(Warning: Major potential plot SPOILERS for future episodes - and seasons - of Star Wars Rebels may lie below. As Yoda so sagely advised Taylor Swift that one time: "Say I did not say I did not warn you, do not...")
Now, Disney's takeover of Lucasfilm may have brought us the endlessly entertaining Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and may well be about to bring us an annual dose of Star Wars-themed cinematic wonderment, but that doesn't mean that there isn't also a grey lining to the ever-so-silver cloud. For fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe — the vast backcatalog of non-movie material that's emerged over the past 30 or so years — for instance, its removal from Star Wars canon was a cruel blow, and one that many are still to get over.
Good news on that front might just be about to arrive, however, since:
It Seems An Iconic Fan-Favorite From The Expanded Universe Might Be Set To Turn Up In 'Star Wars Rebels'
Specifically, according to — the typically very reputable — MakingStarWars.net's Jason Ward, we might soon be set to see an animated version of none other than...
(SPOILER-cuing drum-roll, please...)
Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Yup. That Thrawn. The Imperial admiral who rose to power in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, and who is widely considered by many fans of the Extended Universe to be the only villain close to matching Darth Vader in the awesomeness stakes.
I have heard that in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels we will be introduced to none other than the original blue guy himself, Grand Admiral Thrawn from Heir to the Empire. From the sound of things, we’re going to see Thrawn as the tactical genius of capital starship warfare he was to Expanded Universe readers in the ’90s. However, this time he will be using his evil brand of genius against the the heroes of the starship Ghost.
Which, while not quite the same thing as making Thrawn's original adventures canonical, would still be a pretty huge gesture to fans of the Expanded Universe.
What Would It Mean For 'Star Wars Rebels,' Though?
Well, in the short term, it would — if true — seem to suggest a slight shift in the show's narrative (and, perhaps, tone), with a greater emphasis on Thrawn suggesting that other threats may dwindle in importance.
It could also, however, have some pretty major consequences for the future of the Star Wars universe as a whole — perhaps even opening up the possibility of Star Wars Rebels' storyline moving into — or beyond — the events of the original trilogy. As Ward argues:
"The introduction of the character opens up a lot of classic ideas and moments from the Expanded Universe to permeate into the post-Return of the Jedi canon. Thrawn may still return with his fleet to one day menace the fledging New Republic. I think with the sophisticated and well-cultivated backdrop the writers have given the canon post-Return of the Jedi climate, that story can now be told in a way that seems possible and yet is still not all about the resurgence of the Empire itself. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll inspire the First Order to get serious?"
Of course, as things stand, it's still very much just a rumor — but it sure is one that it'd be great to see turn out to be true...