“This is a warning …”
The voice we hear delivering it is a familiar one.
The beginning and end of a new mid-season trailer for Star Wars: Rebels is framed by an appearance of one of the most iconic and mysterious figures from galactic lore – Obi-Wan Kenobi.
When Rebels returns to the air with an hour-long, two-part special on Saturday (8:30-9:30 p.m. ET on Disney XD), Forest Whitaker’s Rogue One insurgent Saw Gerrera will join the crew of the Ghost as they investigate rumors of a massive Imperial construction project near Geonosis. (The show takes place a few years before the original 1977 movie, so you can guess what’s being built there.)
Gerrera originated on a previous animated Star Wars series, The Clone Wars, and now Kenobi, another figure who looms large from that earlier show (as well as the prequels and original trilogy) will also become a critical piece of the Rebels narrative.
Kenobi first appears in the teaser is a young man, a distant, echoing voice (reminiscent at first of the Jedi master’s message to Rey in the Forceback flashback from The Force Awakens). Aspiring young Jedi Ezra Bridger hears the voice in his sleep and follows it to a Jedi holocron, where an image of Kenobi has appeared, delivering his warning to any Jedi who survived the purge from Revenge of the Sith.
This younger version of the Jedi master is voiced by James Arnold Taylor, doing his finest Ewan McGregor, but by the end of the teaser we will see Kenobi at a much different stage in life, one that remains shrouded in mystery in Star Wars storytelling: his exile as a hermit on the planet Tatooine, watching over Luke Skywalker from afar.
Stephen Stanton, who also supplies the voices of Grand Moff Tarkin on the series and was the Churchill-like crustacean commander Admiral Raddus in Rogue One, plays this Alec Guinness-version of Kenobi.
In the mid-season cliffhanger on Dec. 10, Ezra (performed by Taylor Gray) and his blinded tutor Kanan (Freddie Prince Jr.) discover in a vision that Kenobi is the key to confronting the Sith, but the old Jedi is also the target of a long-ago foe: Darth Maul.
The two first met when Kenobi sliced the devil-horned Sith apprentice in half at the end of The Phantom Menace, but Maul survived that attack, was rebuilt over the decades, and remains thirsty for both validation and vengeance.
Finally, it seems the two old enemies will get a rematch.
There’s much more in the trailer for the Star Wars faithful:
• Heavy droid-on-droid violence.
• An appearance by Alliance leader Mon Mothma (voice actress still being kept under wraps).
• A glimpse of white-bearded Rebel general Jan Dodonna.
• What appears to be the Hammerhead starship used as a battering ram in Rogue One.
• Sabine Wren wielding her Darksaber before her Mandalorian mother.
• And of course the continued Machiavellian warfare of blue-skinned Imperial admiral Thrawn.
May the Force be with our Rebel friends. They’re going to need it.
But at least they were warned.