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Star Wars: Rebels hasn't shied away from bringing in big names from the Star Wars franchise to voice characters, ranging from Anthony Daniels as C-3PO to James Earl Jones as Darth Vader. Now, the Disney XD series is bringing in another Star Wars franchise legend to play a major character from the Expanded Universe. Warwick Davis himself will voice the character of Rukh in Star Wars Rebels Season 4.
The announcement came at the Rebels panel at the gigantic Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, and it points to some exciting developments on the Imperial side. Rukh will be a minion of Thrawn's, and if his role in the series is anything like his role in the Expanded Universe books, he'll have a huge part to play in the villain's future. He's known for his role as Thrawn's bodyguard, which makes sense. After Bendu's prophecy about Thrawn's doom in the Season 3 finale, we can bet that Thrawn will be pretty paranoid about Rebel threats coming at him. Check out who his picked as his guard:
According to Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni, Rukh will be pretty intimidating. He had this to say about Warwick Davis' new character:
He's really creepy, so I needed someone creepy to play him.
That's quite the ringing endorsement, Filoni! Warwick Davis is best known in the Star Wars franchise for his role as Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Love the Ewoks or hate the Ewoks, there's really no denying that Wicket was both an adorable and a game-changing addition to the Star Wars universe. The Rebels might never have defeated the Empire if not for Wicket, and so Warwick Davis - despite not actually appearing in the flesh in Return of the Jedi - is a pivotal actor in the saga. Interestingly, Davis also had cameo appearances in several subsequent Star Wars films, including The Phantom Menace, The Force Awakens and Rogue One. He's even slated to appear in the upcoming The Last Jedi. It should be intriguing to see how he handles Rukh.
Warning: spoilers ahead for the character Rukh from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Ever since Lucasfilm announced that the Expanded Universe was no longer officially part of the Star Wars canon, many characters who had been written into the saga in post-Return of the Jedi stories no longer exist, although some have been brought back in slightly different capacities in other projects. The Rukh of the Expanded Universe is indeed known for his work as Thrawn's bodyguard, but he's even better known as the person ultimately responsible for Thrawn's downfall.
Rukh was a key ally of Thrawn's for quite some time, but he turned on Thrawn when he discovered that Thrawn was secretly keeping his devastated homeworld of Honoghr in unfortunate circumstances so that the people would be dependent on and beholden to the Empire. Understandably, Rukh was not pleased by this discovery, and he ultimately assassinated Thrawn with a knife.
If Rukh is responsible for Thrawn's death on Rebels, we can bet that his method of assassination will probably be much less grisly for the Disney XD audience. All things consideredin, it's hard to imagine that Dave Filoni and Co. would bring in a huge EW name like Rukh without ultimately turning him on Thrawn. Given that Thrawn never appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy and we just learned that Season 4 will be Rebels final season (see the details), I wouldn't be surprised if Thrawn was killed. We'll have to wait and see.