With rumors escalating of Grand Admiral Thrawn coming to Star Wars Rebels, the question arises: Do we really want Legends characters in the new canon?
It has been long rumored Grand Admiral Thrawn would be leaping out of the pages of the Legend-status Heir to the Empire trilogy and into official canon on Star Wars Rebels. Now, ever since Dave Filoni tweeted a photo of what appears to be the spine of a Legends Star Wars book, with the caption, “And remember, there’s always a bit of truth in legends,” fans have seriously begun thinking Thrawn’s canonicity is all but confirmed — Update 3/15/2018. We predicted correctly that Thrawn would return.
But there are some who question the need for Legends characters to be brought into canon at all. When the entire expanse of Star Wars literature published through 2014 was categorized as “Legends” and therefore not part of the new, Story Group-controlled continuity, fans had to accept that fact that characters and stories they had come to know and love over almost thirty years was no longer what really happened in-universe.
Mara Jade was, as far as we knew, no longer Luke’s wife, Leia and Han no longer had three children, the Yuuzhan Vong were not invading the galaxy, and Grand Admiral Thrawn might never even have existed.
This period of transitioning to a new way of thinking of what was canon and what wasn’t was a sad time, but a regulated continuity where every piece of Star Wars literature and every video game storyline is indisputably true, meaning it actually happened in the galaxy far, far away, has turned into a great success.
New stories have paved the way for both old and new generations to enjoy Star Wars in a different way, with new characters and places and events to learn about and come to love. Meanwhile, the Legends can be seen as an alternate universe where all your old friends still exist and you can return to anytime; we just won’t see any of it on-screen.