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‘Rebels’ Fave Zeb Leaps Into Live-Action in This Week’s ‘The Mandalorian’

Image of Zeb Orrelios in a scene from the Disney XD animated series 'Star Wars: Rebels.' Zeb is non-human, and is large, purple, and has pointy ears and a bald, ridged head with darker purple markings. He's aiming a blaster at someone.

God, I miss Star Wars Rebels. The Star Wars animated series have always been done really well. But Rebels was a cut above when it came to character development and stakes.

The beloved crew of The Ghost have made appearances in other animated series (e.g., Hera on The Bad Batch), had wordless cameos in films (Chopper in Rogue One), and have highly anticipated appearances on future live-action shows (Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger on Ahsoka). This week’s episode of The Mandalorian gave our favorite gruff Lasat his live-action debut.

Well, if walking through a live-action world as a CG character counts.

Who is Zeb Orrelios?

Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (voiced by Steve Blum) was a former Captain of the Honor Guard on Lasan, where he barely survived an Empire attack that eradicated most of the Lasat population. Joining the crew of The Ghost after being rescued by Kanan Jarrus, Zeb held a lot of guilt around being unable to protect the Royal Family of Lasan from being killed; not to mention shame around barely surviving himself.

Image of Zeb Orrelios looking out the window on The Ghost to see the planet lira san on the Disney XD animated series, 'Star Wars: Rebels.' We see the back of his head as he looks out the window, just making out his purple skin, his pointy ear, and the end of his beard. Outside the window, we see clouds illuminated by a planet surrounded by three moons. This is lira san.

Zeb went through much of his life believing there were only a handful of his species left. But in season 2 of Rebels, he learns that this isn’t true. After rescuing two Lasat refugees taken prisoner by the Empire, Zeb learns there are many more Lasat alive. Not only alive, but thriving on their true homeworld, Lira San.

Once he and the crew of The Ghost discover the safe way to Lira San and deliver the refugees there, Zeb vows to guide other Lasat he meets to their homeworld, too.

Zeb on The Mandalorian?

Zeb Orrelios in 'The Mandalorian' season 3

Zeb (voiced again by Steve Blum) appears in CG form early in this week’s episode of The Mandalorian, “The Pirate.”

In a bar on Adelphi, New Republic pilot Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) gets a message from Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). Karga asks for New Republic aid against the pirate king Gorian Shard, who has laid siege to Nevarro.

Zeb hears the message and sits beside Teva. He’s sad for Nevarro, but is pessimistic about the planet’s chances. Teva decides to go to Coruscant to petition for aid, and Zeb gets to echo Han Solo when he says, “Good luck. You’re gonna need it.”

What does this mean for Zeb in the Star Wars universe?

A purrgil in 'The Mandalorian'

The story of Rebels starts in 5 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and ends in 0 BBY, and The Mandalorian takes place in 9 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin). So, somewhere in the nine years between stories, Zeb has made his way to Adelphi.

In the Rebels finale, Zeb brings Agent Kallus—Imperial officer-turned-resistance-fighter—to Lira San to show him that he was not responsible for wiping out all of Lasat, that there are millions still thriving, and that they would welcome Kallus on their world as one of their own.

Meanwhile, Sabine goes off with Ahsoka to find Ezra, who used his connection to purrgil to capture Grand Admiral Thrawn and drag him into hyperspace, away from Lothal.

We’ve already seen purrgil this season on The Mandalorian (see the pic above from the season 3 premiere). Or rather, Grogu sees them out the window of Din Djarin’s ship as they travel through hyperspace. Can he connect with them the way Ezra Bridger did?

With Ahsoka on the horizon, Sabine and Ezra confirmed to appear, and seeing both purrgil and Zeb on The Mandalorian, it seems clear that we can expect lots more of the Rebels crew (minus Kanan Jarrus) in Star Wars’ live-action streaming adventures.

And I can’t wait!

(featured image: Disney)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.