Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thrawn: A New Threat for Star Wars Rebels

Returning for a third season this month, Star Wars Rebels introduces a dangerous “new” Imperial character named Grand Admiral Thrawn.

But Thrawn isn’t new at all!

Many long-time fans (mostly adults) are excited in anticipation to see this character return to Star Wars. For some, “excited” is a big understatement! But why? Who is Thrawn?

A little history: after the popular appeal of 1983’s blockbuster Return of the Jedi started to die down the widespread appeal of all things Star Wars also started to cool off. Toys, games, clothing, books and more became more and more scarce. As difficult as it is to imagine now, by 1986 it was increasingly rare to find much of ANYTHING Star Wars.

With no new movies on the horizon, no new toys and no new books or comics, the late 80’s are often referred by fans as “the dark times”. Star Wars almost seemed like it was finished forever, at least to the general public. 

Then in 1991, the novel Heir to the Empire was released and became a surprise bestseller! Author Timothy Zahn told his version of what happened to Luke, Han, Leia and the Empire after Return of the Jedi. Heir to the Empire (and two follow-up novels often called The Thrawn Trilogy) ushered in a new era of renewed popular interest in Star Wars. More novels came soon after, along with new comics, toys and by 1999 Episode 1 was released! Star Wars was back!

So for thousands of fans, Heir to the Empire and its sequels were the beginning of a renewed excitement for all things Star Wars.  It’s possible there would be no Episode 1, 2 or 3, let alone The Force Awakens or Rogue One, without the popular appeal of that book and the snowball of fan excitement it created in the early 1990’s. 

Ok, thanks for the history lesson but who is Thrawn? 

Grand Admiral Thrawn is the main villain of that landmark book Heir to the Empire, and several books that followed. He’s a remarkably clever military leader who uses intellect over brute force and almost always wins. He’s a cunning analytical thinker on par with Sherlock Holmes. He’s a villain that for many fans is as important to the Star Wars saga as Darth Vader and the Emperor!

In short: he is incredibly dangerous to the Rebels!

New novel coming in 2017
Even if you’d never heard of Thrawn before there are a lot of reasons to look forward to him appearing in Star Wars Rebels.

First, Rebels features Darth Vader sparingly and so far only glimpses of the Emperor, so a really dangerous and powerful villain would be a welcome addition to the show. 

Second, Thrawn is a very different kind of threat to the Rebels crew and should make for big challenges if they are all to survive to Season 4!

Finally, Thrawn is not human (he’s a blue-skinned Chiss) and in the Empire, humans tend to run everything. Having a very powerful alien within the Empire could cause some interesting conflict within the Empire too!

How long Thrawn lasts and what kind of danger he can pose for the Rebels remains to be seen but what is clear is he will not go down easily! Tune in to Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels to see it unfold!
Scary times ahead for the Ghost crew!
For more information and details about Thrawn see this article on and Thrawn’s Wookiepedia page.

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