Back in April, LucasFilm released a statement confirming the upcoming animated TV series Star Wars Rebels will be a part of the Star Wars movie canon, with a Disney executive revealing last month that they want to "redefine long-term storytelling." A new report from Entertainment Weekly explains that fans will get their first look at story elements and characters from Star Wars: Episode VII in Star Wars Rebels, which debuts October 3 on the Disney Channel.

They have also debuted four new images from the series, featuring Zeb (Steve Blum), Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.). What possible connection to Star Wars: Episode VII do these photos contain? Read on for more information...

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Star Wars Rebels Photo 1
Star Wars Rebels Photo 2
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Star Wars Rebels Photo 4

Star Wars Rebels takes place between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and follows the formation of the fledgling Rebel Alliance that fights back against the nefarious Empire. Star Wars: Episode VII, on the other hand, is set 30 years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, meaning there is a massive gap in time between Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Episode VII, although it isn't known exactly how large the gap is.

Simon Kinberg, who executive produces Star Wars Rebels and serves as a creative consultant on Star Wars: Episode VII, reveals that creative elements in the TV series will line up with the movie canon.

"It's a very integrated process, there's real communication between all the filmmakers because we're all part of a larger timeline. There is absolutely communication and integration between the different stories. We are very aware of what they're doing in VII, and we also have to click into place with Episode IV. There are characters, vehicles, imagery that are introduced in the show before we've ever seen them in the movies, possibly including VII."

Looking at the images above, we see a variation on the speeder bikes first introduced in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, along with new stormtroopers, which could very well make their way into Star Wars: Episode VII. We also get to see the planet Lothal. Following the rise of the Galactic Empire, Lothal's Capital City entered a state of economic despair. The planet's inhabitents invited the Empire, on the promise of prosperity and security. Following it's surrender, the Empire restricted the planet's inhabitants a great deal. Occupations were limited, with the only options being to join the stormtrooper corps, enlist in Imperial pilot flight school, or work in the capital's Sienar Fleet Systems factory, building TIE Fighters. In addition to these restrictions, the Empire began to replace farms with factories, polluting the planet. With Star Wars: Episode VII involving the Empire in some capacity, it's possible that we will see Lothal on the big screen for the first time in the sequel.

As for the characters, we have to assume that Ezra and Kanan, the Jedi and his apprentice, have been killed off, otherwise Luke Skywalker would not be the universe's only hope. As for Zeb, Hera, Sabine and droid Chopper, it's possible that they may be popping up in the flesh at some point during one of the next three sequels, or one of the spinoffs.

Are you excited to see how Star Wars Rebels will fit into the movie canon before Star Wars: Episode VII hits theaters on December 18, 2015? Chime in with your thoughts below.