'Star Wars Rebels' season 3 news: Thrawn officially made canon via Disney XD show

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“Star Wars Rebels” definitely stole the scene in the recently held Star Wars Celebration Europe, with a lot to look forward to in the animated show’s upcoming third season.

Arguably the biggest reveal from the “Rebels” panel is the confirmation that Grand Admiral Thrawn has jumped the canon ship from the Expanded Universe. While the reveal was subtle, inserting the tactician’s first look somewhere along the climax of the packed trailer, the fans in attendance were obviously delighted with it. This is despite the fact that Thrawn’s addition has been rumored for a couple of months already but was only confirmed once the teaser came about.

However, one of the main takeaways from the snippet of Thrawn from the clip is how organic the iteration is to his original description. The Chiss war genius originated from Timothy Zahn’s “Heir to the Empire” books released in 1991 and has easily become a fan favorite. “Star Wars Rebels” co-creator Dave Filoni explained that Thrawn coming into the current fold is a pivotal moment as he had been in the only “Star Wars” material that fans had during that time when no more movies were coming out.

On top of that, Lucasfilm and Disney are also bringing Zahn into canon with the corroboration that a new novel about Thrawn is already in the pipeline and has a scheduled release date for next year.

Thrawn will be joining the dark side wagon with Grand Moff Tarkin, who also appeared in the trailer, as well as Darth Vader lurking in the corner. Darth Maul is also making a comeback with a bigger impact to the Ghost Crew, specifically Ezra.

It has already been hinted back in season 2 that the scarred Sith is operating independently with his emotional baggage motivating him to continue. But that does not diminish his capabilities of wreaking havoc on both sides of the story. During the short stint he had in “Rebels,” he was already able to plant some dark side seed inside of Ezra which will be explored further coming into the new season.

During Celebration Europe, IGN also caught up with Filoni where he revealed that they originally planned to kill Maul last season. However, as the story progressed, they felt like there was still a lot of stories left in him so they decided to carry him over moving forward.

“He’s just fighting straight on the side of the power and darkness and the dark side. So it’s a bit different than something we’ve seen before which makes Maul a different villain than we’ve ever seen before,” the writer explained. ” He’s not straight out with the main bad guy group. If the main bad guys saw him, they’d probably go after him too so he has to be real shady and shadowy with everything he’s doing and he’s almost better off trying to hang with those Rebels because they have morality which he can work to his advantage.”

True enough, season 3 is expectedly not just going to further Maul’s story but along the way, Ezra’s as well as he continues to seduce him to the dark side.

Star Wars Celebration attendees were also treated to the early viewing of the first two episodes of “Star Wars Rebels” season 3.