This article is targeted primarily at those who are new to Star Wars fandom and in general to old ones and those generally curious about the franchise. There are perhaps only one or two characters as big as Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars who hasn’t yet appeared on film. To the uninitiated, Thrawn is the blue-skinned, red-eyed Imperial military genius was created by author by author Timothy Zahn for Heir to the Empire. The 1991 novel was credited for reigniting interest in the franchise after a period of downturn. As a villain, Thrawn was as big, menacing and threatening as the likes of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. His presence in such an elite company speaks volume about his stature. He presented more than a formidable threat to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and the New Republic five years after Return of the Jedi.
Disney’s decision to ignore the old “Legends” Expanded Universe created fear among old fans that the general might also meet the same fate. We are happy to note that things are not as grim judging from the incorporation of many from legends into the new canon in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and other material. Based on that and his stature, we had reason to believe that sooner than later, Thrawn will also make the jump and he did. He made his comeback in season 3 of Star Wars Rebels.
His return was announced way back in July in a Star Warsevent. Here are 5 fast facts surrounding the comeback of the blue military commander.
1. ‘Star Wars Celebration’ Europe – Announcement of Thrawn’s Return and Zahn’s Upcoming Book ‘Thrawn’
As aforementioned, it was back in July that Thrawn’s return to the Star Wars universe was announced. The news broke out at ‘Star Wars Celebration Europe’ held in London. This news was followed by the unveiling of the trailer for the new season, which included a look at Thrawn.
Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni, who also guided The Clone Wars is at the helm in this project. Filoni made a speech in which he said –
“You couldn’t have grown up a Star Wars fan without encountering Thrawn in Heir to the Empire. It was a dark time when there weren’t any more movies, and it blew our minds that there could be more,”
Timothy Zahn is also an integral part of the project. In an interview with ComingSoon.net, Filoni highlighted Zahn’s importance by stating that he was needed on board in the new incarnation of his famous character. The following is an excerpt from the interview –
“I was pretty adamant with a couple of people saying, ‘Listen, we need to have Tim sign off on this. This is kind of a waste of time [otherwise]. We, of course, can do what we want with a character that Lucasfilm owns, but without Tim’s okay, what does it mean? That’s not going to be good. Once we had some stuff, we wanted to do what we thought was right and make the character. Then we brought him in. We had the production fully prepared.”
Zahn will release his new book Thrawn in spring in 2017. The idea behind the book is to be able to flesh out more background on Thrawn in the new canon.
2. Zahn’s Hope – Fidelity to the Original Character
Zahn revealed his wish and hope for Disney to not allow new incarnation of Thrawn to stray too much from the original avatar, if possible, keep him fidel to the one he created. In an interview he gave to The Daily Dot, before ‘Star WarsCelebration Europe,’ he said –
…I’d obviously like to see Thrawn as I created him. If they change him too much … or any of my other characters, I’m not sure I’d see the point of why they call it that character in the first place. But again, it’s all owned by them. They get to do what they want to. So, we’ll see what happens. And again, I haven’t heard anything official from [Lucasfilm] about whether that rumor is even right.
In a nutshell – what he doesn’t want to see is a character that is wearing Thrawn’s clothes, looks like him, has the same name but feels like someone else altogether and most importantly, has none of his famed strategizing skills as a military leader.
His personality was much different from other Imperial Officers maybe due to him belonging to a different race. While most other officers are humans he is belongs to a race with deep blue skin. His home planet is so far away that it is in the deep unknown regions of the Star Wars galaxy. He is a great lover of art not just as a connoisseur but as an expert who can read the tactics of his enemies by analysing their art.