In the last episode of Star Wars Rebels, "Trials of the Darksaber," fans of the old expanded universe now known as Legends got a huge surprise. While training Sabine to use the Darksaber, Kanan remarked, "History lesson: The Jedi won the wore with Mandalore." While Star Wars fandom got excited as it sounded like they just made a pivotal part of the video game Knights of the Old Republic, a fan-favorite era of the Star Wars history into a canon story, no one knew for sure.
But Dave Filoni, showrunner of Star Wars Rebels knew exactly what he was getting into when he let that line come out of Kanan (the Jedi voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr.)'s mouth. Yes, the idea of the Jedi-Mandalorian War, as referenced on Rebels, came directly from Knights of the Old Republic. It also, however, speaks to a broader history between the Mandalorians and the Jedi. Filoni told Comicbook.com that without that war, the Mandalorians never would've developed their signature armor and fighting style fans know and love.
"The Mandalorian-Jedi War that I have in my mind is very much derived from the oldest style of thinking of Mandalorians, which was that their weapons, their arsenal, their technology had a massive increase once they collided with the Jedi and found these force-wielding people that had abilities they didn't understand," Filoni revealed. "Their armor is a reaction to the Jedi, and I've always believed that because that seemed to be something that would be in the DNA of the Joe Johnston [concept artist on the original Star Wars trilogy] designs of them as super commandos."
"Their armor is a reaction to the Jedi" is enough to make any Star Wars fan's head spin, but it also makes sense when we saw the other weapons they developed, like the light whip and sonic cannon, to help them mimic the Jedi's natural Force abilities.
"Their arsenal was very much designed to combat the Jedi. For example, I wouldn't know the details of the conflict that the fans have referred to. I played the video games though, so I'm aware of it in the games, and I like a lot of the things in there. So, when there are all these things in common and there's stuff that people know, I think 'Well, why don't we use that?'"
Indeed, Filoni loves drawing from Legends stories, characters, and events whenever it makes sense, as he's shown this season with Thrawn, or with planets like Malachor or Moraband. In this case, since George Lucas and Filoni would talk about the old days of Mandalore and the Darksaber when Lucas created the weapon for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, they also established that it was stolen from the Jedi Temple during the days of the Old Republic.
"So you know there's these ancient relationships that aren't completely defined yet in this time period," Filoni said.
So yes, Star Wars Rebels absolutely did pull part of the Knights of the Old Republic story into canon, officially. That doesn't mean the whole story is, of course, unless a future Star Wars storyteller needs, say, a Jedi who became a terrifying Sith Lord but found redemption in an unconventional way.
Star Wars Rebels returns tonight and airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Disney XD.
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