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Star Wars: The Clone Wars will soon return for its seventh and final season courtesy of Disney+. Since Season 7 takes place 15 years or so before Star Wars Rebels Season 1, there seemed little reason to hope for many connections between the two animated series. Still, I had one Rebels/Clone Wars connection that I wanted most, and even asked Dave Filoni about more than a year ago. (More on that later.) Fortunately, the Clone Wars trailer revealed that I’m in luck! Yes, viewers will see a young Caleb Dume.
As Rebels fans will remember, Caleb Dume was Kanan Jarrus’ name before Order 66 (which could have been even more gruesome) forced him to change his identity and his entire way of life. He was a Padawan apprenticed to Jedi Master Depa Billaba, so of all the major Rebels characters alive during the prequel era, he was the one I felt could most realistically appear. And here he is! Take a look:
Okay, the trailer technically doesn’t identify the woman or the young boy by her side as Depa Billaba and Caleb Dume, but the woman has the distinctive braids of Depa Billaba, and who else would be by her side in the final days of the Clone Wars than her young Padawan? Assuming this is indeed them, I think it’s probably safe to say that Freddie Prinze Jr. won’t be the voice actor if Caleb gets any lines.
This scene is otherwise occupied by members of the Jedi High Council in addition to Depa Billaba, some of whom are as ill-fated as young Caleb’s master. Mace Windu, Yoda, Plo Koon, and Ki-Adi-Mundi are all present, along with Aayla Secura. They all look quite serious, presumably because they hadn't been hoping since the end of Rebels that Depa Billaba’s Padawan would turn up!
In all seriousness, the possibility of a young Caleb appearing in The Clone Wars has undoubtedly been on Rebels fans’ minds ever since news broke of the revival, and Kanan's devastating fate back in Season 4 made a potential appearance of him as a kid all the more appealing. So, I took the question to the very top! Join me on a blast to the past when I had the opportunity to discuss this very topic with the man behind both Rebels and Clone Wars.
Flashback: it’s August 2018 and Star Wars Rebels showrunner/Clone Wars executive producer Dave Filoni is sharing his insights about the final season of Rebels with CinemaBlend. During a slight Clone Wars tangent, I asked Filoni if we might see Depa Billaba and a young Caleb Dume before the end. His response provided reason to hope, if not plan, that a pre-Kanan Caleb could appear:
Would you like that? Would that be a good thing?... Well, you never know. It sounds like a fun idea, you know. It’s an exciting thought for sure, so who knows? I love that you want it. That makes me happy, whether it happens or not! I’m not going to promise because I don’t want you to be mad at me later. I think you’re hitting on one of the most fun things about telling these stories is that, much like you, I have characters I love and I wonder. Well, they were around then, right? So wouldn’t they be there?
While Dave Filoni definitely didn't confirm (or deny) that Caleb Dume and Depa Billaba would appear in The Clone Wars, he didn't rule it out back in 2018, and 2020 will deliver that Rebels connection I've been hoping for. There were always bound to be appearances from characters who appeared on Rebels, like Captain Rex and Ahsoka, but they were Clone Wars characters to start. At this point, fans are probably more likely to get connections between Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith than Rebels other than Caleb Dume.
Back in 2018, when Rebels had recently ended on a flash-forward packed with surprises and Clone Wars was still on the distant horizon, Dave Filoni continued that fans could still have fun with Star Wars even without having all the answers:
I was obsessed when I was a kid with whatever happened to Rick Hunter when he went off after the RoboTech Masters, because they never covered that part of the story. And as much as you want to see it, sometimes though the ability of the fan to imagine it is also just as powerful and so really that’s what I was doing at the end of Rebels was making this story where you see Sabine and Ahsoka go off on this adventure and you wonder what are they up to? And it’s great fun for me.
While there's no guarantee of more RoboTech Masters ever making it to the screen, the wait for the final season of The Clone Wars is nearly over. Season 7 premieres Friday, February 21 on Disney+. On top of little Caleb Dume and Depa Billaba, the trailer revealed some epic moments, including the beginning of Ahsoka's battle with Maul.
If you need a Star Wars TV fix before Ahsoka and Co. return on February 21, you can always find the original run of The Clone Wars as well as all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels streaming on Disney+, not to mention the full first season of The Mandalorian. The galaxy far, far away isn't so far away thanks to the Disney streaming service!