I personally think Rebels has a lot more potential than TCW because that show is pretty much all over the place. TCW has the benefit of somewhat self-contained arcs to make “movies” out of, but the episodes that make up those arcs still feel episodic when mashed together (often jumping from one character to another). Rebels has a much more consistent progression for the characters and the story, so you could easily just trim down the fat and have a fine streamlined version of the series.
That’s an excellent point.
What if we made Ezra into Bodhi from Rogue One? Okay, that’s kinda dumb. But what isn’t dumb is making Draven from Rogue One into Kallus. Hell, you don’t even need to change anything beyond Rogue One’s credits (unless he’s referred to by name at some point). It’d be one more connection to make this story feel relevant. Oh, oh what if Ezra was Wedge Antilles?!! I’ll see myself out…
I think the story should start with the Ghost crew already part of the larger rebellion, as it would allow shifting the focus away from Ezra, and to a lesser extent the crew as a whole. I think Hera ought to be the primary focus, alongside Kanan and Sabine. Zeb would also be pushed into the background, although less out of hate and more out him not being relevant, although this might hurt Kallus’s arc. I think The Siege of Lothal would be a nice place to start.
Ezra’s role would be reduced as much as possible. I wonder if it would be possible to even cut out him being a Jedi entirely (and the inquisitors while we’re at it). It’d be strange for a teenage Jedi to have a small background role. Still, if he’s not a Jedi, the question becomes what to do with Maul. Would their relationship still work without the Force? Since his role would be so reduced, and the plot of his missing parents cut, maybe he could just be Kanan and Hera’s (adopted) son? It would be a convenient way to explain why he’s around without having to do much. Hell, since he’s adopted anyways (there’s no way that thing in the finale is part twilek), it wouldn’t really be changing the story at all. He’d just have been adopted at a younger age.