SPOILERS For Tonight's Episode of Star Wars Rebels: Trials of the Darksaber!
The world of Star Wars keeps getting bigger. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm four years ago, it wasn't long before they officially announced the formation of the Star Wars Story Group, and the fact that the old Expanded Universe - decades of stories told in novels, comics, and games, was officially now called "Legends." That meant those stories, never 100% officially a part of canon anyway, would not be followed as a definitive continuity going forward. They also announced, however, that the Story Group would be working to make sure that all new materials, on TV, in print, or on the big screen, followed a new, complete, multimedia canon.
However, as Ahsoka Tano said on Star Wars Rebels in season 2, "There's always truth in Legends." It was a poignant statement, that worked both inside that particular story's dialogue, but also gave a nod to fans of those previous tales: yes, we're fans, too.
That became more readily apparent than ever at Star Wars Celebration Europe last summer, when Grand Admiral Thrawn, a fan-favorite character from the Legends universe, was brought into canon to become a recurring villain on Rebels. When EP Dave Filoni introduced the trailer that revealed Thrawn, he even said cheekily, "Let's expand the universe!" We see what you did there, Dave.
But tonight's episode of Rebels added a lot of new things to the canon. We got the name of the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tar Vizsla, and the history of the Darksaber. We got new information about how the Force and lightsabers (and their wielders) all interact to make the weapon work and work so powerfully. Then, we got what sounds surely like a nod to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and an era of storytelling from thousands of years before the original trilogy. The game, and the novels and comics it spawned, are amongst the most popular Star Wars tales for EU fans, and now there's a door opened to it all being part of the official backstory.
"History lesson: The Jedi won the war with Mandalore," Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus said in anger to Sabine. He brought it up because she used gauntlets meant to help neutralize Jedi abilities while training with Ezra (and got a bit cocky about it all). But when he said those words, Legends fans went nuts.
Mandalorian War is canon again!?Does that mean Revan is too!?!? #StarWarsRebels— Derek Richardson (@Derk_101) January 22, 2017
The Mandalorian-Jedi War was mentioned. Revan was in this war. If this isn't a hint to him coming back into canon, I don't know what is.— Darth Tracer (@LordSerperior12) January 22, 2017
The garage door opening onto Mandalorian Civil War may be my favorite shot from @TheCloneWars pic.twitter.com/vNLgRfIS2K— Pete'ika (@ThePeteAwakens) January 15, 2017
Yes, fans are excited by the mere mention of what was known in the KOTOR era as the Mandalorian Wars, when Mandalore and the Old Galactic Republic fought for years. The Jedi entered the war with Revan, a great Jedi who would become a terrifying Sith (and back again), at the lead. Revan defeated the leader of the Mandalorians, Mandalore the Ultimate, in a one-on-one battle, taking them down several pegs.
While it's nothing concrete, at least not yet, it does, as Pete eloquently put it, "open the garage door" to the story of KOTOR and Revan, and a whole lot more coming back to the forefront of Star Wars storytelling.
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Star Wars Rebels returns Saturday February 18, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.