New Cover Art For The Non-Canon Thrawn Trilogy Coming Soon


Del Rey is rereleasing the Star Wars: Heir to the Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn in paperback this fall, with brand new cover art by Rich Kelly.

In celebration of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s liberation from Legends status – thanks to Star Wars Rebels and an upcoming, canon standalone novelDel Rey is rereleasing the Legends Heir to the Empire trilogy with all-new cover art by Rich Kelly.

via Star Wars Books

The Heir to the Empire trilogy explores the lives of Han, Luke, and Leia after the downfall of the Empire. The trilogy was written, by science fiction author Timothy Zahn, in the interim between the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983 and the debut of The Phantom Menace in 1999.

via Star Wars Books

via Star Wars Books

During those couple of decades, there was no official Star Wars canon apart from the films. George Lucas wasn’t interested in creating a literary continuity. Consequently, authors were free to do pretty much whatever they wanted in their storytelling. Fortunately, Zahn was not overwhelmed by this power. He wrote a solid, engaging story and brand new characters, who felt as born to the Star Wars universe as if Lucas himself had written them. And fans loved them.

The truth is that Zahn set the foundation for what would become the unofficial “official” canon of Star Wars. For years, the stories following the events of Heir to the Empire were all fans knew of life in the galaxy far, far away after Return of the Jedi. Reading books and comics and comics became the only way for fans to continue living in the Star Wars universe beyond the original films.

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It’s no wonder some fans were upset when all these stories were categorized as “Legends.” After this renaming, a new continuity was born. From the fall of 2014 on, every piece of Star Wars literature (except satires or humorous children’s stories) was certified “canon” by a Story Group at Lucasfilm. No longer would there be any contradictions between authors. No longer would there be any ridiculous story lines totally divorced from the spirit and story of the original films. Star Wars books would now be important within the grand scheme of the saga, instead of being regarded as the distant, weird cousins of the films.

But what people often miss about the point of the title “Legends,” is legends usually have some truth to them. Some great things came out of the old stories from Zahn, Michael Stackpole, Aaron Allston, and the rest. The Story Group would be foolish to throw all that good storytelling away without learning from it, and using parts of it when appropriate.

That’s why Grand Admiral Thrawn, who first appeared in Heir to the Empire, becoming a part of the Story Group-approved canon is a big deal. Lucasfilm realizes how beloved Thrawn is. They also realize how awesome he is as a villain. It is the quality of his character and his original story, perhaps, which prompted Del Rey to rerelease the trilogy he first appeared in. Lucasfilm doesn’t want us to forget the Legends stories, or else they wouldn’t let Del Rey reprint any of them. Rather, they want us to celebrate the rich history of Thrawn’s character.

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You can relive where Thrawn’s story began with Heir to the Empire, the first book in the informally dubbed “Thrawn trilogy.” The entire trilogy with its gorgeous new cover art will be released beginning this fall.