The Return of Thrawn
When Disney bought Lucasfilm and began planning the future of the Star Wars franchise on film, it was all but certain that the Expanded Universe of novels (some twenty years worth) was going to be jettisoned for the “new canon”. While I was completely fine with this decision (let’s be real, how many good stories came out of the EU?), there were two character that I wished made the cut: Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn, from Timothy Zhan’s Heir To The Empire trilogy.
Well, it looks like I’ll be waiting for the former to “count” again, but the latter? Man of man, Thrawn COUNTS now! Revealed at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, the fan-favorite EU character is now being worked into the “new” Star Wars canon for Rebels, the surprisingly awesome Disney XD prequel series that follows Kanan, Ezra, and other assorted characters in the years leading up to A New Hope.
This is pretty damn huge. Not only does it show that Lucasfilm is willing to cash in on some of the more popular Expanded Universe characters, it also shows that whatever committee they have that’s pouring through the countless novels, comics, and videogames that were created before Disney bought Lucasfilm is actually taking a look at what events or characters could work within the confines of this new continuity. They’re not just wiping the slate clean completely, they’re looking at some of the more popular characters, and seeing how they could work them into the new continuity.
So how exactly does Thrawn fit into this new continuity? Well, according to the new trailer for Rebels season 3, Grand Moff Tarkin will call in Thrawn after the destruction of the Inquisitors. With a “unique understanding” of their enemies, this version of Thrawn, while certainly more cartoonish than we’ve seen before, seems to be in line with how Timothy Zhan first wrote the character in the Heir trilogy. He certainly acts like the character I remember from those novels I read decades ago.
Speaking of those novels (and Timothy Zhan), there was yet another piece of Thrawn news that came out of Celebration: a new novel, entitled (simply enough): Star Wars: Thrawn. Written by Thrawn’s creator Timothy Zhan, the new book will assumedly take place around the same time as his appearance in Rebels. In fact, I bet that it’ll adapt some of the events from season 3 of Rebels since it won’t arrive until April of next year, well after that show will have finished it’s third season.
It’s an understatement to say it’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan, but man, it really is a good time to be a Star Wars fan. While he’s not being featured in a major movie (yet), it’s pretty damn awesome that Lucasfilm and Disney are listening to some of the more rational EU fans and including some of their favorite characters in this new continuity.
Now just give me Mara jade, and it’ll all be gravy.