Disney Officially Embraces ‘Kalluzeb’ Fan Shipping Of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Characters Agent Kallus And Zeb Orellios
In further seeking to appeal to the very small niches of fans the franchise still has left, Disney’s unveiling of an upcoming set of Star Wars Rebels variant comic book covers has seemingly revealed that the company has fully embraced the long-standing fan ‘shipping’ of the series’ Zeb Orellios and Agent Kallus.
One a former Lasan palace guard whose people were wiped out by the Empire and the other an Imperial Security Officer, Zeb and Kallus are an unlikely duo, to say the least.
Beginning the series on either end of the Rebellion’s attempts to dismantle the Empire, their relationship takes a turn for the positive in the seventeenth episode of the Rebels‘ second season, The Honorable Ones.
Therein, following Kallus’ ambushing of Zeb and his team during their investigation of an Imperial base on Geonosis, the two enemies find themselves fighting for the lives over the right to escape via the station’s last remaining escape pod.
However, thanks to its controls being smashed up in the ensuing struggle, the pod is accidentally launched with both Zeb and Kallus inside.
Coming to a crash landing underneath the surface of Geonosis’ Bahryn moon, the two soon realize that if either of them are to survive, they will have to rely on each other and work together – whether they like it or not.
Fighting against the freezing cold, a lack of supplies, and the ever-present threat of the moon’s native Bonzami species, the two unlikely allies eventually emerge from their temporary ice prison not only alive, but relatively unharmed.
Though the two close the books on this expedition by returning to their respective factions and going their separate ways, both Zeb and Kallus find themselves changed by the experience, having developed a mutual respect for one another despite their existences on opposite sides of the ongoing galactic conflict.
Further, it is thanks to the hospitality and humanity shown by Zeb towards Kallus that ultimately leads the Imperial officer to defect to the Rebellion, himself no longer able to support the Empire’s oppressive conquests.
Unsurprisingly, as is seen with nearly ever piece of media which shows two characters interacting on any level, many Rebels fans took Zeb and Kallus’ opening up to each other on Bahryn, as well as their subsequent friendship, as evidence that the two held romantic feelings for each other.
Perhaps the most notable proponent of this series is Zebs’ own voice actor, Steve Blum, who for years has regularly raised his support for the two ending up together in a romantic relationship.
For example, during a 2018 post-Rebels-finale interview with Flickering Myth’s Ricky Church, the Cowboy Bebop voice actor recalled, “From the very first time Zeb and Kallus appeared together, I joked that someday they’d become a couple and end up on Lira San together.”
“I had NO idea that it would actually happen!” he then exclaimed, making reference to the fact that Zeb and Kallus’ story ends with the latter discovering that he had not eliminated the former’s people before being invited to join their society on Lira San. “It was the greatest gift anyone had ever given me in terms of a character’s evolution. I’ve been thanking Dave Filoni ever since. The shippers went out of their minds and I wholeheartedly encourage that. Could just be buddies/brothers, but I love the idea that they could be more.”
However, despite the strong support from both fans and Blum, the ‘Kalluzeb’ ship has remained strictly in the realm of fandom and head canons, the concept never receiving any official nod from Disney or their Lucasfilm Story Group.
That was, until September 27th, when the official Star Wars Twitter account unveiled an upcoming set of 10th anniversary Star Wars Rebels variant comic book covers, as illustrated by noted industry artist Caspar Wjingaard, that will adorn the January-through-April issues of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars and Star Wars: Darth Vader books.
Star Wars further detailed the upcoming covers in a pair of promotional trailers, each focused on Wjingaard’s respective piece for either Star Wars: Darth Vader or the core Star Wars book.
For example, the trailer for the Darth Vader set of covers begins by highlighting Ashoka’s appearance on Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3 #42, the trailer declares, “Ashoka is ready for a fight on the variant cover of Darth Vader #42 – You can call her Fulcrum.”
Turning to Ezra Bridger and Chopper’s gracing of the next issue’s variant cover, the trailer then notes that the two are “Getting into trouble on the cover of issue #43.”
“Sabine Wren leaves her mark on issue #44”, it adds.
It is then, in the trailer’s highlighting of the Darth Vader series’ final Rebels variant cover, that Star Wars offered official recognition of the ‘Kalluzeb’ ship.
Following the assertion that “Agent Kallus is on issue #45”, the trailer concludes by teasing that the cover depicts the Imperial-turned-Rebel during “his pre-Kalluzeb days”.
As of writing, it is unknown whether this reference to ‘Kalluzeb’ is an official confirmation that the two heroes are in a canon relationship or merely a nod to the shippers within the Rebels‘ fandom.