be overdoing it, i.e. if he was outright a member of the Lasan royal family. So they decided that he was a member of the Lasan Honor Guard to the royal family, and not just a guard, but their captain of these elite guards. So other Lasats would know who Zeb was but he's not so important that it's contrived (i.e., in Star Wars terms, if this was Naboo, Zeb was not someone like Amidala or her family, but a character on the scale of Captain Panaka, commander of the Naboo royal guards. If this was Alderaan, Zeb wasn't a member of the Organa family, but he'd be Captain Antilles of the Tantive IV).
- Instead of fatalistically believing that his race is nearly extinct, and just fighting the Empire out of principle, the revelation of millions of surviving Lasats has given Zeb a future to fight for - even if the odds are very much against it, he now has hope.
- Hidalgo: A theme they're exploring, in several ways across the series, is that "spirituality" and what you could call "The Force" is not something that the Jedi and Sith had exclusive access to. You can have species like the Lasat who have spirituality, who can even do things that seem mystical/magical, which are their interpretation and understanding of the Force.
- Twitter question: Is Sabine's father Obi-Wan Kenobi? (Given that her mother was stated to be a Death Watch member and Kenobi went to Mandalore back in Clone Wars) And is Rey (from the Sequel Trilogy) the daughter of Sabine and/or Ezra? Hidalgo bluntly says no to all of this speculation.
- The idea with the Purrgil was asking how hyperspace travel first developed - these space-based animals do it organically. Maybe the first intelligent races that invented hyperdrives were inspired by Purrgil and animals like them, and/or researched them, and this is how interstellar travel got started.
- Another, wider question that Hidalgo wanted to somewhat address in this episode is what happened to all of the corporate guilds seen in the Prequel Trilogy era, which were courted to become the backbone of the Separatist forces (as large galactic organs of industry and commerce, they had the most resources to build their own private armies, which is why Sidious manipulated them into conflict with the Republic). Chief among these were the Trade Federation, the Techno Union, the InterGalactic Banking Clan, the Commerce Guild, the Corporate Alliance, and the Hyper-Communications Cartel. It has generally been assumed that after their defeat at the end of the war, these mega-corporations were all nationalized and absorbed by the Empire (the original Expanded Universe explicitly said that most were, though one or two such as the Intergalactic Banking Clan managed to survive complete dismantling, albeit with heavy new restrictions). Hidalgo, however, points out that the "Mining Guild" was referred to in the Original Trilogy itself, in The Empire Strikes Back - when Leia asks Lando if Cloud City on Bespin is "part of the Mining Guild" (though he explains that no, their activities on Bespin are small enough to escape such large-scale notice). Therefore, Hidalgo concludes, large corporations must have survived under the Empire, in some form or another (apparently retooled and restructured to serve the Empire). The Corporate Alliance was also mentioned in passing earlier in Season 2, so it is also apparently still around - in some capacity.
- Gilroy: The Mining Guild TIE Fighter has a notch cut out of the front for better visibility, but this negatively affects its maneuverability. They are intended to be patrol ships scanning for trouble, much more than they are meant for actual combat.
- Twitter Question 1: When the ship flew near a black hole in "Legends of the Lasat", did the crew experience gravitational time dilation? Hidalgo explains that in real life, due to relativity and space-time, traveling near a high-gravity object such as a black hole will make a ship's crew experience time more slowly relative to the outside galaxy (i.e. it's a major plot point in the film Interstellar) - however, Hidalgo stresses, Star Wars is at heart a fantasy, and doesn't really strive to have Hard SciFi realism. In the fantasy of "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" they have Objective Time: someone on Coruscant can wake up on a Tuesday and it's also the same Tuesday on Tatooine. It's more complicated than that in real life, but this is Star Wars (so no, they didn't experience time dilation).
- Twitter Question 2: What exactly is the difference between "Wild Space" and "the Unknown Regions"? Hidalgo's explanation is that the Unknown Regions are areas of the galaxy where the borders are known, but it hasn't really been explored - sort of like a dark jungle that no one has ever gone into, while "Wild Space" is more like off the edge of the map itself, where no one knows what's on the other side.
- Note: The definitions of "the Unknown Regions" and "Wild Space" fluctuated in the original Expanded Universe. Earlier on, the concept was that the overwhelming majority of the galaxy had already been explored, spiraling outwards from the Core worlds where interstellar empires first flourished: the "Unknown Regions" were the outer fringe of the galactic spiral, beyond the Outer Rim. Then "Wild Space" was developed as a sort of buffer zone between the settled Outer Rim and the Unknown Regions - the difference being that Wild Space at least had some charted hyperspace routes and basic planet locations noted, though the planets themselves were unexplored; in effect the galaxy's true frontier. Later on, however, towards the late 1990's, this was restructured so that the "western" quarter or so of the galaxy hadn't been explored (due to few good hyperspace lanes leading into it), making colonization spread there much more slowly (the result being that it was much easier to make up new major alien races with large empires as stories required them, such as the Chiss, instead of the only unexplored regions being the scant fringe of the galaxy). "Wild Space" was then redefined to basically have the status that the term "Unknown Regions" originally meant - the sectors beyond the fringe of the explored Outer Rim. In the new definition, some sectors of the "Unknown Regions" in the western part of the galaxy are actually nowhere near the physical "Outer Rim" of the galactic spiral. The Expanded Universe was rebooted when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, but little seems to have changed - Hidalgo confirms they are still using the re-definition of "Unknown Regions" and "Wild Space" that was developed in the late 1990's (after the Thrawn Trilogy).
- Filoni, Hidalgo, Gilroy: Cham has been fighting his whole life - he fought to free Ryloth from the Separatists only for the Republic to turn into the Empire and occupy his planet yet again, then he fought them too. He's been hardened by years of never ending fighting. He stayed on Ryloth in the intervening years and saw firsthand its suffering, the Empire exploited the planet's resources and sold some Twi'leks into slavery. So he's a little less noble and idealistic than before. He doesn't trust outsiders anymore and wants to focus purely on helping Ryloth, not the wider rebellion across the galaxy (he needs to be convinced that Ryloth can't do this alone).
- Freddie Prinze Jr.: Obviously, Kanan and Hera seem to have feelings for each other, so that's one reason Kanan wants to make a good impression on Cham because he's her father. But also, Cham was a famous general who knew and faithfully fought side by side with the old lineage of Jedi that Kanan looked up to: Mace Windu specifically, but off-screen also other Jedi like his own master Deppa Bilaba. After the Jedi were wiped out, Cham is one of the few people who personally remembers them and admired them, so it's a treasured link to his old life.
- Filoni: Numa previously appeared as a young girl in Clone Wars. She grew up in a world that was fighting to survive a war and then a resistance in an armed occupation, so like Cham, she was also hardened (and she actually met Obi-Wan Kenobi). Because of her background, she believes in actively fighting back against the Imperial occupation, just like the Separatist occupation in her childhood.
- Twitter Question: How could Kanan and Ezra go out in that environment (on the Mining Guild planet) with only a helmet for protection, especially the scenes in space? Hidalgo: the station was in the planet's upper atmosphere, and the Rodians didn't need helmets or breath-masks; the planet did have an atmosphere, the Clouzon gas was just toxic. There must have been usable oxygen mixed in there too: without large external air tanks, the helmets just act as a filter, so there must be some breathable oxygen mixed in there too. As for how Kanan and Ezra could be standing on the top of the ship as it was heading into space at the end of the episode, they were still in the upper atmosphere at that point, then they went inside off-screen before they truly reached outer space. The planet just has loose gravity and a diffuse atmosphere.
- Hidalgo: A lot of people in the Empire thought they were doing the right thing, they were the good guys restoring peace and order to the galaxy. They wanted to show this with Kallus.
- Gilroy: One-dimensional villains are boring. Kallus doesn't think he's evil, he believes in what he's doing, we see him as more multifaceted.
- What happened to Geonosis? Hidalgo: It was strongly implied that in the final scenes of Episode III: Revenge of The Sith, when the Emperor and Vader are looking out at the skeleton of the in-construction Death Stark, that this was actually at Geonosis. Back in Episode II, the Geonosians were the ones tasked to build it in the first place (for the Separatists)
- Filoni: The Death Star construction project must be so vast, even on the scale of an entire galaxy, that the Empire can't completely keep it a secret. Purely from a supply and logistics standpoint, there must be little hints and rumblings about it, vague notions that the Empire is producing a lot of construction materials and no one knows where they're going.
- Another one of these hints occurred in episode 1.4: in the Rebels Recon for the episode, the writers said that the shipment of Kyber Crystals the Empire was collecting in it were probably going to be used in the construction of the Death Star's super laser.
- Gilroy: The mystery of what happened to the Geonosians will be revisited.
- Twitter question: How does Hera switch back and forth between a Ryloth/French accent like other Twi'leks? Hidalgo points out that Hera has simply been living away from her home planet for many years as a starship pilot and learned to drop her home accent, but it can come out again if she's in a home setting with her father and is very flustered. Hidalgo them explains that he knows this from experience because he is himself Canadian, and has learned to suppress his Canadian accent, but can still slip into it.
- Was The Grand Inquisitor indeed a Jedi Temple Guard, or was this part of the Force vision? The writers stress that this was a Force vision sent by Yoda, explicitly to communicate a major theme/message to each of the three in the temple (similar to how Luke's Force vision of Vader in the cave on Dagobah when training with Yoda had some parts which were metaphorical, such as Luke finding his own face beneath Vader's helmet). Yes, a major take away from the vision was that the Grand Inquisitor was a former Jedi Knight. However, he might not have actually been a Temple Guard - that's just the role he was cast in for Yoda's Force vision.
- Ahsoka's line about how the last time she saw Anakin "he was heading to save the Chancellor" heavily implies they met again immediately before Revenge of the Sith. Dave Filoni's hope was to continue the Clone Wars all the way up to the end of the war - the beginning of Revenge of the Sith itself with the Battle of Coruscant. The past series was abruptly canceled, however, so a couple of intended plotlines from the close of the war went unfinished (i.e. what ultimately happened on Mandalore). So this unfilmed story arc would have had Ahsoka on this last important mission at the time which crossed paths with Anakin again. This hints that in the future we will learn more about the last time Ahsoka and Anakin met on the eve of Revenge of the Sith (either in flashback, described, or tie-in comics).
- Twitter question: The new "Star Wars: Darth Vader" tie-in comic series revisited Geonosis again in issue #4 (released in April 2015, almost a full year before this episode aired), in which it was revealed that Geonosis had been "sterilized" at some point between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope by the Empire. Vader does find a surviving Geonosian queen, however when he investigates deep into the planet's hive tunnels - though she has been sterilized, gone insane, and is trying to rebuild her "hive" using droids because she can't reproduce biologically. If this queen was still alive in the planet, why didn't the Ghost crew detect any life signs at all (either using their sensors or Kanan and Ezra through the Force)? Hidalgo answers that the explanation is simple: the Ghost crew weren't there for very long and only had time to do a cursory scan on the entire planet, while the one queen Vader found was hidden away deep within the planet (and was hiding on purpose). So it is plausible that a few scattered Geonosian individuals could be hiding out inside the planet without the Ghost crew being able to notice in such a short amount of time.
- Twitter Question: Does the appearance of Malachor now mean that Knights of the Old Republic is now part of the new canon? No. The new canon overlaps sometimes and feels free to pull a few elements from the old Legends continuity as it progresses - but entire previous entries in the Legends continuity aren't automatically put into the new canon in their entirety just because they copy one element here or there from something.
Season 3 notes
- The writers discuss the introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn from the old EU.
- The writers discuss The Bendu and the nature of the Force, how the Bendu is "in the middle" and neither Jedi nor Sith.
- In a special one minute long "bonus clip" cut from the main featurette (apparently for time constraints), the writers also discuss Governor Arihnda Pryce, mentioned before as the real governor of Lothal but not introduced on-screen until this episode.
- Filoni feels Anakin was never innately going to turn to the Dark side: that was a choice and factors affected it. One of the reasons Anakin fell, he feels, is that the people around him, the Jedi, had a lack of compassion: in their dedication to selflessness, they almost forgot to care.
- Ezra isn't stupid, he knows Maul is trying to manipulate him. Ezra wants to seek Dark Side knowledge to gain an edge, and that's dangerous, but at least he's aware it's dangerous and knows not to trust anything Maul says now, so that at least keeps him from falling into the more obvious traps - plus he has a good support network of people who care about him, his found-family in the Ghost crew (an advantage Anakin didn't have).
- Maul looking for "hope"...Hidalgo "He has a game plan". Maul has cheated death enough times that he isn't trying to achieve longer life for himself or those around him, like Anakin tried to save his wife and unborn child; he wants to establish a different legacy, but not specifically for the Sith order.
- Twitter Q&A with Pablo Hidalgo: Does Thrawn outrank Tarklin like in the old EU? What is the chain of command for the Empire?
- Hidalgo says that the full chain of command is a bit too complicated to explain in the limited screentime of this bonus video, but he will point out that Tarkin is a "Grand Moff", which is a political rank - he's the governor overseeing all of the Outer Rim territories. In contrast, Thrawn is a "Grand Admiral" - which is a military rank, referring to how much of the Imperial fleet he directly controls. This gets a bit muddled because Tarkin is a military-governor: apparently Tarkin is more important, but Thrawn isn't in his direct chain of command (by comparison, in the Clone Wars series Senator Amidala was more "important" than an Admiral in the Republic Fleet, but that doesn't mean such an admiral was within Amidala's direct chain of command).
- Second twitter question: Why couldn't the rebels jump straight to the Yarma system?
- Hidalgo: It's an occluded region of space - with a lot of stuff in it - you need to stop and recalculate your coordinates before going through a nebula, dust cloud, etc., so it's a natural choke point for hyperspace travel. The Mining Guild keeps a base there to exact tolls on anyone stopping there who have to recalculate their hyperspace route.
- A lot of people wanted them to put Biggs Darklighter in along with Wedge and Hobbie, but ultimately they felt Biggs was a little too big for a story of this relatively small scale.
- Skystrike Academy isn't just another flight academy, it is indeed the best of the best in the galaxy, they get first pick on new models like TIE Interceptors, etc. They felt the need to stress that the Ghost crew isn't just risking their lives for two more random pilots: Wedge and Hobbie are crack, top-gun pilots on a galactic scale, and they will be very valuable additions to the growing rebel air wing.
- Sabine didn't go to a flight academy when she was in an Imperial Academy. Gilroy says she was probably in "the MIT on Mandalore" - an engineering academy that focused on designing and developing advanced weapons, which is why she's such a weapons expert. So it's a different skillset. But Sabine was the smartest of the smart, top of her class, and is already a good pilot, so they didn't feel it was too much of a stretch that she could briefly fake her way around in a flight academy.
- Filoni: A longer-running plot we're going to find out more about in Season Three is the growing Mandalorian subplot which has been alluded to before. The pro-Imperial puppet government installed on Mandalore is going along with the Empire, feeding them the best of their young warrior cadets (and Mandalorians are famously great warriors in the first place) to hone them into the best soldiers the Empire can produce.
- Twitter Question: Does space affect humans and/or Jedi the same in Star Wars the way it does for humans in real life? Shouldn't Kanan have died the instant he was exposed to space when he was blown out the airlock last episode?
- Hidalgo: Star Wars has never been utterly concerned with scientific accuracy (see the earlier question about time dilation near a black hole), but actually, Hidalgo points out, the general scientific consensus now is that a human in real life can survive in hard vacuum for about 90 seconds without dying - and Kanan was only outside the space station for less than 20 seconds. He very quickly Force-pushed himself back through the energy shield back into the hangar. The pressure difference between 1 atmosphere and none in a vacuum isn't really that drastic, nor would a person instantly freeze because space isn't truly cold enough to flash-freeze someone: exposed for under 20 seconds, Kanan was badly frosted over, but wasn't too much the worse for wear. So overall, Hidalgo feels that Kanan surviving brief exposure to hard vacuum like that was actually entirely realistic.
- Hera's backstory:
- Vanessa Marshall: had some inklings, you could generally get the impression that Ryloth had been a major front in the Clone Wars, but it was good to get specifics on that.
- Filoni: Her growing up was very challenging, because her father was always in the middle of military and political battles.
- Hidalgo: Part of the reason Cham was such a successful leader in wartime is because he was a successful leader in peacetime as well; so their home was like the mayor's mansion. So it's this direct violation that not just her world, but her home itself has been invaded and taken over by the Imperials (it wouldn't make sense for them to take over a random house, but taking over the local governor's mansion is an obvious step).
- Gilroy: As Thrawn said, she's been forged by war. Her resilience and strength as a character. You understand, meeting her father, why she is so strong.
- Gilroy: real world basis for the Kalikori is, of course, a heritage quilt.
- This is the first time they've come up against Thrawn face to face (they didn't know his was directing the forces in the season premiere). The big thing is that they really don't know him, can't anticipate him. Gilroy: Thrawn isn't very well known, and part of the reason why is that any rebel cells he's come into contact with, he's totally wiped out. There are no surviving reports. Hidalgo: One of the key things about Thrawn in our series is that for him, a "victory" is getting a piece of information that he didn't have at the start. That's a different victory scenario than our heroes are used to. They might think, "hurray, we got away" - without stopping to think what they just revealed to Thrawn about themselves and their tactics. Filoni: He really wanted Thrawn and Hera to be adversaries. He's literally studied her, her family, and her history, so he knows a lot about it.
- Thrawn's interest in art has been part of his character since the Legends continuity. How is that going to play out?
- Hidalgo: It wasn't planned out that this would tie in when it was introduced in Season 1, but a happy coincidence was the separate development that Sabine is an artist. That she rebels against the conformity the Empire tried to impose on her by using graffiti art and customizing her armor. So of course, Thrawn is going to be drawn to study Sabine's art.
- Gilroy: This was an organic way to bring Thrawn into our stories, by having him study Sabine's art - but also the art of Lothal (giving him insight into Ezra), Jedi temple artwork (giving him insight into Kanan), Twi'lek art in this episode (Hera), etc. So there're lots of opportunities for Thrawn to examine art and use it to dissect our heroes in the series.
- Twitter Question: In the original Legends continuity, didn't Hobbie defect with Biggs Darklighter aboard the Rand Ecliptic, not with Wedge? What gives?
- Hidalgo: In much the same way that Sabine helped Wedge and Hobbie defect, there's nothing to say that Hobbie didn't do the same favor for Biggs later down the line (i.e. in the new continuity, instead of Biggs defecting "with" fellow defector Hobbie, they think Hobbie is going to be the rebel point of contact who helps Biggs *to* defect, etc.
- Gilroy: The sudden end of the war with Order 66 meant that for many Clonetroopers, they felt like they never really had a chance to finish their mission.
- Hidalgo: Rex is such a good soldier, but the idea that he never had a good "mission completion" - the war was basically yanked from under him. And the way that the Clonetroopers are engineered, trained and even mentally encoded to think in terms of finishing the mission they were tasked with, the fact that they didn't get to do that must hover over their heads.
- Hidalgo: The idea of what people who were fighting in the Clone Wars thought they were actually about after it ended is an interesting one. Because we, the audience, know that Palpatine / Sidious was secretly gaming the whole thing, and the whole purpose of the war was just to get him power (engineering the Separatist Crisis as Sidious in order to trick the Republic into giving Palpatine emergency powers). So you get someone who's really smart, like the tactical droid Kalani, surviving that situation, not shutting down, and having a couple of decades to think about it, that's pretty interesting (and Kalani's answer in the episode is that "we Separatists were fighting the tyranny of the Republic").
- Gilroy: What does the future hold for Kalani? In the near future, I kind of see him as hiring himself out as an advisor, to someone like the Hutts. I also thought that once Kalani sees that the Rebellion destroys the Death Star, and starts making it an actual fight against the Empire, he might reconsider and join them (in the episode, Kalani says he won't stay with them because he's calculated that they have a less than 1% chance of overthrowing the Empire - once the Death Star is destroyed people across the galaxy start defecting to the Rebellion en masse because they proved the Empire isn't invincible).
- Twitter question: What's the timeline for Wedge Antilles between "The Antilles Extraction" and the Ahsoka novel which preceded this?
- Hidalgo: Actually, the character in Ahsoka was just named "Antilles" and wasn't meant to be the same character. We think "Antilles" is just a common surname in the Star Wars galaxy, like "Smith" or "Garcia". Consider that three characters in the movies have this surname: Wedge the X-Wing pilot, "Ramus Antilles" - who is the "Captain Antilles" of the Tantive IV, and a "Bail Antilles" who was one of the contenders in the election for a new chancellor after Valorum was deposed in Episode I.
- Question: What has the Empire brought to Mandalore that has gotten the Mandalorian Supercommandos to fight for them? Hidalgo: Stability, for one thing. We've been thinking a lot about Mandalore as the series progresses, Sabine's history. What does it mean to have the Empire on Mandalore? And how do you keep a planet that went through such a chaotic civil war through the Clone Wars in order? But it seems that obviously we have a group where not everyone was aligned, and there were those who were more opportunistic, and who were willing to sign up with the Empire.
- Hidalgo: Gar Saxon is the quintessential sellout.
- Gilroy: He was part of Maul's reign on Mandalore and was there through Maul's whole reign until the end, but once Maul was removed near the end of the Clone War, Gar Saxon very likely withdrew into hiding. But then, once the Republic because the Empire and the Empire wanted a puppet leader on Mandalore, he was probably more than willing to come out of the shadows, and do whatever it took to gain the Emperor's favor.
- Kilian Plunkett: The design for the Mandalorian Supercommandos in this episode stems from the original idea for Boba Fett in the Original Trilogy that he actually was part of a group of "Imperial Supercommandos". Early concept videos showing an all-white armor version of the costume. Saxon's original design in the comics was Mandalorian armor with horns on the helmet inspired by Maul, because he was one of his cohort there. None of this transfers into the present era, in which his "Supercommando" armor now shows a strong Imperial Stormtrooper influence - to show that now he's completely thrown his lot in with the Empire. The Supercommandos are really much more "Imperial" than they are "Mandalorian" at this point, which will come up more in the future.
- Twitter question 1: How could Rex take Blaster boltons that would normally kill a Clone Trooper, not only not die, but continue to fight?
- Hidalgo: As they point out in the episode itself, these Separatist droids are in a poor state of repair, they're breaking down, so their blaster shots aren't at full power; had these been fresh and new droids during the Clone Wars Rex would have died.
- Twitter question 2: Why do some characters say "Clone War" instead of "Clone Wars", is there a difference or reason for that?"
- Hidalgo: "No, just personal preference. Both are perfectly acceptable."
- The three Iron Squadron characters are based on characters from around the office at Lucasfilm, i.e. "Gooti Terez" for "Andi Gutierrez".
- They're just some kids who spontaneously formed their own "rebel cell" of three kids with no training and one ship, and grandiosely declared themselves "Iron Squadron". They have no idea there's a wider rebellion, they've never seen a star destroyer before. They haven't been at this for very long. All they've done is taken out a transport or two and staffed some ground targets. Given that Mykapo doesn't have a large Imperial garrison they're overconfident because, from their perspective, they've been able to handle any local forces in their immediate area - simply because the Empire never reacted to such a minor threat in force before.
- Marti's hair was designed to have a "Ramones, 1970s look".
- Hidalgo says Iron Squadron was partially inspired by one of the earliest Star Wars draft ideas, in which apart from Wookiees being involved, in A New Hope the end battle was going to include "this sort of Lost Boys group of kids, just this group of youngsters that would joint the fight against the Empire" - but that core idea remains in there, that the idealistic youth of the galaxy are leading the fight against tyranny".
- No, this is not the Outrider made famous by Dash Rendar, it's just another ship of the same model. Plinkett actually worked on it for Shadows of the Empire. It's a smaller more compact slightly sleeker version of the Millenium Falcon (it was originally a Doug Change design). In fact, Change designed it for the Star Wars ANS special edition; they were making it for Shadows of the Empire game at the time, so they took a background ship that appears at Mos Eisley in the special edition and put it in the game.
- Twitter Question: Is the Supercommando program a Mandalorian thing or a galaxy-wide, Imperial thing?
- Hidalgo: Very much a Mandalorian thing; that's how the Mandalorians are expressed in the Empire. Any "Imperial Supercommando" is from Mandalore, and the armor is designed and made on Mandalore. They're an all-Mandalorian contingent within the Empire.
This was a filler episode in which little happened.
- Gilroy: Lothal is under full lockdown, and we're trying to show by extension that things are getting worse all across the galaxy. The oppression of the Empire is getting worse and worse.
- Hidalgo: Lothal is basically a war factory now. They've dropped all pretense of being there to help you, and the needs of the Imperial war machine have been amped up. It's just a big factory belching out AT-AT's and TIE Fighters.
- Hidalgo: If they're not a soldier in the Empire, then the only real use for you is as a cog in a machine. Factory drones cranking out more weapons. Part of this was inspired by THX-1138. The idea that your identity is being wiped away, they're all wearing face-obscuring work helmets, and they're referred to by number, not by name.
- Gilroy: When we last left Lothal and Ryder, there was no rebel movement anymore - the Ghost crew's rebel cell fled and Lothal went into lockdown. Since then, Ryder has been a very busy man. He's the old Republic-era governor, people respect him, he defied the Empire, so he's been rebuilding up the underground resistance again on Lothal off-screen, explaining where the handful of local rebel soldiers in this episode come from. He's been a very busy man.
- Hidalgo: We kind of figured that people would accurately guess that Kallus is the new Fulcrum (just based on process of elimination, the thematic point of it, even before he helped Sabine). So they didn't add any hints to it at all (the way they sort of did with Ahsoka's logo appearing on crates). But the fan community is such that unless it's super-obvious, they're always going to debate it, and make points and counter points.
- Gilroy: This is something we've been working towards for a few seasons, that yeah, absolutely, there were people in the Empire who were spies, who gradually realized it was wrong. It's awesome we're able to show a character who you thought was evil isn't as evil as you think. And you realize why they'd turn: they joined the fight thinking the Empire was going to make the galaxy a better place, however, it's not turning out that way.
- Killian Plinkett: When designing the inside of the factory, you have to actually plan out that all of the conveyor belts could plausibly work, if you wanted it to move. It's not just random parts.
- Hidalgo: We were all itching to introduce the TIE Defender into the show, from the old TIE fighter video games.
- Gilroy: We really wanted to make Thrawn a tactical leader, in realizing that the rebels are a growing threat, he is way ahead of the curve, as far as planning where they're going to end up. When he knows that he has the Defender ready and in mass production, just like Hera says in this episode, if they build this thing we're in deep trouble.
- Hidalgo: For those of us who remember playing the old TIE fighter game, the TIE Defender is a great ship. It's fast, it's got shields, it's even got a hyperdrive. It sort of evens the odds, and you don't need hundreds and hundreds of them to defeat just a small number of rebel starfighters. It evens the odds between the versatility of an X-Wing fighter, and the limited capabilities of a regular TIE fighter.
- Twitter question: Why doesn't Kanan have cybernetic eyes? We've seen those.
- A - They're expensive and the rebels are just scraping by, B - He really wants to focus more on his traditional Jedi training which taught him to fight using his other senses anyway.
- Maul has been obsessing over Obi-Wan Kenobi since his original downfall in The Phantom Menace.
- The Darksaber is a symbol of leadership, it was the symbol of Pre Vizsla's authority over Deathwatch, it's an important Mandalorian historical artifact. It's a symbol that Sabine can use to rally the Mandalorian clans behind her; when she says "follow me and not the Imperial puppet regime", possessing the Darksaber means that now there are at least some people who will listen. Again, the Mandalorian subplot has been a slow and gradual build since the beginning of the TV series but they put a lot of thought into how it will develop, long in advance.
- Twitter Question 1: If AT-AT legs are vulnerable to shoulder-mounted missile launchers why didn't they use them at Hoth?
- Hidalgo: Presumably there are a couple of variants of AT-AT, and as we've said before, the ones in the TV series are officially a taller variant. So, maybe having longer legs (for greater range of fire and/or speed) means they're also more vulnerable to missile fire. They're more on the "transport" end of the spectrum; Battle of Hoth, Vader knew he was sending his troops against a full sized heavily defended rebel base, so logically he'd have sent in more heavily armored variants (which are apparently more squat).
- Twitter Question 2: Why do we only see AT-DP's in the series, and not AT-ST's? Are they not in service yet?
- Hidalgo: Both AT-DP's and AT-ST's are in service at the same time, during this point in the chronology. The Imperials we encounter just happen to prefer AT-DP's (and, out of universe, they wanted to vary up the visual appearance more instead of automatically going back to AT-ST's - just as they wanted the rebels in the show to use A-Wings (and later B-Wings) instead of over-using the X-Wings.
- Go see Rogue One over the winter break! There's a lot of things they want to talk about how it ties in with Star Wars Rebels that they can't until you've seen the movie. Rogue One chronologically takes place about two years after Season 3 of this TV show, so it will start setting it up. After the winter break, the construction project on the Death Star (which has been hinted at since Season 1) will start coming to the forefront. In Season 1 we saw that the Empire was taking shipments of Kyber Crystals to some unknown project, and particularly in Season 2, Geonosis had been nearly emptied out to work on some massive construction project, before the Empire quickly shipped out the products to some secret location.
- They're re-introducing Saw Gerrera, who first appeared as a young man in The Clone Wars, then played by Forest Whitaker in live-action in Rogue One, so Whitaker came back to provide Gerrera's voice performance coming up in the second half of Season 3, explaining how the nascent rebellion even finds out about the Death Star leading up to Rogue One. Filoni says that at this point, Gerrera doesn't know exactly what the Death Star is, he just knows something bad is coming, though he can't put a name to it just yet. But he's the first one who realizes that the Empire is devoting so many resources on a galactic scale into a massive and top secret weapons development project that they must be working on some kind of doomsday weapon to wipe them all out, and he's desperately trying to wake everyone else up to what's coming.
- Hidalgo: Saw Gerrera had a lot of rewrites in Rogue One; originally there were many more scenes with "Flashback Saw", when Jyn is a little girl at the beginning of the movie - by the time of the main movie his hair is grown out and he has become more grizzled, with more injuries. You see more of Flashback Saw in scenes that appeared in the movie trailers. Their cartoon version of Saw is based on that earlier version of the movie that had a lot more of Flashback Saw - though in the final cut you do see a brief glimpse of flashback Saw, with a shaved head, establishing that yes he did look like this at some point prior to the movie.
- Filoni: They were excited to get Forest Whitaker to voice his character from the live-action movie, and Forest was excited to appear in the cartoon too.
- Filoni: There's a deterioration in Saw's confidence and believe in what the Rebellion represents, and what they're willing to do, and they don't all agree in just how much danger they're in and how far the Empire is willing to go to crush them. We the audience know that the Empire is going to outright blow up planets for disobedience, the diverse rebel cells at this time do not. Saw sees that the entire population of Geonosis got wiped out and the time for negotiation has long passed. In this episode, even Bail Organa says they hoped to recover some of the poison gas canisters to present them to the Imperial Senate, as if that vestigial body could do anything about it; similarly, in Rogue One the Rebel council on Yavin 4 initially wants to capture one of the Death Star designers alive so he can give testimony revealing the battle station to the Imperial Senate. Saw sees this as ridiculous: Increasingly, the Empire isn't even bothering to hide that they are an iron-fisted fascistic regime, and they need to fight them back in a total war.
- Hidalgo: As explained in Season 2, the Death Star was being constructed over Geonosis at the end of Revenge of the Sith (though the planet itself was off-screen), and when the Ghost crew visited last year it had recently been moved to somewhere else. Where did it go? Well, they knew that it wouldn't be at Geonosis in Rogue One, so they had to show it wasn't there anymore. Officially, Saw Gerrera's ongoing investigations to find out what they're up to were getting close, close enough that it spooked the Death Star project leaders into moving it to a more secure location.
- Gilroy: "Probably as soon as they could get a working hyperdrive on the [unfinished] Death Star, they got it away from Geonosis and then bombed the planet to destroy any evidence and any witnesses."
- Question: "Exactly how much of the Death Star was designed and constructed by the Geonosians before it was wiped out?"
- Hidalgo: "The idea was that the Geonosians are weapons designers [i.e. they designed the Battle Droids] and they had the first feasible plans of the Death Star [footage showing the plans from Attack of the Clones]. What they couldn't figure out was how to get that working super laser: for whatever reason, they couldn't crack that last theoretical nut of how do we get the amount of power required out of this weapon? And that's why Krennic needs Galen, that's what Krennic is all hot about at the beginning of Rogue One, saying "the work has stalled, I need you to come back, because you can deliver something that these bugs can't".
- The Chopper-cam segment shows the fully functional remote-controlled Chopper-bot wandering around the filming set of Rogue One, where he made a brief background cameo in the movie at the Rebel base on Yavin 4.
- Twitter Question: Does Vader have his castle on Mustafar during the timeframe of Star Wars Rebels, or did it get completed nearer to Rogue One (about a year or two after Season 3)?
- Hidalgo: Yes, he does have it during the series, in fact, we've been dying to tell people about it. In fact, if you go back to the Season 1 of Rebels and it ends on Mustafar, and they talk about its reputation as "where Jedi go to die" who have been captured by the Empire, that's what we specifically had in mind, we knew that Vader lived there. They were taking the captive Kanan to Vader's castle on Mustafar. How long did he have it? I'm not going to go into that - but I can confirm that he had it at least since Season 1 of Rebels.
- Hidalgo: Originally this was going to be a Rex/Zeb episode, but they thought pairing him with the droids would be more funny.
- They wanted to go back to Zeb's origins, stressing that he isn't just some dumb muscle (as AP-5 thinks) but he was the captain of the entire Lasat Honor Guard, he's actually a capable leader.
- The infiltrator droid's design was based on Ralph McQuarrie's early conept art for C-3P0.
- Filoni: We lament that we didn't know when this episode was going to air, but if we knew it was airing after Rogue One, we would have made it look more like K-2SO from that movie - given that they're both Imperial war droids, they're fairly similar, it would have been some nice continuity.
- Hidalgo: The infiltrator droid wasn't just on a general search for any rebels, this was Thrawn specifically looking for Sato's group. This was Thrawn thinking outside the box.
- Gilroy: Even the Empire actually has laws specifically banning using bombs hidden inside of droids like this. There are some basic laws of war which even the Empire tries to pay lip service to most of the time, and it is against their protocols to use hidden bombs in droids - it's like police planting car bombs to flush out terrorists. This is very dangerous. Actually, so dangerous that they're outlawed by the Empire, and Thrawn was breaking an Imperial mandate by using this tactic to go after Sato's group.
- Hidalgo: AP-5 and Chopper naturally developed a dynamic. Yes, they are "our version" of R2-D2 and C-3PO, but tweaked enough, with distinct enough personalities, that we think they bring something unique to Rebels. In contrast, the Imperial infiltrator droid doesn't really have a personality, it's just a tool. And I think that helps remind us that to our Rebels, droids are real people, but to the EMpire they're just tools.
- Twitter question 1: When Saw Gerrera appears in Rebels Season 3.5, where is Jyn Erso? We saw in Rogue One that he raised her after the Empire got her parents. How does the timeline all fit together?
- Hidalgo: Officially, Saw's appearance in Rebels is about two years before Rogue One. In that movie, it was stated that Jyn left Saw about six years before - thus when Saw appears in Rebels, Jyn has been gone for around four years already.
- Twitter question 2: Is the queen egg that Klik-Klak had the same one from the Darth Vader comic?
- Hidalgo: Yes that's the idea - but while we imply that, we don't want to connect too many dots just yet, because that's a story we might want to tell later. Leaving our options open. But that's the thought, that they're the same. -- The idea is that the queen in the comics gets so big because Klik-Klak is there to take care of it and he has a big stockpile of royal jelly; and it can speak Basic when Vader encounters it because, well, queens are different from workers (who can't speak Basic) and it probably just learned it from all the abandoned droid factory machines.
- Twitter question 3: Given that Vader killed even that queen, who was sterilized by the poison gas anyway, does this mean that all of the Geonosians are either gone or doomed to extinction?
- Hidalgo: Does that all mean that they're all gone forever and ever? Well the bug tunnels in the planet are extensive and run pretty deep, so maybe there's hope for the Geonosians in the future - you never know.
- George Lucas himself actually came up with the idea of the Darksaber in The Clone Wars, after pointing out that a regular "vibroblade" could not possibly stand up against a lightsaber, it would cut right through the vibroblade. So a whole backstory was made up for it as a special Mandalorian lightsaber.
- Twitter question: Why doesn't Thrawn have a Super Star Destroyer?
- Hidalgo: Who's to say they actually have them at all at this point in time? The first time we saw them was in The Empire Strikes Back, which is chronologically over six years from Rebels Season 3, so they might not have entered into production yet. Even then, the Aftermath novels reveal that officially, only 13 Super Star Destroyers were ever made by the Battle of Endor.
- Filoni: Their armor is grey and has a subdued look because it shows Clan Wren has fallen on hard times after they lost status due to Sabine's actions.
- Filoni: Sabine's mother was born into Clan Wren; her family was more powerful than her father's, so when he married in he took her name.
- Hidalgo: The planet Krownest, seat of Clan Wren: how does that planet correlate with Mandalore? There are "something like a thousand" inhabited worlds in Mandalorian space, not just the home planet Mandalore itself. They're all technically neutral and not part of the Republic and later the Empire (though the Empire installed Gar Saxon as a pro-Imperial puppet regime). The Wrens have been living on this planet for generations, it's their ancestral stronghold.
- Filoni: "I've given a lot of thought to Mandalorian culture since The Clone Wars. There are Clans and Houses, and there are some that see themselves as more "rightfully" Mandalorian - and that would be like Vizsla. The Wrens are not from Mandalore. The Wrens fall into a group that would have been conquered by Mandalore. They are a branch of it, and they have been loyal to Vizsla House, so they are thought of very highly."
- Hidalgo: Ersa killing Gar Saxon is drawing a line in the sand, they've burned their bridges, they're officially on the side against the Empire.
- Gilroy: There's going to be a power vacuum now. Ersa realizes this is an opportunity to restore Clan Wren's security.
- Filoni: As Fenn Rau says, Gar Saxon's death will plunge Mandalore into chaos, it will start a civil war between pro-Imperial and anti-Imperial factions. We'll explore that more in the future.
- Twitter question: Why would Kanan know about the Darksaber if Sabine hadn't told him?
- Hidalgo: The Darksaber has an infamous enough history that Kanan had heard of it, but he didn't know everything about it, and Fenn Rau's explanation of it filled in gaps he didn't know about its backstory.