Popular Star Wars villain Grand Admiral Thrawn first showed up in author Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy of novels — “Heir to the Empire” (1991), “Dark Force Rising” (1992), and “The Last Command” (1993) — before joining the existing Star Wars canon in Dave Filoni’s animated series, Star Wars Rebels.
Thrawn (voiced by Lars Mikkelsen) antagonized the Ghost ship crew, including Ahsoka Tano’s (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) fellow Jedi Knight Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray) — and the rest of the galaxy — until Bridger sacrificed himself to make sure Thrawn disappeared.
Then, he reemerged in The Mandalorian Season 2 when Rosario Dawson made her live-action debut as Ahsoka Tano in the Filoni-directed Episode 5 (“Chapter 13: The Jedi”). Corvus Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) uttered Thrawn’s name when Tano asked her who was pulling the strings behind her actions.
This, of course, immediately got fans wondering when and where Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Filoni will ultimately introduce their live-action version of the blue-skinned villain, who has not yet officially been cast, though most believe that Mikkelsen will play the role, much like voice actress Katee Sackhoff played Bo-Katan Kryze in The Mandalorian.
Earlier this year, reports indicated that the Thrawn character had already finished filming his first live-action series — likely The Book of Boba Fett, which is due to hit Disney+ in December 2021 — but, now, some Star Wars fans are convinced that Thrawn may have already wrapped multiple shows.
Zahn’s trio of novels — which also introduced Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker’s Star Wars Legends wife, former Emperor’s Hand assassin Mara Jade Skywalker — are set in 9 ABY, five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) and both seasons of The Mandalorian.
Upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) prequel series, Andor, is set in five years prior to the events of Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), which occur within mere days of one another. Series star Diego Luna (Captain Cassian Andor) recently confirmed that Andor has finished filming and that fans will “see some familiar faces”.
From a Star Wars timeline standpoint, Thrawn could certainly appear.
As Reddit user TheGamerDanYT’s wrote:
I have a feeling we’ll see or have a mention of Thrawn. It absolutely makes sense for a gritty war show to at least reference him if nothing else.
Another Redditor replied:
yea I’m putting money on Thrawn showing up and maybe Ahsoka as fulcrum.
Probably just a hologram like she was in Rebels S1 but I’ll take what I can get.
Yet another reply read:
It would make a sense to start setting up him as a villain and her as someone in direct opposition to him for her [Ahsoka’s] show.
One more comment from user nachoolo on the Reddit thread noted:
Thrawn really needs to be introduced in live-action before the Ahsoka’s series.
If her series is going to be about searching for him, we really need an audience that is familiar to him so they understand the stakes. As much as I love animation, Rebels, and the Thrawn books. The general public is probably less interested in a CG children cartoon or a tie-in novel than us.
And they probably going to be the majority of live-action viewers. So having 90% of your audience oblivious to the importance of Thrawn ain’t going to be good for your series’ reception.
In other words, all roads point to Thrawn being the next “big bad” in the Star Wars universe. Whether he first appears in Robert Rodriguez’s The Book of Boba Fett in December or sometime next year in Andor, Ahsoka, or The Mandalorian Season 3, however, remains to be seen.
Are you looking forward to more Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Star Wars story?