Star Wars Rebels Returns With a New Menace, Some Familiar Faces and Darth Vader

Rich Sands
STAR WARS REBELS
Disney XD

The Force is awakening on Disney XD with the return of Star Wars Rebels, which resumes its second season Wednesday. While the animated series—set between the franchise's two movie trilogies—features an original band of heroes, there will be many familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away.

The Rebellion is growing. After stirring up trouble for the Empire on the planet Lothal in Season 1 (and June's Season 2 premiere), fledgling Jedi knight Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and the Ghost crew are now eager to make a bigger impact, and have joined the larger, more organized Rebellion. (You know, the one that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Co. lead in Episode IV, aka A New Hope.) "Gathering forces is a big theme of Season 2," says executive producer Dave Filoni. "The enemies have increased in their power, so our heroes have to muster their own strength to combat it."

Darth Vader is taking matters into his own hands. After Kanan and Co. defeated the Inquisitor, the Empire is no longer willing to ignore trouble in the Outer Rim Territories. So the Sith Lord formerly known as Anakin Skywalker now leads the charge to hunt down the Ghost crew. And yes, that's James Earl Jones providing his legendary pipes to the role once again.

Star Wars Rebels, Ahsoka Tano

Disney XD

Star Wars Rebels, Ahsoka Tano

And he might just meet an old friend. As Season 1 closed, we finally learned the identity of the Ghost's mysterious informant "Fulcrum"—Ahsoka Tano, the plucky padawan of Anakin Skywalker featured in the previous Star Wars animated series, The Clone Wars. There was a moment in June's preview, "The Siege of Lothal," when Vader and Ahsoka sensed each other's presences, but it's unclear if Ahsoka made the connection that it was actually Anakin. How and when they might meet again "are some of the big questions that I can't answer [now]," says Filoni, "but I will definitely answer these questions in the course of the series."

They're sending in the Clones. After the Clone Troopers were famously turned into renegade Jedi-killers as part of "Order 66" at the end of Episode III (Revenge of the Sith), they were decommissioned by the Empire. Kanan and Co. will track down popular Clone Wars stalwart Captain Rex for help in their fight. Rex and his buddies (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, reprising his Clone Wars roles) first appear this week and next (October 14 and 21) and are living off the grid, "basically old guys fishing in Florida," Filoni says.

Star Wars Rebels, Seventh Sister

Disney XD

Star Wars Rebels, Seventh Sister

Sarah Michelle Gellar is taking up the Inquisition. Prinze may be happily married to Sarah Michelle Gellar, but their professional lives are about to get complicated. Gellar is joining Rebels in Season 2 as a new Inquisitor, the Seventh Sister. At New York Comic Con last week the Buffy the Vampire Slayer star revealed a few details about her ruthless, light-saber-wielding character, who works with Vader to hunt Kanan and the rebels.

Another fan favorite is on the way. In a featurette on Rebels' first season Blu-ray, Filoni teased a "top secret character" who will have major implications this season. We asked him for more details, but all he would confirm is that it is "one of the George Lucas characters from the films" and that the reveal won't come until much later in Season 2.

Star Wars Rebels airs Wednesdays, 9:30/8:30c, Disney XD.