How 'Star Wars Rebels' Changed 'Star Wars' History

The first season of Star Wars Rebels is now in the books. The Star Wars history books, that is. Rebels was the first new piece of Star Wars content created after Disney bought the company in 2012. That in itself is pretty significant. Beyond that, the show was the first piece of official canon story linking what happened between the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy.

I know what you're thinking. "Weren't there numerous books and comics that told stories in that time frame?" Yes, but those never counted. Plus, but when Disney took over they wiped the Star Wars canon clean. The only things that officially happened in the new Star Wars canon are the six movies, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Any new content they release – books, comics, movies, etc. will all become official parts of the story, too.

So what does that mean? It means that what happened over the course of Star Wars Rebels season one matters. A lot. The actions of the characters and events that unfolded all have a real bearing on Star Wars as a whole. Those events have changed Star Wars history in some minor, and even some major ways. Ideally, you'd just watch all the episodes and see what I mean for yourself. Another option is to continue reading and find out how the Star Wars Rebels canon additions changed Star Wars history forever.

Note: I'm still catching up on The Clone Wars so if this is partially incorrect, my apologies. Thanks to commenter JabbaJohnL for his help. 

Darth Vader Employs an Inquisitor to Hunt Down Jedi

Before now, we always assumed what the films had taught us: that Darth Vader himself hunted down and killed any and all Jedi that survived Order 66. We now know that's not true. He employed The Inquisitor, a Force-using badass with a double-sided spinning lightsaber to kill any remaining Jedi. The idea of the inquisitors has been hinted at in previous iterations but this was definitely the most fully realized and specific version of the story.

Lightsabers Can Be Blasters

In the Original Trilogy, lightsabers were all pretty similar. In the prequels, they were changed by adding second blades and curved hilts. They'll change again in The Force Awakens. But first, they changed in Star Wars Rebels. Ezra, the young Rebel being trained by Kanan, made a lightsaber that also doubled as a blaster.

You Get Your Lightsaber Crystal In a Jedi Temple

Star Wars: The Clone Wars touched upon this in a series of episodes involving Younglings but Star Wars Rebels adds upon it when we see the location, concealment and reveal of a Jedi Temple. More than that, we specifically see what one young Jedi in training must go through inside the temple, and what success reveals. It means you get a crystal to build your lightsaber.

C-3PO and R2-D2 Work as Spies

Though they help a little bit in the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy established C-3PO and R2-D2 as ever present and crucial characters in Star Wars mythology. Star Wars Rebels added more by showing they occasionally undertake spy missions for Bail Organa, the adoptive father of Princess Leia, and a very important figure.

Lando was Always a Scoundrel

Okay, so this isn't really a change in history, more of a reinforcement. But Rebels shows us a bit of Lando Calrissian, voiced by Billy Dee Williams. All we know about Lando pre-Empire Strikes Back is that he's a scoundrel who once owned the Millennium Falcon. And though we didn't see that ship, we did see him gambling and wheeling and dealing.

Rebels Can Steal TIE Fighters

In the Star Wars movies, TIE Fighters are strictly flown by members of the Empire. We see Rebels fly Imperial Shuttles in the movies but never TIE Fighters. That changes several times in Rebels. Who knows; that's a plot point that might be seen again.

The Empire Uses the Dead Remains of the Jedi

The creepiest bit of the first season of Star Wars Rebels is when the Inquisitor lures Kanan into a trap using the remains of deceased Jedi Luminara Unduli. The Force is still faintly felt on her bones and The Inquisitor says this is a tactic he uses often to lure Jedi in for the kill.

Yoda Communicated With Kanan and Ezra

When they enter the Jedi Temple, both Kanan and Ezra communicate directly with Yoda, who we know is on Dagobah. Through the Force, we now know Yoda has been searching for and advising Jedi even from exile.

We Know How Stormtroopers are Trained

Stormtroopers have never appeared to be particularly good soldiers. In Star Wars Rebels, we become even more puzzled by their occasional ineptitude in the films. Ezra infiltrates an academy that trains young men and women to be Stormtroopers, and everyone there is really sharp. So what happens to them when they get out in the field and are often useless? Still, we get to see how these iconic characters come up in the ranks.

The Jedi Were Instrumental in the Start of the Rebellion

There's more to it but, we were always led to believe the Rebels formed without the help of the Jedi. That the Jedi were gone. And while that's still true for the most part, the addition of Kanan and Ezra and possibly others to the canon proves the Jedi have more to do with the Rebellion than Obi-Wan Kenobi let on.

The final page will include major spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels Season One finale. Proceed with caution.

The Rebellion Started as a Bunch of Unaffiliated Cells

The show is called "Star Wars Rebels" and always promised it would show the start of the Rebellion. However, for 98% of the first season, the members of the Ghost were working alone. And that's the point. At the end of the season we realize the stars of the show were unknowing participants in a larger Rebel Alliance. A group with the same mindset, but working independently of each other, organized under Bail Organa. His appearance and that revelation offers up a direct connection to Princess Leia and A New Hope.

Ahsoka Tano Lived and Helped Start The Rebellion

Before he turned to the dark side, Anakin Skywalker had an apprentice. Her name was Ahsoka Tano and she fought at his side during the Clone Wars. However, in that show – of which she was a major character – the apprentice seemingly left the Jedi Order in a massive storyline and her whereabouts were unknown...until the end of Star Wars Rebels season one. It was revealed Tano was actually Fulcrum, a mysterious presence helping the crew of the Ghost from time to time.

Darth Vader Replaces his Inquisitor

At the end of the first season of Star Wars Rebels, Kanan seemingly defeats The Inquisitor. Who comes in to replace him? In the very last shot of the season, Darth Vader appears. Will he become the primary villain of the series, and be the main person hunting down the Rebels and the Jedi? It seems likely as it would tie back into the original Star Wars lore. This, unfortunately, is one piece of Star Wars history that has yet to be written and will likely be detailed in Season 2.

Am I missing major moments in the first season of Star Wars Rebels? What other pieces of the Star Wars Rebels canon are significant in the overall scheme of thing?