Perhaps the biggest announcement to come out of Star Wars Celebration 2016 this summer was that fan-favorite villain Grand Admiral Thrawn would appear in the third season of Star Wars Rebels. The character became well-known in Timothy Zahn's trilogy of novels, but those books were wiped out of series canon when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and started anew with the story group. Many are pleased to see Thrawn officially become a part of franchise history, which also includes a new book by Zahn due in spring 2017.
The first few episodes of Rebels this year haven't featured much Thrawn, who's only come in briefly during the season premiere "Steps Into Shadow." That should change very soon, as it looks like he will factor heavily into this Saturday's "Hera's Heros." As has become their customary practice, Disney XD has released a clip from the episode ahead of its airing, featuring Hera being interrogated by Thrawn. You can watch it above.
In what appears to be the followup to a previously released Rebels clip, Hera has been taken prisoner by Thrawn. The Imperial admiral remarks how the Twi'lek has known war her whole life, surviving the Clone Wars before taking part in the Galactic Civil War. After Hera comes back with a line about how the Rebel Alliance's "will to be free" will help them defeat the Empire and is chastised by another officer, Thrawn reveals to his associate that instead of being a peasant (part of the Ghost crew's undercover operation, no doubt), Hera is the daughter of Free Ryloth leader Cham Syndulla. A portrait of the Syndulla family shown at the end suggests the Empire has taken over Cham's home.
The biggest takeaway from the clip is that the Rebels team seems to have captured the essence of Thrawn for the screen, presenting him as a cool and calculating antagonist who will not be easily thwarted. There was a lot of pressure on Dave Filoni and company to do the character justice since expectations were so high, but the small tastes of Thrawn so far have excited several. Obviously, viewers will have to wait until the end of the season to cast a definitive verdict, but everything from the voice to the mannerisms have earned high marks to date. As Rebels moves along, it will be exciting to see how Thrawn develops.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of Thrawn's tenure on the show. Rebels still has a few seasons left (at least), and it would be a wasted opportunity if the character was killed off shortly following his debut. Thrawn has tremendous potential and could be a terrific foil for the Ghost crew for years to come. With the chances of Vader returning to the show rather slim, Thrawn has assumed the mantle of chief villain and there are most likely big things in store.
Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. EST on Disney XD.
Source: Star Wars YouTube