The Lucasfilm story group made many Star Wars fans very happy during Celebration 2016 when they announced iconic Legends villain Grand Admiral Thrawn would become part of the official franchise canon. He is currently the primary antagonist in the third season of Rebels, demonstrating all of the traits and characteristics that made him a favorite amongst readers of the Heir to the Empire trilogy. The “new” version of Thrawn will be fleshed out further this spring in an upcoming novel by Timothy Zahn that depicts his rise within the Empire.
When Thrawn was originally introduced in the 1990s, it was in stories set after Return of the Jedi, meaning fans never got to see him interact with other memorable Star Wars baddies – most notably Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. Now, however, the story group is working with Thrawn in the time period prior to A New Hope, and many are excited to see him alongside the Dark Side users who led the Imperials. Lucasfilm has now released an excerpt from the Thrawn book, revealing his history with the Sith Lords is far more extensive than some may have realized.
Coming courtesy of USA Today, the passage details a conversation Palpatine has with Thrawn, where the Emperor tries to determine how loyal the alien will be to his cause. As it turns out, Thrawn has one influential reference within the Empire’s ranks that can vouch for him if need be: Anakin Skywalker. Check out part of the excerpt below:
“What guarantee do you offer?”
“My word is my guarantee,” Thrawn said. “Perhaps your servant can speak to the strength of that vow.”
“My servant?” the Emperor asked, his eyes flicking to Parck.
“I do not refer to Captain Parck,” Thrawn said. “I speak of another. Perhaps I assumed incorrectly that he was your servant. Yet, he always spoke highly of Chancellor Palpatine.”
The Emperor leaned forward a little, his yellowish eyes glittering. “And his name?”
“Skywalker,” Thrawn said. “Anakin Skywalker.”
The revelations here are twofold. Not only did Thrawn know (and seemingly work closely with) Anakin during the Clone Wars, the highly-intelligent Grand Admiral appears to have deduced Darth Vader’s true identity. Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side was something the galaxy at large did know about, and only Grand Moff Tarkin has his suspicions. In Rebels, Thrawn is frequently one step ahead of everyone else, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he figured out what really happened to the former Jedi. This sets up quite a compelling dynamic between a so-called “big three” of Palpatine, Vader, and Thrawn, and it will be highly interesting to see those relationships take shape in the novel.
Opportunities like this are exactly why people were thrilled to see Thrawn return to the fold. He has always been a great and compelling character, and Lucasfilm is making sure to use him in fascinating ways. The recently published novel Empire’s End reveals Thrawn’s ties to the Unknown Regions of the universe, which is the only reason Palpatine kept him around for so long. The possibilities are virtually limitless for how the Grand Admiral can factor into the Empire pre-original trilogy, so hopefully Zahn’s latest narrative is as captivating as readers hope.
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn will be released April 11, 2017
Source: USA Today