Grand Admiral Thrawn, Star Wars, Star Wars: Rebels

Grand Admiral Thrawn is Back!!! Star Wars: Rebels Season 3 Trailer & New Timothy Zahn Novel Announced!

We expected news to come out of this weekend’s Star Wars Fan Celebration in London, and we haven’t been disappointed.  From the Rogue One sizzle reel and poster (c’mon, let us all see the new trailer!!!), to new details about this December’s live-action film, we’ve also gotten new details about the novels that will lead up to Rogue One, and a very big one coming in 2017 tying into the Star Wars Rebels panel.  First of all, if you have not seen the end of season two, the rest of this may get into spoilers and the trailer definitely will, so be warned.

Star Wars, Heir to the Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca

The biggest news from the trailer is that one of the most beloved characters from the Star Wars Extended Universe, which was made non-canon by Disney when it purchased Lucasfilm, is returning in a big way.  Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced in Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, the very beginning of what would become the EU.  In the novel, Thrawn unites the remnants of the Empire after Return of the Jedi, but his return will place him before A New Hope.  Star Wars Rebels is chronicling the rise of the Rebellion, so Thrawn will play a different role than before, but his creator Timothy Zahn will return to write a new novel in 2017 that re-establishes the character in the timeline.  Entertainment Weekly has more on Thrawn and Rebels’ show runner Dave Filoni’s comments on other prominent EU characters possibly appearing in Rebels.

A member of the Chiss species, Thrawn was one of the few non-human Imperial officers — distinguished by his intellect and ruthlessness. Although his rise to power took place after Jedi, he now occupies the timeline before the original 1977 movie, since Rebelsfocuses on the building of the uprising that would eventually topple the Empire.

He’ll be voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, brother of Mads, who is coincidentally co-starring in Rogue One as Jyn Erso’s father. Filoni said he imagined their Christmas will include a lot of Star Wars talk.

Zahn appeared via pre-recorded video to thank Filoni for bringing back the character and announced that he’s busy working on a newStar Wars novel, titled — of course — Thrawn.

Timothy Zahn, Thrawn, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Star Wars

During the audience Q&A, one of the first questions Filoni was asked was if he would also be resurrecting another character from Heir to the Empire — Mara Jade, a former operative for the Emperor who goes on to become Luke Skywalker’s wife. 

Filoni’s answer was blunt. “I saw that coming a mile away,” he said. “No, not likely. You just got Thrawn! Remember that?”

Eagle-eyed audience members also spotted a familiar starship in the trailer — the Outrider, a vehicle piloted by Dash Rendar, a smuggler from the 1996 Shadows of the Empire video game, who also became a popular Expanded Universe/Legends character.

But Filoni shut that down, too. “No,” he said, turning to Rebels voice actors Sam Witwer and Tiya Sircar. “See what I have to deal with on a daily basis?” He confirmed that an Outrider-style ship was dropped into the trailer as an homage, but that Rendar would not be making an appearance.

Star Wars, Grand Admiral Thrawn,

6 thoughts on “Grand Admiral Thrawn is Back!!! Star Wars: Rebels Season 3 Trailer & New Timothy Zahn Novel Announced!”

  1. Who gets your vote to play Thrawn when they decide to put him in one of the movies? Amazingly, this is one nerd icon that Benedict Cumberbatch would not be right for. Gabriel Byrne and Ralph Fiennes both would have gotten my support when they were younger. Especially Byrne. But these days it’s Micheal Fassbender all the way.

    1. Fassbender is a good choice. Rylance would have been good younger also. He needs to have a presence, but be primarily cerebral. Thrawn isn’t Vader. He doesn’t go around emitting an aura of evil. He’s more of a chess player and that he’s aligned with the Empire is really more a matter of it gives him a chance to play his game of culture hunting than it is ideological identification. After all, he’s Chiss in an Emprie that hates aliens. To him, this is a mental exercise on a galactic scale.

      1. I’ll tell you who would be perfect: Damian Lewis, the actor who starred in Band of Brothers. After his role in that, it ought to be impossible to picture him as an evil character, and yet I can somehow see it. The other reason that Thrawn is unlike Vader is that he can command genuine respect from his men instead of merely instilling fear, and Lewis would be able to make that aspect believable, while remaining appropriately cold. Seriously, Lewis would be downright scary in the role.

      2. There was a quirky detective series a few years ago called Life, and Lewis was really good in that. I really need to watch more television though. After seeing the Informant, I started Breaking Bad. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve gotten through a few episodes.

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