Spoilers ahead for Star Wars Rebels, set after Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Only two episodes are left before Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes to an end, which means some of the key stories of Star Wars Rebels only have two episodes to be set up. While the Siege of Mandalore arc has already answered some questions and filled in some blanks, some clues about the upcoming penultimate episode raise the question: is The Clone Wars contradicting a major Star Wars Rebels plot point?
As Rebels fans know for certain, clone troopers Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor went into exile/retirement after the clones were declared obsolete by the Empire, and the Ghost team of Rebels managed to recruit Rex to join the Rebellion. Kanan, a former padawan who watched clones turn on and kill his master during Order 66, wasn’t happy about joining forces with clones. Although he admitted that clones later said chips in their heads made them do it, he was more than a little skeptical, prompting Rex to say this:
I didn’t betray my Jedi. Wolffe, Gregor, and I all removed our control chips. We all have a choice.
The three clone troopers were all sporting scars on their heads, so there’s no reason to doubt that Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor really did all remove their chips, although Wolfe seemingly was left with the sense that the Jedi had betrayed them and tried to fire on Kanan before Rex was able to help him out of his confusion. In fact, Rex seemed to be the only one of the three to emerge from the Clone Wars and chip removal entirely intact.
Naturally, this led me to assume that Rex would have his chip removed at some point well before Order 66 could be implemented, along with Wolffe and Gregor. Thanks to a clip and the description for the next episode of Clone Wars, however, I’m beginning to suspect that Clone Wars is changing the backstory for Rebels.
In the new clip from the next episode of The Clone Wars, releasing on Disney+ on May 1, Ahsoka and Rex are having a conversation aboard a ship. While it doesn’t spoil much of what will happen in the overall episode, it does reveal some details about the timeline when combined with the official episode description. First, take a look at the clip:
In this touching (albeit foreboding, considering what’s in store) clip, Rex is not sporting a fresh wound or scar on his head that would reveal a chip had already been removed. If we assume that this episode of The Clone Wars doesn’t immediately pick up with this scene, then this conversation presumably isn’t the first thing to happen in the episode, and the episode will presumably run under the half hour mark, like the other episodes of Clone Wars Season 7.
Of course, there is still one more episode following the one releasing on May 1, so there’s plenty of time for Rex to remove his chip, and maybe even get in contact with Wolffe and Gregor to persuade them to remove their chips. None of them turned on their Jedi according to Rebels, right? Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the official episode description, which was released along with the clip:
After successfully capturing Maul on Mandalore, Ahsoka plans to deliver him to the Jedi Council on Coruscant. When Order 66 is declared in the midst of her journey, her world is turned upside down. Friends become foes, and enemies become allies in ‘Shattered.’
The clip from the next episode is set in space on the bridge of a ship packed with clones who may be very bad news for Ahsoka in the not-too-distant future. Combined with the episode description reveal that Order 66 (which of course results in the mass betrayal of the clones that destroys the Jedi Order) is declared during Ahsoka’s journey, the most logical conclusion is that Order 66 will go down at some point following Ahsoka’s conversation with Rex in the clip but before they can arrive on Coruscant.
And therein lies my question of whether Clone Wars is contradicting the Rebels reveal -- or “reveal,” as the case apparently may be -- that Rex removed his chip before he could turn on his Jedi. Short of Rex realizing that something is up with the chip and taking steps to get it out of his head before Order 66 on this journey, it seems that Rex may be positioned to turn on Ahsoka.
Admittedly, Ahsoka technically isn’t a Jedi anymore, so Clone Wars does have some wiggle room if it turns out that Rex doesn’t have the time to remove his chip before Order 66 is implemented. Still, Rex has continued to call Ahsoka by her Jedi military title and treat her like a Jedi, so unless he spent the 15 years or so between the end of Clone Wars and his debut in Rebels convincing himself that betraying Ahsoka doesn’t count as betraying his Jedi, something doesn’t match here.
I could be totally off with my speculated timeline here. Maybe the conversation in the clip happens very early in the episode, and Order 66 isn’t declared until the very end and is the cliffhanger leading into the finale, which would give Rex time to deal with his chip. Trips through hyperspace can be long enough for some major plot twists, right? And Clone Wars has definitely pulled off surprises in the past. Honestly, this could be as simple as just saying Rex lied to Kanan in Rebels.
For what it’s worth, I had the opportunity to speak with Star Wars Rebels showrunner and Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni following the end of Rebels in 2018, and he said this when asked how Clone Wars would have to be different because of Rebels:
You know, that's the interesting thing, when you do these shows and different time periods and cross characters over, but you are laying out a lot of their stories. So now, to be quite honest, no one's asked me this. It's interesting, because Clone Wars affects Rebels and that's progressive, but now I have to look at it in reverse and I have to look at all the things I did with Ahsoka and Rex and say 'Well, now I know these things happen so how does that affect what they were like now that I'm back in Clone Wars?' So I have to do this other time of engineering which I didn't have to do before because Ahsoka in Clone Wars is always forward-moving, and so is Rex. Their futures were undetermined, but now you know something about them, so that's different. That's new for new Clone Wars, so we'll see.
With only two episodes left of Clone Wars telling the stories of Rex and Ahsoka before Rebels picks up on them, fans will soon find out how Dave Filoni handled the two shows impacting each other before the end. Considering all Star Wars fans undoubtedly know how the prequel era concludes for the heroes of the saga, Clone Wars may not have much of a happy ending, but at least those two characters are guaranteed to survive!
See the penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars when it releases Friday, May 1 on Disney+. You can also find all the other episodes of Clone Wars to date on the streamer, as well as all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels and even more content from the galaxy far, far away.