This week’s episode of The Mandalorian caught me completely off guard with a massive cameo! In “Chapter 21: The Pirate,” Carson Teva is hanging out at his station on Adelphi. Someone comes up behind him and speaks in a very familiar voice to animation fans.
It is Zeb from Star Wars Rebels!
Dear reader, I screamed when I heard him. Steve Blum’s voice is so recognizable that I realized it was Zeb before my brain registered there was a Lasat on my screen. And then the shock of, “Holy cow! There’s a live-action Lasat on my screen!” kicked in. Zeb looks fantastic in live-action. It’s clear they spent a good chunk of the budget on this cameo. It was also a surprise to see him in a New Republic pilot’s outfit, because Zeb, while he can fly, never identified as a pilot in Rebels. All of this together is fascinating to consider for long-term storytelling.
In case you don’t know, who is Zeb and why is this cameo important?
Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios first appeared in Star Wars Rebels and was a main character of the series. He was a Lasat from the planet Lasan where he was Captain of the Honor Guard. The Empire came to his home and committed genocide there, leaving Zeb thinking he was the last Lasat for a good chunk of Rebels. He eventually joined the crew of the Ghost, a rebel cell led by Hera Syndulla and Jedi Kanan Jarrus. Other members of the crew were Hera’s droid Chopper and Mandalorian Sabine Wren. In the first episode of Rebels, a Force-sensitive teenager named Ezra Bridger joined their ranks. When Rebels ended, the last thing we knew about Zeb was he went to the ancient homeworld of the Lasat people, Lira San. He was joined by the ex-Imperial, Alexsandr Kallus, who defected thanks to Zeb. We hadn’t heard anything about the Lasat since.
His appearance in The Mandalorian could have major implications for the upcoming Ahsoka series. With the majority of the Ghost crew already confirmed for Ahsoka, was the question if Zeb would be part of the series too. His cameo in The Mandalorian could have been the test waters for him to play a bigger role. It gives the creators a chance to try the technology needed to bring Zeb to life.
That said, Zeb is wearing a New Republic flight suit, indicating that he already has a role somewhere else. I’m sure bringing that Lasat to life is expensive. This gives the creators an out to say, “Zeb can’t be here because he’s off on his other job.” Still, it’s a strange choice because again, Zeb was never a pilot in Rebels. It does feel a bit like an out so not to have him fully in Ahsoka.
It also has me questioning where Kallus is in all of this. The friendship of Zeb and Kallus was a big part of Rebels. I wonder if the mutton chop sporting man who has an entire hashtag dedicated to him will pop up next. Seriously, #HotKallusDay is March 25th in the fandom. It’s a whole thing. Kallus was also a Fulcrum Agent like Ahsoka, another tie to the upcoming series. So with Zeb here, it feels like a good time to bring up his friend Kallus as well.
It was exciting to have Zeb back. Personally, he’s my favorite Rebels character. My kitty is named after him. Having him show up in The Mandalorian with the technology to make it happen to look wonderful was truly a highlight of the series for me.