What We Know About The Canon Thrawn Novel By Timothy Zahn


At Star Wars Celebration Europe, it was announced Legends character Grand Admiral Thrawn will be getting his own canon novel. The novel’s author, Timothy Zahn, shed some light on what we can expect from it.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is stepping out of the pages of the Heir to the Empire trilogy, now classified as Legends, and into his own canon novel in April 2017. The novel’s announcement came after Thrawn’s on-screen introduction to canon in the trailer for Star Wars Rebels season three.

Thrawn’s canon novel will be written by his original creator, also the author of the Heir to the Empire books in which Thrawn first appeared, Timothy Zahn. Zahn spoke with Lucasfilm about writing Thrawn a new, Story Group-approved story, and through the interview we learned what we can expect from this fresh venture (via StarWars.com).

First, we learned Zahn is writing a part of Thrawn’s story he’s never explored before. That’s significant because Zahn has written a lot of (now Legends) tales of Thrawn, but even so he’s treading entirely new territory for this new novel.

Zahn also said the events in the story will take place across several years in the Star Wars universe, “beginning with his first encounter with the Empire and ending just before the opening of Rebels season 3.” In the part of Thrawn’s original history established in Legends books, the Admiral was a leader in the navy of his species, the Chiss, before he was recruited by Emperor Palpatine to serve in the Imperial navy. There has been no mention of the Chiss before Thrawn’s induction into canon this past weekend, however, so how much of that part of his past will be preserved remains to be seen. Thrawn may be getting an entirely new background.

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There will be Easter eggs from previous Thrawn stories scattered throughout the new novel, minor ones which should please fans of those stories. (You can already spot one Easter egg from Heir to the Empire in the Rebels season three trailer: there are two ysalmiri-like creatures hanging as wall decor behind Thrawn in a few scenes. The throwbacks in the novel may be of the same caliber: small, relatively insignificant, but exciting for those fans who know what they reference.)

Thrawn will interact with “pre-established and familiar Star Wars characters” in his book, though Zahn is leaving which ones for a surprise. Palpatine, Vader, and Tarkin are likely contenders, at least if Thrawn is as brilliant a strategist and officer as he was in his original stories; rubbing shoulders with the elite Imperials would be an effective way to establish the importance of his character in the new canon. He may also at least mention the Ghost crew from Rebels, since they are his primary target leading into season three of the series.

And of course, Zahn implied Thrawn will be using his tactical genius to throw some tricks in his enemies’ ways. Because he wouldn’t be Thrawn if he didn’t.

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That’s all what we know of the novel so far. April 2017 seems like a long time to wait for it, but Thrawn will make his appearance on Star Wars Rebels first this fall when the third season premieres on Disney XD. Keep an eye out for updates on when the first episode will debut, and we will see Thrawn soon.