“That’s not necessarily chronological,” Filoni told Vanity Fair. “I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don’t really know how much time has passed. So, it’s possible that the story I’m telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I’m saying it’s possible.”
The Mandalorian Season 2
For those who haven’t seen the entirety of Rebels, the series ends on a fairly open-ended note, with aspiring Jedi Ezra Bridger and his nemesis Grand Admiral Thrawn being dragged across the galaxy aboard a runaway Star Destroyer. The fates of both characters remain a mystery, though it’s generally assumed both will eventually reappear, either on The Mandalorian itself or another Star Wars series.
While the majority of that episode takes place before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope, there is a time jump near the end. The final sequence in the Rebels finale features narration from Ahsoka herself, as we see glimpses of the roles Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren and Captain Rex played in defeating the Empire, culminating in a scene where Ahsoka reunites with her friends on Lothal to seek out the missing Ezra and Thrawn.
Based on the context of that episode, it’s always been assumed this reunion scene is taking place shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian, meanwhile, is set roughly five years after that movie, and Ahsoka makes it clear in “The Jedi” she’s on the hunt for Thrawn. Fans have naturally assumed this means Ahsoka is continuing her quest from the Rebels finale, but Filoni’s comments cast the episode in a different light. That Rebels reunion scene may have happened later in the Star Wars timeline than we realized. Perhaps Ahsoka doesn’t reunite with Hera and Sabine until after she finds the intel she needs on Thrawn’s whereabouts.
As ScreenRant points out, this would also imply Sabine has stayed on Lothal in the five years since the fall of the Empire. We’ve previously speculated Sabine might be the next Rebels character to make the jump to live-action, so it’s possible Din Djarin and Drogu’s adventures will eventually take them to that familiar planet.If you need more help making sense of The Mandalorian’s place in the larger Star Wars saga, check out our recap of Ahsoka’s story so far, our explainer on Grand Admiral Thrawn and a full timeline for Mandalore and Baby Yoda.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.