The Mandalorian Set Before Star Wars Rebels

Last weekend’s episode of The Mandalorian saw the debut of Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in the live-action Star Wars universe after becoming a fan favorite character from The Clone Wars. Ahsoka also had a hand in the plot of Star Wars Rebels as a Rebel informant under the codename “Fulcrum,” which resulted in an eventual face-off with her old master: Darth Vader.

With Ahsoka Tano coming into the live-action Star Wars universe, fans have been wondering what that means for her past, including the mission that she embarked on with Sabine Wren in the epilogue of the Star Wars Rebels series finale. Now that executive producer Dave Filoni can speak freely about Ahsoka Tano’s presence in The Mandalorian, it’s been implied that the live-action Star Wars series may actually be unfolding before that epilogue in Star Wars Rebels.

First, here’s a bit of context for Star Wars fans who maybe didn’t follow the animated side of the saga very closely. Naturally, this means some spoilers for Rebels.

At the end of Star Wars Rebels, there was a big confrontation above the Outer Rim planet Lothal between young Jedi Ezra Bridger, his Rebel allies on board their ship the Ghost, and Grand Admiral Thrawn, a formidable blue-skinned Imperial officer. The battle ended with Thrawn’s ship, the Chimaera, being attacked by a pod of purrgil, tentacled whale-like creatures who have the ability to travel through hyperspace. The purrgil grabbed hold of the ship with Thrawn and Bridger on board and jumped to hyperspace, leaving their whereabouts unknown.

The epilogue takes place several years after these events finds Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano preparing to set out on a mission to find Ezra Bridger and bring him back home. Here’s the scene in question from the end of the series finale:

It’s this scene that Dave Filoni suggests could take place after the events of The Mandalorian. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Filoni was asked about this epilogue and how it ties into the events of the live-action Star Wars series, and he said:

“That’s not necessarily chronological. I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works  in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don’t really know how much time has passed. So, it’s possible that the story I’m telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I’m saying it’s possible.”

Filoni saying it’s possible isn’t exactly confirmation that The Mandalorian takes in those years before the epilogue of Star Wars Rebels. But why bother making that distinction if that wasn’t the case? After all, the introduction of Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian feels like an attempt to kickstart a potential spin-off series for the character, especially since we learn that she’s trying to track down Grand Admiral Thrawn herself. If Thrawn is out there somewhere, that means Ezra Bridger is too, and this certainly helps set the stage for future adventures where Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren are looking for Ezra, wherever he may be.

Considering we recently heard about the possibility of some kind of secret spin-off of The Mandalorian being in production, there’s a chance that series could be about the mission that was teased in Star Wars Rebels. Filoni playing coy only adds further fuel to the rumors that an Ahsoka live-action spin-off is in the works, and further suggests it could be a full-on sequel to Rebels. The landscape of The Mandalorian is expanding so much that anything is possible.

If you’d like to hear more about Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian, head over to Vanity Fair for a full interview with both Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson about bringing this character to life.

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