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While it's been great to have Star Wars movies being released again starting with The Force Awakens last year, the theater isn't the only place you can find stories from a galaxy far, far away on a screen. Since 2014, Star Wars Rebels has been airing on Disney XD, and as the name clearly states, it it follows a group of characters who are pitching in to fight the Empire. Because Rebels takes place a few years before the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, some fans have wondered if the movie might contain some kind of reference to the TV show, and it looks like that will indeed be accomplished through a brief Easter Egg. First, check out the new Rogue One TV spot below.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything screaming Star Wars Rebels, right? Well, the eagle-eyed folks at Making Star Wars noticed that at the 0:07 mark, there's a ship in the lower left-hand corner underneath what appears to be the Tantive IV that looks like the Ghost, the ship that the main Rebels characters travel across the galaxy on. Whether or not Hera, Kanan and the rest of the gang are aboard probably won't be answered, but assuming that is the Ghost rather than just a ship of a similar design, then it will be participating in a battle against an Imperial fleet in Rogue One.
With the new saga Star Wars movies taking place three decades after Return of the Jedi, Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels have their attention turned to a time when the Empire was at the height of its power. Despite airing on a kid-friendly channel, Rebels has been able to go surprisingly dark and mature with its storytelling on occasion, whether it's a tale that will somehow tie into the Original Trilogy or following up on plot threads left by its predecessor, The Clone Wars. Rogue One is also distancing from the main Star Wars movies by going for a grittier tone, so both are experienced in pushing boundaries.
Even though none of the Star Wars Rebels characters will appear in Rogue One (surely an appearance like that would have been reported on earlier in the year), it's neat that director Gareth Edwards and the crew were able to sneak in the Ghost as an Easter Egg. To the casual viewer, it's just another ship, but the Rebels fans will get a kick out of seeing the vessel take part in a Rogue One conflict, possibly with its familiar occupants aboard. Besides, Rogue One already has a character who debuted in animation first: Saw Gerrera, who previously appeared in The Clone Wars and is now being played by Forest Whitaker.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16. As for Star Wars Rebels, new episodes air Saturdays at 8:30 EST/PST on Disney XD.