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'Star Wars Rebels' sets 90-minute series finale

"Star Wars" is officially closing one chapter in its universe, with the animated series "Star Wars Rebels" to conclud...

Posted: Jan. 19, 2018 8:47 PM
Updated: Jan. 19, 2018 8:47 PM

"Star Wars" is officially closing one chapter in its universe, with the animated series "Star Wars Rebels" to conclude March 5, with a 90-minute series finale.

The program, which airs on Disney XD, will return Feb. 19 with back-to-back episodes leading up to its conclusion. The cable network also confirmed that Ian McDiarmid -- who has played Emperor Palpatine in the "Star Wars" movies -- will provide the character's voice during this final flurry of episodes. (Another actor had previously voiced the character, who has been heard but not seen in the series.)

The Emperor is shown fleetingly in the trailer, which was released Friday.

Despite airing on a children's network, "Rebels," now in its fourth season, has been an intriguing offshoot of the "Star Wars" mythology, focusing on a small band battling against the Empire several years before the events depicted in the original movie, subtitled "A New Hope." The question of what happened to those characters -- which include a Jedi named Kanan and his apprentice, Ezra -- has hung over the series in terms of how dark the ending might be.

In October, series producer Dave Filoni told CNN that charting a finish to the series represented "quite a puzzle," saying, "The ending works as it's meant to. One of George's main things about 'Star Wars' is it is a story about hope. ... I tried to stick to those themes."

Lucasfilm parent Disney has ramped up its production of live-action "Star Wars" prequels, but Filoni said that there's still a wide array of possibilities for animated storytelling as well.

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