Thrawn might not be the only old Expanded Universe character returning to Star Wars canon. Eagle-eyed fan Andy K. sent us this screenshot from the recent season three trailer, which undeniably features the starship of Dash Rendar, the star of Shadows of the Empire—the 1996 book, video game and toyline set in-between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Update: It is indeed the same type of starship as Dash Rendar’s Outrider, but according to Rebels director Dave Filoni it’s not the Outsider itself. According to EW, the person who originally designed the ship for the Shadows of the Empire video game now works on Rebels, so Filoni let her put it in.
Honestly, this could very well just be an Easter Egg for hardcore fans rather than a sign that Dash is returning to canon. Unlike Thrawn, Dash isn’t as much a “fan favorite” as he is “a goofy third-rate Han Solo.” There’s also the question of whether any other part of the Shadows of the Empire story would come with him, the most significant being the criminal organization called the Black Sun, and Xizor, the Mob Prince Lizard Man Who Nearly Sexually Assaulted Princess Leia With His Pheromone Sex Powers. There’s also an issue in that while Shadows of the Empire was very popular—it basically had all the merchandise and promotion of a new movie, without having a new movie—it wasn’t very good.
Still, thanks to Thrawn’s return, we know the show is willing to cherry-pick the old Expanded Universe. Maybe Dash will be stopping by.