I won’t lie. I was pretty shocked to see the animated image of Grand Admiral Thrawn strewn everywhere across the cyberspace in the aftermath of the reveal made during Star Wars Celebration 2016 that the blue-skinned/red-eyed humanoid was gonna appear in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. I was shocked to my core because we’ve read countless times on Disney’s insistence that they won’t take any further elements/characters off the Expanded Universe (EU) and put them inside the main ‘canonised’ movie universe.
I guess it’s a whole new ballgame when you practically own every single thing that exists within the Star Wars banner. You get to change your decisions at will and pretend that any past less-favorable decisions will eventually be forgotten by the fans. Disney can practically do whatever they want with Star Wars and this was what they just did with Thrawn. For those who didn’t know, Disney has re-classified the bulk of the EU books/novels as ‘Legends’ which mean that they exist but not necessarily be considered part of the main canon or simply put, having any sort of tie-ins into the movies we’ve seen thus far.
I remembered that a faction of fan used to petition for George Lucas to use Thrawn inside his supposedly Episode VII-VX films but even then George simply brushed the notion aside and even said that he haven’t really read any of the novels himself. With George our of the way (when Disney purchased Star Wars for themselves) Disney was free to do anything as they please although the EU storyline/characters were still kept behind closed curtains.
Now, I understand that the author of the Thrawn Trilogy (which I’ve read many a times already since the mid-90s) is currently in the process of writing a new book on our favorite humanoid Admiral in order for him to get some backstory in the upcoming Rebels series. So why go through all the trouble when you already have Zahn’s books to refer to? You see, apart from the ‘Legends’ status of the books, it is simply not possible for Disney to rely on Zahn’s Trilogy. Firstly, Star Wars Rebel Season 3 happened before Episode IV where else in the books, Thrawn came into the picture AFTER the events of Return of the Jedi, I think about 5 years after. Therefore, some sort of re-telling needs to be done by Zahn to assimilate the character into the canonised timeline. But how different is different? Only time will tell.
I love the Thrawn Trilogy books. That was THE expanded Star Wars material to go to prior to us getting The Phantom Menace in ’98. I do however like to know if Star Wars Rebels/the upcoming Thrawn novel from Zahn would maintain the following elements from the book:
1) The Noghri – these race of humanoid served as bodyguard to Thrawn until one of them turned traitor
2) Jorrus C’baoth – mad Dark Jedi/clone of a Jedi that serves Thrawn
3) Abregado System – sound a lot like the word ‘thank you’ in Portugese but this is where most of the Trilogy action took place
4) Ysalamiri – the animal that Thrawn carries in a harness behind his back/lower back head to thwart off any Force attack from his enemies
Confession: I still haven’t watched any episodes off Star Wars: Rebel - Season 2. I guess now is a good time to play catch up before we get to see Thrawn later in the year in Season 3.