The fifth episode of The Mandalorian season three, “Chapter 21: The Pirate”, gave us a look at the Mandalorian covert on an important new mission while also seeing how the New Republic is dealing with certain threats.
Carson Teva, a New Republic pilot, takes these threats very seriously, suspecting that there’s something far bigger going on than they know. He’s concerned that the Empire is re-gathering their strength, and even allying themselves with pirates. He wants to see the New Republic take some of these threats, like the pirate incursion on Nevarro, more seriously – trying to prevent it from escalating into something major. He runs it up the chain and, predictably, doesn’t really get anywhere.
But before that happens, he’s part of a Rebel outpost, where several pilots are hanging out at a cantina. One such pilot is Dave Filoni returning as Trapper Wolf, and this time he’s wearing his trademark cowboy hat, which is perfect. But after Teva listens to Greef Karga’s call for help, a large alien walks over to talk with him, saying that the Republic is swamped, as they haven’t returned a call in weeks.
The alien is a Lasat named Zeb, voiced by Steve Bluem, and his appearance is a really big deal.
Zeb is one of the main characters in Star Wars Rebels, which has proven to be perhaps the single most influential Star Wars series on this whole new era of storytelling.
His full name is Garazeb Orrelios, one of the last remaining Lasat after the Empire destroyed their homeworld. He joined a group of rebels that included a Jedi (Kanan Jarrus), a pilot (Hera Syndulla), a Mandalorian (Sabine Wren), a sassy droid (Chopper), and later a young boy who became Kanan’s Jedi padawan (Ezra Bridger). Together the six of them became a family, running a number of missions and, over time, joining other rebel cells as the Alliance to Restore the Republic began (which was formed aboard their ship, the Ghost, in fact). Zeb fought alongside the other members of the squad, codenamed the Spectres, for the rebellion, including in liberating their home base of Lothal.
Zeb continued to fight for the rebellion during the Galactic Civil War, which saw Hera established as one of the leading generals in the Rebellion. At some point after the war’s end, Zeb left with a former Imperial agent turned rebel, Kallus, to the Lasat home planet of Lira San, where it was discovered that the Lasat people had actually not been wiped out as previously believed.
We don’t know when that epilogue happened, but we now know that approximately five years or so after the end of the War, Zeb was with the New Republic. His appearance here is a thrilling moment for any fan of Star Wars Rebels, as Zeb is such a great character, and the team bringing him to live-action absolutely nailed it. Zeb looks terrific in live-action!
But the appearance is more than just a fun cameo, because we know what’s coming soon. Later this year the Ahsoka series will premiere, which really seems to be the long-awaited sequel to Rebels. Ahsoka worked closely alongside the Spectres at times, but she’ll also be working alongside Sabine Wren in the series as they search for Ezra Bridger, who disappeared during the Battle of Lothal with Grand Admiral Thrawn. Sabine is confirmed for the series (with Natasha Liu Bordizzo playing the fan favorite), while Ezra has reportedly been cast for the series too (with Eman Esfandi said to be playing him). We also know that Hera Syndulla will make her live-action debut in the series, and Chopper will appear too (after a brief live-action cameo in Rogue One). That meant that the only surviving member of the Spectres that had not been all-but-confirmed to be in the series was Zeb, but now that he’s made his live-action debut in this same time period, I fully expect him to show up as well.
I never dreamt that we’d get to see the whole (surviving) Ghost crew in live action like this, but it’s absolutely amazing. Zeb showing here was a true highlight, and Ahsoka figures to be incredible. I’m guessing we’ll get more information at Star Wars Celebration next week, but for now, this is a cameo worth celebrating in its own right.