During a recent interview with The Mandalorian writer and director Dave Filoni, he hinted that The Mandalorian might actually be set before the final scene of the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Fans just assumed that the series takes place after that series, but that might not be the case.
In the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, “The Jedi”, we learn that Ahsoka is searching for Grand Admiral Thrawn. The last time that we saw Ahsoka at the end of Rebels, she was heading off into the Galaxy with Sabine Wren to find Ezra Bridger, who vanished along with Thrawn. When asked where this scene fits in with where we find her in The Mandalorian, Filoni tells Vanity Fair.
“Right. But no, it’s an interesting one… That’s not necessarily chronological. I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don’t really know how much time has passed. So, it’s possible that the story I’m telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I’m saying it’s possible.”
So while Filoni isn’t confirming the series is set before the end of Rebels, he’s saying it’s possible. I imagine this little timeline detail will eventually be revealed, but it’s obviously something they aren’t ready to confirm or deny yet.
I will say, though, the fact that Filoni says it’s possible, tells me that this is the case. Either way, Ahsoka has been set up for her own spinoff series and I imagine that series will include Sabine as they embark on their journey to find Thrawn and Ezra.