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Star Wars Celebration: Rebels panel reaction plus new trailer

Star Wars: Rebels may not be on the big screen, but it has one of the saga's biggest bads in its pocket: Darth Vader lives! And he'll be out in force (ahem) in Season 2 of the animated show, as confirmed by the trailer shown at Celebration.

Shown halfway into the Stars Of Star Wars: Rebels panel, the trailer stole the show – and rapturous as the reception was for Vader, it was quickly knocked into second place by the reveal that Clone Wars fan favourites Ahsoka and Captain Rex will also have roles in Season 2.

“I've been waiting for this for a long time,” said actor Dee Bradley Baker, who voices Rex (along with all his clone brethren) as he joined the panel along with Ahsoka's alter ego Ashley Eckstein, who confessed how hard it had been keeping mum about the return of Anakin's Jedi padawan.

So... will we see a catch-up/face-off between Vader and his former student? “Let's just say it's part of the story we have to tell,” teased executive producer Dave Filoni, revealing that he'd discussed the matter with one George Lucas.

The other big question on fans’ lips was: How did Captain Rex (now bald and bearded) survive the end of the Clone Wars and rise of the Empire? Filoni quipped that the hour-long panel “wasn't long enough” to provide a full explanation, but did drop another tease: “We all love Rex... Kanan not so much,” he said, in reference to Freddie Prinze Jr's ‘cowboy Jedi’.

At the post-panel press conference Prinze Jr said that Season 2 will delve deeper into Kanan's backstory, “via a special character who will motivate all that stuff coming out.”

Who that character is remains to be seen; if it turns out to be a familiar face then it'll be one carefully chosen, given the show's policy of not chucking in classic characters for the sake of it. “We don't want it to seem like a stream of guest appearances,” said Filoni. “We have to be careful. But if we can find a way to include characters from the past we will.”

There was a lot of love in the room for the assembled talent – almost too much in the case of Prinze Jr, with one audience member stating, “I've forsaken my kids for you!” She was joking. We hope...

You've obviously seen the new teaser for The Force Awakens already, but don't forget to check out our in-depth trailer analysis, our report on the Star Wars: Rogue One panel and the trailer for the new Star Wars Battlefront game.