A common criticism laid against Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels has been that there have been too many filler episodes relative to episodes that advance the overall story arc of the show, something which the handful of week-long hiatuses haven’t helped. Following what looks to be an eventful mid-season finale with Darth Maul, Rebels is looking to address that criticism further when it resumes, as a two-episode arc involve a return to a key location.
Ghosts of Geonosis – PART 1: The crew returns to Geonosis in search of a missing rebel team sent to investigate suspicious activity there, and are surprised by what they find.
Ghosts of Geonosis – PART 2: After finding a missing rebel team member, the Ghost crew discovers another surprise on Geonosis, and work to conceal it from Imperial forces.
In “The Honorable Ones”, Ezra sensed a disturbance in the Force – the entire population of Geonosis was dead as a result of something that the Empire did (the result of a genocide, presumably because the Empire wanted to keep the construction of the Death Star above the planet a complete secret before moving its development elsewhere). We later learn through the Darth Vader comic that Karina, the Geonosian queen, somehow survived by means of using cybernetics to restore her body. She would then use her mechanized womb (gross) to “give birth” to B1 Battle Droid that resembled Geonosians in an attempt to regrow her planetary Empire from scratch, but Darth Vader put a stop to that by stealing the factory and leaving Karina alone on the planet. As it stands, Rebels is set approximately two years before the story shown in Darth Vader, meaning that it’s entirely possible that the titular ghosts of Geonosis are none other than Karina and her droid children – and if this is indeed the case, then it would be another effective way that the Lucasfilm Story Group has connected story elements across time periods.
Regardless of what they do, it’s clear that this story is going to have something to do with the Death Star, since Geonosis was where the weapon was first conceived. The show has been building up to the mystery of what Lothal’s five-year plan was about in Seasons 1 and 2 (it’s heavily implied to be related to DS-1 project), although that plot thread was temporarily abandoned in favor of bringing other major story elements into the fold. With Rogue One out by the time that Rebels returns, it seems likely that they’ll be more likely to make more direct connections to the spin-off and bring up explicit ties to the Death Star.