Return of the Fan favourite: Thrawn

Caution: Thrawn Trilogy Spoilers ahead – but…. its been like 25 years.. come on…



On April 1st, Dave Filoni announced that he will be introducing “something big” for Star Wars Rebels at Star Wars: Celebration London. What could be bigger than having Ahsoka, Vader and Maul in the same episode? I’m thinking Fan-Favourite Grand Admiral Thrawn… Though in this case, he would just be Imperial Officer Thrawn. According to Legends, it was not until 2 ABY when he was promoted to the rank of Grand Admiral.

The Evidence

As it happens, DF as already alluded to Thrawn by using the Marg Sabl manoeuvre in Season 1 Episode 19 of the Clone Wars whereby Ahsoka uses this to outmanoeuvre the enemy. The Marg Sabl concept was first implemented in ‘Heir to the Empire’ by Grand Admiral Thrawn against a New Republic Task Force and DF states this in an explanation of the scene. Could this mean that he always has had plans to bring in Thrawn?

Also, the Chiss species, of which Thawn is a member, is named in the Canon timeline and is described in the Disney mobile strategy game Star Wars:  Commander. In it, Senator Johhar Kessen acquires the services of some Chiss mercenaries for the purpose of extracting information from a smuggler. This statement alone, could possible indicate that the Chiss could have a larger role to play.

Grand Admiral Thrawn

Grand Admiral Thrawn was first introduced to Star Wars fans in the Thrawn Trilogy, which in the Legends timeline, took control of the remaining Empire forces in 8 ABY. It was written that at the time of the Emperor, he was the only non-human to achieve the rank of Grand Admiral especially given the Empire strict speciesist policies. He was described in the books to be a military genius and then only reason that he did not succeed in defeating the New Republic, in Legends, was because of his assassination by his Noghri bodyguard aboard his flagship Star Destroyer, the Chimaera. (The Noghri will be covered in my next script)


If I am correct, then I would be hoping that they will do a ‘partial’ timeline episode following his meteoric rise through the imperial ranks. I think that the SW Rebels storyline could move away from Vader and who better to fill that void than an up and coming military genius who’s views that only a strong military government could protect the galaxy’s diverse species from annihilating each other, are the same views that the Empire and indeed the Emperor hold strong.

There has been a lot of suggest that we may indeed see Imperial Officer Thrawn in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. In ‘Heir to the Empire’, we meet Thrawn at a level of military expertise unrivaled within the galaxy, if introduced to Imperial Officer Thrawn in Season 3 of rebels, may we see the rise of this tactician? Could we see his early wins? the nasty deeds required to become the first ever non-human Grand admiral of the Empire? even better, will we see his failings?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below if you think this is likely.

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  • Great Article. Thank-you!
    I’d love to see Grand Admiral Thrawn made canon. He was such a well written character in the Thrawn trilogy. Season 3 of Rebels would be an ideal opportunity. I hear season 3 is likely to be the final season of Rebels- the inclusion of Thrawn as the Show’s “Big Bad” would give the show enough material for an entire season of epic storylines.

    • Hi Robert,
      Thanks for the post. I really do hope that he is introduced into canon and if it is done in in the rebels season 3 then chances are they could have a larger expansion piece later on.
      Also, they did have Tarkin in a few of the episodes too so if they went down this route…there is loads of material that they could work with for Thrawn.

  • Rob,
    This rumour has been circling for a while now, and as a massive EU fan, it excites me. Dave Filoni has stated before they are receptive to Star Wars fans wishes, so there is a strong possibility this could happen. He has something hidden up his sleeve alright – and as you stated – we’re going to find out exactly what that is at Celebrations in July. I just hope this “big announcement” isn’t (a) it’s the last season of Rebels or (b) the appearance of another Clone Wars character. (I can picture Dave Filoni sitting in a dark room; his face shrouded by a hood pulled tightly, “Disney cancels my Clone Wars, we’ll soon see about that.” Queue evil laugh)
    For me, the one possible negative thing about this – and this was touched on in your Episode 19 Rebels Finale round table – by bringing more and more of these iconic characters into Rebels, it is taking the focus away from the original Rebels Band. Every time Ahsoka and Vader appeared in Rebels – especially together – they took over the scene and pushed the likes of Kanan and Ezra into the background. Just think, the majority of your discussion on the finale – and rightly so – was all about Maul, Vader and Ahsoka. This on the finale of the second season of Rebels shouldn’t be the case. Adding another big character like Thrawn to the mix (and who knows what other Clone Wars characters. Me thinks Mr Filoni has not finished yet) I’m afraid will have a detrimental effect on the members of the Rebels Band character development. Having said that I do hope it happens, it will make for some great TV, and will also sell plenty of Thrawn figures, which will keep Disney very happy indeed.



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