Rumor has it a famous character from the non-canon Star Wars Expanded Universe is coming to Star Wars Rebels.
This will be the first major Legends character to break out of non-canon status, if this rumor is true. And believe me, we hope it is. SPOILER WARNING: potential spoilers for the third season of Star Wars Rebels commence below. Proceed with caution.
Yup. Making Star Wars says there’s a great chance Grand Admiral Thrawn from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy will make an appearance on Star Wars Rebels.
"From the sound of things, we’re going to see Thrawn as the tactical genius of capital starship warfare he was to Expanded Universe readers in the ’90s. However, this time he will be using his evil brand of genius against the the heroes of the starship Ghost."
If Thrawn is to make an appearance, Jason Ward of Making Star Wars thinks he’ll do it in season three, which will premiere in the fall of 2016.
Another prediction for season three is a new look for Ezra Bridger, the Jedi in training aboard The Ghost.
"The future of Star Wars Rebels will also feature an Ezra with a short haircut and a lightsaber similar to Obi-Wan’s/Luke’s second saber. It sounds like the timeline moves a lot closer to A New Hope and Ezra’s design will reflect that."
Ward is pretty certain the Thrawn rumor is true. He’s been right on a lot of things concerning both Star Wars Rebels and the Star Wars movies, most notably The Force Awakens (the site is called “Making Star Wars,” after all). So when he says, “I believe this is likely happening,” I tend to believe it, too.
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And not just because, as he says in his article, it’s the first good rumor about Thrawn becoming canon he’s heard yet. Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of my favorite characters, a Sherlockian mind who poses a legitimate threat to the New Republic in the Legends universe without using the Force. The way he is able to analyze battle formations and enemy tactics through his affinity and knowledge of art adds a level of novelty to his character unmatched by any other Star Wars villain I’ve seen or read.
This move to Star Wars Rebels, if it’s actually happening, isn’t necessarily unprecedented, however. In the epilogue of the canon novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, which takes place following the events of Return of the Jedi, an unnamed Imperial officer is characterized in a way suspiciously similar to the Thrawn of old. The appearance of the admiral on Rebels, then, may offer some of Thrawn’s backstory after the sequel to Aftermath, Life Debt, debuts in July.
This all hinges on, of course, the Imperial officer being Thrawn, and the Star Wars Rebels rumor being true. Both of those things, I hope, will soon be revealed to be so.