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New 'Star Wars: Rebels' trailer hints at 'Force Awakens' connection

By Wade Sheridan   |   Jan. 19, 2016 at 9:17 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The new mid-season trailer for Star Wars: Rebels has excited fans of the popular animated series for its possible connections to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The action-packed footage features main hero Ezra Bridger activating a green crossguard lightsaber very similar to the one used by Force Awakens antagonist Kylo Ren. As supervising director Dave Filoni explains, the weapon is being introduced to the show as a visual homage to the new film.

"I wanted to put a nod to this new history we're seeing in The Force Awakens, Filoni said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "It's important to have these links between stories in major ways and subtle ways. Here you find a sword we've encountered before, and it gives a little more context to something that turns up later."

Fans were also quick to point out that a mysterious masked figure featured in the trailer sounded like Kylo Ren's master, supreme leader Snoke, something that Filoni will not confirm or deny. "For anybody in Star Wars, I think one of the questions you're going to get asked is, 'Is that Snoke?' It's one of the mysteries right now. So, anybody could be seen as Snoke," he said.

"That's part of the mystery, part of the fun. There will be so much more to talk about once this stuff is out," Filoni continued. "Star Wars fans are brilliant about running with stuff. Give them a tiny little kernel, and they will run all the way to the finish line and practically produce a whole trilogy in their minds. That's why I love them. They're a creative group."

This season of Rebels takes place 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and three years before the events of A New Hope. The animated hit follows Bridger and his ragtag team of heroes as they fight against the Galactic Empire and ignite the rebellion.

Star Wars: Rebels will return to finish Season 2 Jan. 20 on Disney XD.

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