- “We will show the galaxy what happens to those who dare speak against the Emperor.”
Thrawn is a character who serves as the main antagonist in the third season of Star Wars Rebels. He is a Grand Admiral who serves the Galactic Empire. Thrawn is a Chiss, a humanoid species characterized by their blue skin, dark blue hair, and red eyes.
Thrawn started out as an Imperial Officer that served in the Empire's navy many years into the reign of the Galactic Empire. He was responsible for crushing numerous Rebel groups including those operating in the Batonn Sector, in which he killed many enemies and civilians alike. Thrawn then was promoted by Palpatine to the prestigious title of Grand Admiral. As he had achieved many victories and left almost no survivors, Thrawn was not well-known to the Rebellion at large. Thrawn was an exile before being rescued by soldiers from the Galactic Empire, and was one of the few who knew that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were the same man. Palpatine was in turn, fascinated by Thrawn, who hailed from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, where the emperor believed the source of the Dark side originated from. Due to this, and his prowess in tactical and physical combat, Thrawn often held the emperor's favor.
Thrawn is a member of the Chiss species, having blue skin and red eyes. Thrawn is an observant and analytical individual, and believes that understanding an enemy's culture, history, philosophy, and art is crucial in order to discern their tactics and ultimately defeat them in battle. He is tactically superior to many other Imperial leaders who often used the same strategies, and, as a result, were defeated by the Rebels. When Thrawn is dispatched to fight Cham Syndulla and his Free Ryloth Movement, the latter does not expect his adversary's attacks to be as precise and devastating as they turned out to be.
Unlike most other Imperial officers, Thrawn is not a particularly cruel or malicious individual. As a matter of fact, he is quite gentlemanly, being polite and cordial with even his own enemies, despite feeling no regret in taking their lives. Thrawn is also very patient, preferring to study the tactics of his enemies rather than to instantly become the aggressor, even if it means allowing them to escape. He was also condoning of civilian casualties if it meant a sure victory, as was demonstrated during the Battle of Batonn. However, Thrawn's patience does have its limits, as he becomes annoyed and enraged when others questions his views and does not understand his appreciation of art.
The directors have described Thrawn as being "coldly analytical".
- High-Level Intellect/Expert Tactician/Leader: Thrawn is highly intelligent. As the Grand Admiral of the Imperial Navy, Thrawn is a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader.
- Master Hand-To-Hand Combatant: Thrawn is highly skilled in unarmed combat; he was capable of defeating two Imperial Sentry Droids at once in a training session.
Role in the Series
Grand Admiral Thrawn made his debut in the third season premiere. He is the Commander of the Seventh Imperial Fleet. He earned the respect of many Imperials such as Arihnda Pryce for his effective stratigies. He earned his rank during the Battle of Batonn.
He first appeared with Arihinda Pryce, the Imperial Governor of the Lothal System, at a meeting with Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Agent Kallus, and Admiral Kassius Konstantine. While Konstantine dismisses Governor Pryce's theory that the Rebel Network is a galaxy-wide threat to the Empire, Thrawn agreed with it and vows to pull the Rebels apart piece by piece. Later, Governor Pryce contacts him from Reklam station to tell him the Rebel Fleet is doing what he predicted only for him to tell her that is not the Rebel Fleet and to let them go.
- Thrawn originally appeared in Star Wars Legends and was created by Timothy Zahn for his critically acclaimed series of books known as the "Thrawn Trilogy" which include the following books, Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992) and The Last Command (1993). His popularity with the Star Wars fanbase sparked his introduction into the current Star Wars canon. Zahn has approved of Thrawn's inclusion into Star Wars Rebels and is currently writing a book entitled "Thrawn", to expand upon his inclusion into the series and new canon timeline.
- Timothy Zahn, author of the Thrawn Trilogy, has also written several other Star Wars books outside of the Thrawn trilogy, but have some reference to Thrawn or an appearance of him as well. Those include Specter of the Past (1997), Vision of the Future (1998), Fool's Bargain (1 February 2004)Survivor's Quest (2004), Outbound Flight (2006), Allegiance (2007), Choices of One (2011), Scoundrels (January 2013), two graphic novels involving Mara Jade, another one of Zahn's creations who was first introduced in the Thrawn trilogy and is now considered to be popular Star Wars Legends character, and multitude of short stories.
- It should be noted that when Thrawn Trilogy was released back in the early 1990's, these books caused a resurgence in the public's interest in the Star Wars franchise for the first time since the premiere of Return of the Jedi.
- Lars Mikkelsen, Thrawn's voice actor, is the brother of Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- Thrawn is the only Chiss to appear in the new Star Wars cannon, with Thrawn himself bringing his species back into Canon.
- In Legends, Thrawn gains the title of Grand Admiral after stopping a rogue Grand Admiral and taking his place, in Star Wars: Rebels he gains the rank when he stops an rebel insurgency by bombarding a planet, killing all of the rebels on the planet but along with most of the planet's population.