Zeb Orrelios From Star Wars: Rebels Makes His Live-Action Debut In The Mandalorian
The following story contains light spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 5, “The Pirate.”
The Mandalorian has always done a good job of incorporating characters that fans already know. Whether that’s characters from past seasons of The Mandalorian (like how Season 3, Episode 4, “The Pirate,” referenced Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and brought back Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee)) characters from the movies (like, you know, Luke Skywalker or Babu Frik) or characters from other mediums like books or animation (like Cobb Vanth or Bo-Katan Kryze) The Mandalorian has always been a show that’s going to reward Star Wars fans with encyclopedic memories for characters and lore.
That continued in “The Pirate,” albeit in a rather unexpected place. When the newly-reformed planet Nevarro came under attack from the Swamp Thing-esque pirate Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie), its new High Magistrate, Greef Karga (of course played by Carl Weathers) reached out for whatever help he could get. That message went to Carson Teva, who’s helped him out of a jam in the past. But Teva was hanging out at a bar, having a drink with someone that Star Wars animation fans may have been surprised to see in a new form: Zeb Orrelios.
Star Wars fans who haven’t dabbled with the animated series may have just thought Captain Teva was having a drink with a funny looking purple alien guy, but they don’t realize that Zeb is actually one of the most important characters in Star Wars: Rebels, and that his presence in “The Pirate” could be setting up even more exciting crossover in the future.
Who is Zeb Orrelios on The Mandalorian?
As mentioned above, we see Zeb as Captain Carson Teva’s drinking buddy at a New Republic bar on Adelphi. Given his outfit, he appears to be an X-Wing pilot for a Blue Squadron.
Teva and Zeb have a conversation about the trouble Teva’s just learned about on Nevarro; Zeb doesn’t seem hopeful, and Teva says he’s got to bring this news to the powers that be on Coruscant. Zeb then reveals that maybe the corruption we began to see setting in a few weeks ago between Elia Kane and Dr. Pershing has become a bit more widespread that we even realized—he says no one’s responded in a while.
And so Teva has his own idea: he’ll go talk to them face-to-face about the problems on Nevarro. “Good luck… you’re gonna need it,” Zeb tells him as he leaves.
Where have we seen Zeb before in the Star Wars universe?
Zeb—real name Garazeb Orrelios and a Lasat who comes from the planet Lasan—is a pilot who played a huge role in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, as part of the Ghost Crew in Star Wars: Rebels. He’s an incredibly cunning, enterprising, and and smart team member.
Who plays Zeb?
“Live-action” Zeb in The Mandalorian is actually some very impressive CGI (seriously!), but he’s still voiced by the same person who provided his voice throughout Star Wars: Rebels: Steve Blum.
And if you figured that voice sounded a little familiar, it’s probably because Blum is one of the most prolific and recognizable voice actors in the industry. He’s had a ton of notable roles, but perhaps the best known are Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop and Wolverine in a number of Marvel animated projects and video games.
What does Zeb showing up in The Mandalorian mean for Star Wars going forward?
It essentially continues what we’ve come to realize, at least in the Jon Favreau/Dave Filoni-written/produced section of the Star Wars TV Universe: any animated character has a chance to make the jump to live-action.
While we don’t yet have a release date for Ahsoka, we do know that series will once again star Rosario Dawson as the titular character and is expected to drop this year. It will also feature Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren, and Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger; both of whom are also characters from the Rebels animated series.
It seems like a pretty fair guess/thought that Zeb could eventually find his way to meet those characters in live action, and the cameo in The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 5 serves to set that up.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.
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