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Matt Timmy Creamer
“To defeat an enemy you must know them. Not simply their battle tactics, but their history, philosophy, art.” -Grand Admiral Thrawn Quote From Rebels Season 3

Star Wars Celebration broke some MAJOR news by announcing that the much beloved expanded universe villain named Grand Admiral Thrawn is now a part of Star Wars canon. Back in April, Dave Filoni who is the executive producer on Star Wars Rebels, promised fans a big reveal at this year's Star Wars Celebration when he said:

“Something big is going to happen that I think people really, really want, and I know that I’ve wanted it for a while. We’ve figured out a way to do it. It’s a very important moment in Star Wars and a very important moment for Star Wars fans….You will definitely learn more about that at Celebration coming up, because I’m going to talk about it specifically.”

Die-hard fans know that Thrawn was a character who was introduced by author Timothy Zahn in his first novel Star Wars: Heir to the Empire. That novel eventually turned into a trilogy (Dark Force Rising and Last Command were the other two) and was the first set of stories to follow the conclusion of Return of the Jedi.

The series centered around our favorite characters including Luke, Leia, and Han, however, other supporting characters from the films including Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar, and Lando Calrissian also played large roles. Grand Admiral Thrawn was the villain that our protagonists had to deal with. What made him highly lethal was that he was a smart tactician who used his wit and cunning to combat his enemies. The admiral studies his enemies well, learning everything about them in order to further enhance his chances of defeating them. In the novels, Thrawn is described as having the ability to learn a lot about his enemies simply by studying their art and architecture:

“Learn about art, Captain. When you understand a species’ art, you understand that species.” -Grand Admiral Thrawn to Gilad Pellaeon.

Fans finally got their wish when Thrawn’s appearance was revealed in the latest Star Wars Rebels Season 3 trailer. The reveal of Thrawn comes in around the 1:55 mark:

How Similar Will His Character Be To The Novels?

Grand Admiral Thrawn will make his first on-screen appearance in the television series. He will be voiced by Lars Mikkelsen (the older brother of Mads Mikkelsen who, coincidentally, plays Jyn Erso’s father Galen Erso in Rogue One). Based on the trailer, it appears that Thrawn will factor heavily into the fight against the Rebellion. Thrawn looks to be the big bad in the third season of the much-acclaimed Star Wars Rebels.

According to his quotes in the trailer, the character of Thrawn will be influenced by the same author who created him. It’s obvious from the trailer that Thrawn is a tactician and studies his enemies well before sending in a full-fledged attack. The man knows his stuff, and never accepts defeat as an option. Whether he will be of the alien race known as the Chiss is up in the air, but at least they're staying true to his blue skin tone.

Will Grand Admiral Thrawn Thwart Force-Users With The Ysalamiri?

One of the biggest criticisms of the character in the novels was what he used to defend himself against Force users. Thrawn found these alien creatures named the Ysalamiri, which hail from the planet Myrkr and have lizard-like qualities in their appearance. But what they are best known for is repelling the Force. If one were to have a Ysalamiri close by, the creature would protect its master from Force-users by encasing them in a type of Force-neutral bubble.

In the novels, Thrawn always had at least one of these lizards hanging around his shoulder. However, I don’t believe these creatures will come into play in the show, at least the way Zahn wrote them in his novels. The trailer does give a slight nod to the Ysalamiri as you can see them as statues directly behind Thrawn once he’s revealed to the audience.

This season of Star Wars Rebels will lead up to this year's release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. What happens to a lot of these characters, including the lead, Ezra, is uncertain, but one thing is apparent: Grand Admiral Thrawn will eventually end up on the big screen.

What Impact Will Thrawn Have In The Star Wars Universe?

If you ask me, I’d say that Thrawn is going to play a HUGE role in the new Star Wars universe. It would be a major disappointment and a missed opportunity if Thrawn never made it to the big screen. I believe it’s only a matter of time for him to become a part of the Star Wars movie universe. The only question is, what film should he make his debut in?

I believe it’s possible that we could see him in this years Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The timeline seems to fit in well, especially if Star Wars Rebels leads directly into Rogue One. Though we have to wait and see how his character plays out in Rebels, I think it’s safe to say that we will be seeing him in a film sooner rather than later.

Rogue One seems to make the most sense, however I wouldn’t put it against him appearing in the Han Solo spin-off film. That seems a little far-fetched considering we don’t want to take too much away from our main protagonist. After all, if Thrawn were to be the main villain in the Han Solo film, it could steal the thunder from our favorite hero. Directors Lord and Miller should keep the focus on Han and Chewie instead of focusing more on the villain.

I honestly would rather have Thrawn receive his own spin-off film, where the whole film focuses solely on the strategic elements that makes this character great. The DC property is a good example of this with their Suicide Squad movie. This is a film where we are watching the movie from the villain’s perspective, so why not do the same with a Star Wars film featuring one of its greatest villains? I believe that has the potential to be an incredible film in the Star Wars movie universe.

Thrawn Is Also Receiving His Own Canon Novel

Just when you thought the news couldn’t get any better, the author himself revealed to the mass audience that a new Star Wars novel will be released in April 2017 simply titled Star Wars: Thrawn. The novel will look to shed some light on this fan-favorite character.

I cannot wait to read this novel! Zahn is one of my favorite authors from the Star Wars novels. His writing is truly phenomenal and has given us memorable characters, including another fan-favorite character named Mara Jade. Zahn also gave us the planet Coruscant, which Lucas utilized in his prequel trilogy. The famous author will no doubt give us a great villain to learn about in his novel. It’s another story I will definitely add to my reading list.

Final Thoughts

Grand Admiral Thrawn has been long overdue for his re-introduction to the Star Wars universe. Fans were deeply saddened when Disney/Lucasfilm announced that everything minus the films and Clone Wars television show would no longer be canon. This meant that fan favorites Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn would be written out entirely. Now, fans can breathe a sigh of relief since Thrawn, at least, will now be making his grand return.

Star Wars Celebration thus far hasn’t disappointed, as we look forward to its conclusion over the weekend. Are you excited for the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn? Do you believe we will eventually be seeing him on the big screen? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to keep an eye out for more Star Wars breaking news!