The recently concluded animated series Star Wars Rebels originally was slated to set up the events of A New Hope.
Series producer Dave Filoni revealed that there were tentative plans for the characters to recover the Death Star plans setting in motion the original 1977 Star Wars film. After the 2016 spinoff film Star Wars: Rogue One was picked up centering on the same story point, the proposed plot line was dropped to Filoni's relief.
"There were some really early on conversations with Rebels about it being it about them finding the Death Star plans. But as Rogue One came about and took shape, it was obvious we weren't going do that story," explained Filoni in an interview with ComicBook.com. "I didn't want to do that story, frankly, honestly, with Rebels because I thought I don't want their whole existence to just serve and hand off to another part of the plot. I want it to be its own story about [series' protagonist Ezra Bridger]."
Ezra had grown up under the oppressive rule of the Galactic Empire on his home planet of Lothal, setting up the series' premise of overcoming tyranny to save family and friends. Filoni was keen to retain this narrative focus throughout the series' four season run.
"[Executive producer] Simon Kinberg really, I think, helped focus my story efforts because he was always adamant about the family aspect of the show," continued Filoni. "And through that, over time, we started to connect the dots about the importance of that family and his birth parents versus his new family and his new parents and Kanan and Hera. The story grew out of that, for what he is attached to and what he needs to let go of. How his friends become more a part of his life. You kind of build to the point and, in the end, we got where I wanted it to be in the beginning, which was he saves his friends, significantly, and the planet Lothol from the Empire."
The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels is out on home video now. In the meantime, Filoni is working on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars revival to premiere exclusively on Disney's premium streaming service next year.