Star Wars Rebels is gearing up for its final season on Disney XD, and the midseason finale back in November ended on a wild cliffhanger that had one character in mortal peril, another character on a potentially deadly rescue mission, and the rest of the rebels working desperately to try and recover from their terrible losses courtesy of Thrawn. Basically, it's been a rough couple of months waiting for new footage. Luckily, a brand new trailer has finally been released, and it reveals Emperor Palpatine himself, along with a totally epic battle on Lothal. Take a look!

Well, this is exciting! Only one more batch of episodes is left in Star Wars Rebels, and there was no telling if there would be time in the story of Lothal to bring back any of the biggest names from the original Star Wars trilogy. Neither Emperor Palpatine nor Darth Vader has been seen on Rebels for a while, and Thrawn has been a grand villain in his own right. This trailer reveals that Rebels is truly pulling out all the stops for its final run on Disney XD. Sure, there were minor signs that maybe Ian McDiarmid might reprise his role again, but who was to say that recording Star Wars audio meant Rebels? There are a lot of projects out there.

Interestingly, Star Wars Rebels seems to have found a way to bring Palpatine back without necessarily bringing him to Lothal, where the majority of the action for the remaining action appears to be set. Palpatine can be seen in the midst of blue flames, looking like either a Force ghost or a hologram. Given that we know he won't be dead at this point in the timeline and it's unlikely that a hologram projector would survive being planted in flames, the odds are that Palpatine is using the dark side of the Force to project his image to wherever Ezra is. His statement that Ezra is his "at last" could indicate that Palpatine has been trying to turn Ezra from afar by using the dark side of the Force. Ezra has used the dark side before.

star wars rebels emperor palpatine

The trailer includes plenty of other footage that has nothing to do with Palpatine, including Kanan going all-out on his mission to rescue Hera by using what looks like some seriously epic Force moves to get to her. One clip reveals that they do reunite (and Hera makes a comment on his hair after he sliced off his ponytail) and another shows Hera back with the rebels, meaning that Kanan did manage to save her. Unfortunately, Kanan himself is not present in the scene with all the rebels, which... may bode badly for him. Is anybody else already filled with dread about his fate?

Additionally, there's going to be an epic battle in, on, and around Lothal. In fact, judging by everything that's happening, I have to wonder if the rest of Star Wars Rebels will take place on Lothal, save perhaps for an epilogue with Hera and/or any surviving characters. There may not be a whole lot of Lothal left, given that Thrawn orders a bombardment on the city in the trailer. Still, it looks like we'll be getting some movie-caliber battles, some Force story with Ezra (and probably Kanan), and some space dogfights. The Ghost is still going.

We'll have to wait and see what happens next. The final season of Star Wars Rebels returns with a new episode on Monday, February 19 at 9 p.m. ET. Join me in crossing fingers that Kanan's fate isn't too upsetting. If that's not your style, swing by our midseason TV premiere guide for non-Star Wars viewing options. Don't forget to take a look at our pitches for Star Wars TV shows that should rise up after Rebels is done.

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