The series finale of Star Wars Rebels introduced a new character to the franchise — and it sounds like he might have an big future ahead of him. That character is Jacen Syndulla, the son of Ghost pilot Hera Syndulla and Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus. If the boy’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s not a coincidence.
Jacen is actually a reference to a fan-favorite Expanded Universe character who has seemingly been retconned out of existence — Jacen Solo. The EU’s Jacen is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, a role that has now been filled by Ben Solo (otherwise known as Kylo Ren) in the new trilogy.
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The EU’s Jacen suffered a similar fate as Ben Solo, eventually succumbing to the Dark Side and becoming the dreaded Darth Caedus. According to Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni, the connection is intentional, but that doesn’t mean Jacen Syndulla will follow a similar path.
“It seemed, in a very small way, naming him ‘Jacen’ was a way to honor the expanded universe character of Jacen Solo who just really isn’t there anymore as the timelines have changed,” Filoni said in an interview with io9. “I thought that’s a little bit of a wink to people that I know that was an important character. And maybe, in some way, that lives on through this character. I don’t know yet.”
Filoni said the character was developed through Season 4 with executive producer Kiri Hart as a “good and meaningful” idea. The two kept the character idea to themselves until the absolute last second when he had to be put through the design phase. Though a great deal of thought was put into Jacen Syndulla, that doesn’t mean Filoni has the character’s future mapped out, even if creatives at Lucasfilm have been asking about it.
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“I have not given a lot of thought to where that goes, to be honest,” Filoni said. “That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t in the future. I’m already getting asked internally a lot about it from people here [at Lucasfilm]. Creatives here. So that’s good. I like that.”
Star Wars Rebels is available to stream in its entirety on Disney XD’s streaming platform. Simon Kinberg, Dave Filoni and Carrie Beck created the series. It stars Taylor Gray as Ezra Bridger, Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan Jarrus, Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla, Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren, Steven Blum as Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios and Dave Filoni as “Chopper.”