The trailer for the second half of the third season of Star Wars Rebels has arrived, and it looks like the show is set to continue to deliver some great universe building and connections to the existing franchise.
The show has already featured heavy connections to The Clone Wars with the inclusion of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex and Darth Maul to name but a few characters, and appearances from original trilogy stalwarts such as R2-D2, C3-PO, Darth Vader and Princess Leia. It's also been connected to the latest film release Rogue One in blink and you'll miss them cameos from Hera, Chopper and even the Ghost itself.
More connections appear to be on their way going into the final half of the season as the latest trailer reveals appearances from Rebellion leaders Senator Organa, General Dondonna and Mon Mothma. These three feature heavily in Rogue One, with Dondonna and Mothma also playing large leadership roles on A New Hope and Return of the Jedi respectively, as such it's no surprise to see them featuring as the series further explores the formation of the rebellion as the larger group we know in the feature films.
One of the extra benefits of having these characters in the later half of the season is not just that it shows more of the rebellion, bringing it more in line with that of the original trilogy, but with the inclusion of Saw Gerrera we may also get to see the 'disagreement' between him and the rebellion that was hinted at in Rogue One.
Speaking of Saw Gerrera, not only is the Clone Wars/Rogue One character due to make an appearance in the opening two-part story 'Ghosts of Geonosis', but will also be voiced by Forest Whitaker.
Sticking with the Rogue One connections, it would appear that Grand Admiral Thrawn is going to be getting his hands dirty in the second half of the season, with an all out assault on the rebellion with the aim of destroying everyone involved. Joining him to provide body-guard duties are the Death Troopers.
Having previously been seen in the latest film installment acting as an elite squad under the command of Death Star creator Director Krennic, the black clad troopers will continue their role as guards for high ranking Imperial Navy officers.
Perhaps most exciting in the trailer, however, is the reveal of the anticipated, possibly final, confrontation between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tattooine. Since featured in the very first episode of the show fans have been hoping for the return of the Jedi General, and with Maul back in the galaxy and in possession of the knowledge of his location this became a certainty.
The final scenes of the trailer begin feature an old 'Ben' Kenobi sitting by a fire and the figure of Maul approaches, with a voice eerily similar to Alec Guinness telling him 'you're in the wrong place'. Maul ignites his sabre and Obi-Wan takes his classic fighting stance.
Not only are fans getting to see these long time adversaries facing each other for the first time since the Clone Wars, some 15 years for the two of them, but it raises some hugely exciting questions for the Star Wars universe. If Kanan and Ezra follow Maul to Tattooine, which they likely will, how will this affect the original trilogy? Will Obi-Wan meet the two Jedi? Will he leave Tattooine for a short time and take a larger role in the war against the Empire?
However this moment will play out, it's sure to be one of the most exciting and far reaching moments of the series, easily on par with the season two finale that saw Ahsoka and Darth Vader finally face each other in battle.
Star Wars Rebels is set to return on 7 January.