Where Are The 'Star Wars Rebels' Characters During The Original Trilogy?

It's an unfortunate given when you do a prequel series that you have to explain where your never-before-seen characters are during the action of the main franchise. This is something the Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars creators have struggled with — and the show's fans have worried over — as the Disney XD animated series prepares to draw to a close with its upcoming fourth season.

Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels ahead.

The easiest solution to explain the absence of vibrant, beloved characters whose adventures take place before the original Star Wars films, is to kill them off. We can call this the Rogue One strategy. But what's the point of having a rich, expanded universe if you don't occasionally hint at its dense mythology?

Interestingly, it is Rogue One that reveals the fate of several Rebels character after the final season. The mention of  "General Syndulla" and a quick glimpse of the droid Chopper and the ship The Ghost in the first "Star Wars Story" film seemingly ensure that certain members of the cast survive the fourth and final Rebels season.

Hera Syndulla in particular may even The Last Jedi, thanks to the Forces of Destiny animated shorts designed to highlight female heroes. The shorts are considered part of official canon and Rebels voice actress Vanessa Marshall is reprising her role as Hera Syndulla alongside Princess Leia in a short set during the events of Return of the Jedi, as Entertainment Weekly describes:

"Perhaps most intriguing to movie fans will be the story set on the Ewok moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi. Although plot details are under wraps, Hera Syndulla from Rebels and Princess Leia team up for an adventure with Han Solo – and lots of little furballs carrying primitive weapons."

It's exciting stuff. And if Hera, Chopper and the rest of the Ghost crew do make it past the Rebels season finale, there are options for them to become fully realized on the big screen in more Star Wars anthology films, or even to appear alongside beloved main heroes like Rey and Luke.

Star Wars Rebels Zero Hour 21248

How Thrawn Almost Changed the Course for Rogue One

But what of the not-so-nice characters from Rebels? It turns out Grand Admiral Thrawn was a major unseen force in Rogue One, with the actions of the blue-skinned villain having repercussions in the live-action world.

In the third season finale of Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn decimated the Rebels in a devastating battle, the repercussions of which reverberated throughout the galaxy. In fact, the effects of that big battle was one of the reasons the Rebel Alliance didn't trust Jyn Erso right away and send the Alliance to Scarif, Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni said.

"You see the after effect of [Thrawn's victory] in Rogue One. They're really hesitant to actually fight. It takes a lot to draw them out because they lost."

The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels starts in Fall. Rogue One is out now on Blu-ray.