There are nearly myriad beloved characters in the Star Wars galaxy, many of whom have never made it into the world of live action. But few characters are as popular as Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has been an integral part of the franchise for nearly 30 years. But many fans of the franchise, especially The Mandalorian viewers, have only recently heard of the mysterious character. So who is Grand Admiral Thrawn?
It seems the character is ready to finally make his live-action debut, which will introduce Thrawn to an entirely different section of the fan base. For those who have not kept up with the expanded universe over the years or for those who have just watched movies, it will be a new concept. For those interested in learning a little more about Thrawn, we’re here to explain everything you need to know about the character who emerged as a person of interest in a galaxy far, far away.
Who Created Grand Admiral Thrawn?
Thrawn was introduced to the Star Wars universe by author Timothy Zahn in a trilogy of novels starting in 1991. The trilogy is now referred to as the “Thrawn Trilogy” or “Heir of the Empire” and takes its name from the first book in the series. The Legacy of the Empire was released at a time when there was little going on with the franchise, a few years after Return of the Jedi was released. The book is set after the events of the original trilogy. Thrawn is introduced as the new leader of the Empire. The sequels Dark Force Rising and The Last Command were released in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is a member of a mysterious alien race known as the Chiss. His native name is Mitth’raw’nuruodo. He has blue skin and a brilliance unparalleled in the ranks of the Empire. He led the empire after the death of Palpatine. A brilliant strategist, Thrawn was able to rise up the ranks of the Imperial Navy and eventually fill the power vacuum left by Palpatine and Darth Vader. Thrawn can infer a great deal about his enemies through art and other artifacts from their culture.
Where did Thrawn appear in Star Wars?
Disney rolled back the Star Wars canon after purchasing Lucasfilm in 2012. As a result, the Legacy of the Empire trilogy, as well as other novels now known as Legends, have been removed from the official canon. While these books are still available for reading, they don’t necessarily reflect what has happened or will happen in the current iteration of the franchise. So we will mainly focus on canonical appearances. But for completists, here’s a slightly more comprehensive list of other Star Wars projects he has appeared in.
- Ghost of the past
- Vision of the future
- Outward flight
- Fog Encounter – Star Wars Adventure Journal 7
- Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire
- Star Wars: Rebellion
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Rebel power: aim
- Choice of one
- Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm
- Star Wars Galaxies: A Kingdom Divided
- Command Decision – Star Wars Adventure Journal 11}
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter
- Crisis of faith
- A Grand Admiral Returns – Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- Tatooine Ghost
As mentioned, Thrawn went with it when Disney cleared all Legends stories from the canon. But fans were treated to a big surprise when the blue-skinned alien appeared in the trailer for the third season of Star Wars Rebels. The character was used as the main antagonist for Season 3 and Season 4 of the animated series, which focuses on the making of the Rebellion and takes place before the events of A New Hope.
Aside from that show, Timothy Zahn returned to write a new series of cannon novels detailing Thrawn’s rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. The first book, entitled Star Wars: Thrawn, was published in 2017. This was followed by Thrawn: Alliances in 2018 and Thrawn: Treason in 2019. The books all take place prior to the events of the Rebel Finale and focus on his various exploits, which serves to open a window into his brilliant strategic mind in the Empire Practice to offer.
Zahn is now working on a new Thrawn: The Ascendency Trilogy, which will plunge into the character’s time with the Chiss Ascendency. Book I: Chaos Rising was published in September 2020. The sequel, titled Greater Good, is slated for 2021.
What happened to Star Wars Rebels?
Thrawn was last seen in the finale of the Star Wars Rebels series. In the end, he flew into space with Ezra Bridger thanks to the help of the space whales known as Purrgil. The whereabouts of Ezra and Thrawn after the rebels have become one of the biggest questions within the franchise.
What we do know for sure is that Thrawn is somewhere in the galaxy. The finale included an epilogue revealing that Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren embarked on a journey to find out what happened to Esra following the events of the Return of the Jedi. So officially what happened to Thrawn has not been announced, but it seems that sooner or later those answers will come, likely in live-action form.
Mandalorian Chapter 13 titled The Jedi officially brings Thrown to the group. Not in the flesh. Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano searches for information from an Imperial ally named Morgan Elsbeth throughout the episode. For most of the episode, what she’s looking for is completely mysterious. But after Ahsoka and Mando best hit Morgan and their guards, it is revealed that she knows the whereabouts of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This is of great interest to Ahsoka.
This firmly ties the narrative in the second season of The Mandalorian to the finale of the Star Wars Rebels series. At this point it is unclear how these narratives will ultimately connect, but it is clear that they will build up into something that the Blue Chiss in question is involved in.
Who plays Thrawn in the Mandalorian?
As of this writing, it has not yet been confirmed who will play the role of Thrawn in The Mandalorian or any live-action Star Wars project. Until then, the character only existed in books, comics, and animations. There are many suggestions, but Lucasfilm has yet to confirm a casting on that front.
Still, Lars Mikkelsen has voiced Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels. Since Katee Sackhoff already played Bo Katan in live action after voicing them in an animation, it seems conceivable that Mikkelsen could make a similar jump. But Ahsoka, voiced by Ashley Eckstein in The Clone Wars and Rebels, has been replaced by Rosario Dawson for live action. In this case, it could go both ways.
Topics: Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Star Wars Rebels
Since 2013 author of various things on the internet (mainly about films). Major lovers of popcorn movies. Avid James Bond, Marvel and Star Wars lover. Has an incredibly fat cat named Buster and still buys CDs. I have my reasons.