The extensive Star Wars Universe seemed to shrink dramatically after Disney picked up Lucasfilm in 2012, for the paltry sum of $4 billion. One of the newly-merged studio's earliest moves was to declare the vast Expanded Universe (filled with novels, comics, and video games) non-canon, much to many fans' dismay. Now known as Star Wars Legends, devotees assumed it would the last they would see of beloved EU characters like Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Slowly but surely though, aspects of 'Legends' have worked their way back into the canon. Everything changed for the better, at least for EU fans, when an early trailer for season 3 of Star Wars Rebels featured a particular red-eyed, blue-skinned imperial officer.
The latest Rebels promo gives fan's their first real look at the brilliant tactician. “Enter Thrawn” treats them to the Grand Admiral in all his hyper-disciplined glory – his voice oozing with precision malice thanks to Lars Mikkelson. Staying true to his character, in the clip Thrawn expounds upon his in-depth study of the art of war. He explains, in no certain terms, that he’ll pick the Rebel forces apart from within, allowing them to become “the architects of their own destruction.”
Although they’ve faced down numerous extremely dangerous threats – including several Imperial Inquisitors, the deranged Darth Maul, an up and coming Grand Moff Tarkin, and of course, the baddest daddio of them all, Darth Vader – the Ghost crew haven’t dealt with a tactician on Thrawn’s level yet. In the books, the Grand Admiral survived the fall of the Empire due to good fortune and his keen foresight. He consolidated his power before waging an all-out war that nearly broke the fledgling New Republic. His entry into Rebels season 3 casts an ominous blue pallor on the upstart rebel band.
With all due respect to Thrawn’s brilliance, even the shadowy puppeteer of Emperor Palpatine wasn’t able to put down the “insignificant rebellion” or even foresee (at least in-canon) his prized apprentice turning against him. Nevertheless, with the fate of the Ghost and Rebels uncertain beyond their third season, the tactical wizardry of the Grand Admiral could spell doom for Hera, Ezra, Kanan, and crew. Even the mighty Darth Vader couldn’t take down this plucky band of rebels, though, so there remain a few rays of hope that they’ll survive the superior strategist's meticulously planned onslaught.
Of course, equally exciting are the implications of the re-canonization of Thrawn. Assuming Star Wars Rebels continues past its third season – or leads to the launch of another animated or even a live-action program – fans stand a real chance of seeing other favorite EU characters come to life. Seeing as showrunner Dave Filoni keeps teasing further connections to the film world, this also means some ‘Legends’ characters could, conceivably, wind up on the big screen.
Most of all, it’s thrilling to see the EU favorite come to life. Fans of Star Wars Rebels are certainly looking forward (with dread) to watching Grand Admiral Thrawn’s plans come to fruition.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 premieres on Disney XD on September 24th, 2016 at 8:30 pm EST.
Source: Disney XD