Do we really want Legends characters in Star Wars Canon?

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These Hammerhead-style ships are originally from the Legends-status

Knights of the Old Republic

video game, but they recently appeared in an episode of

Star Wars Rebels


Will more Legends return?

Or will we? We’ve already gotten references to Expanded Universe content in some of the new books and shows like The Clone Wars, which remains completely canon, and Star Wars Rebels. But so far, most of those references have come in the shape of ships or planets or organizations, like Black Sun. There have been no major Legends characters brought in.

But starting this July at Star Wars Celebration Europe, we may see a change in that limited policy with the reintroduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a popular Imperial character who made his debut in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy in 1991 — Update. And we he was introduced. Should more follow in his footsteps? 

Thrawn is in a unique position as a Legends character, being both a fan favorite and yet lacking a strong enough association with his time and place that his story can’t be altered slightly to fit in the new canon. Unlike Mara Jade or the Solo children, he is neither related to nor does he have a strong relationship with any of the Big Three, (Luke, Leia, and Han) which might cause fans to feel his character had been violated if he didn’t have such a history with them in the canon setting.

Blue-skinned with glowing red eyes, the Chiss was a brilliant strategist and commander who rallied the remaining Imperial forces post-Return of the Jedi to try and reclaim the galaxy from the New Republic. Previously, he had actually been an officer with the Empire for many years, but got little attention because his ship was sent to patrol the Unknown Regions.

That little piece of his history could work well for an encounter with the rebels of Star Wars Rebels if they’re out exploring that area, or it could be changed to bring him into known space to defeat them with his genius mind. No matter how you altered his history with the Empire, however, as long as the character Zahn created remains intact, there is little to be unhappy with him being given new life in the canon.

Except, there is the possibility that he will feel different. And there is the possibility that some people will feel cheated, either because of how inaccurately or regardless of how he is represented in Star Wars Rebels or any other medium.

The questions could arise: if you can take one Legends character and make him or her canon, why can’t you do that with the entire roster of Legends characters? Why can’t you do that with all the Legends stories? And if the Story Group liked Thrawn so much, why didn’t they keep his entire story canon in the first place?