The early chapters of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s canon Star Wars story are here in Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, now available in hardback and e-book formats.
The canon story of popular Legends character Thrawn is finally here! This new book, written by the character’s original creator, Timothy Zahn, tells how the Grand Admiral came into the Empire’s service. The events in the book lead up to season 3 of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, where Thrawn first made his canon debut in fall 2017.
In 2014, Del Rey announced that all of the Star Wars books written prior to their new books debuting that fall were “non-canon,” or Legends. Legends-status stories are subject to alteration or outright negation depending on whether or not they fit in the Lucasfilm Story Group’s storytelling plans. This means that for two years, it was unknown whether Thrawn was actually a canon character or if he would forever remain in Legends limbo.
Then, at Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016, Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni announced Thrawn as the big villain for the series’ third season. To complement the Chiss’s introduction into canon, Filoni announced a new book about Thrawn written by Timothy Zahn, with a release year of 2017.
Now, after nearly a year of waiting, Thrawn has arrived. Again.
Read the book’s synopsis, which originally appeared on the official Penguin Random House website in February:
"One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire, through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising,The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral—and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy."
The Grand Admiral is one of my favorite characters in Legends. Naturally, Filoni announced he would appear in Rebels. It was a risky move for Lucasfilm; it can’t be easy reintroducing a character whom fans have known and loved for decades. Any alteration to his personality would have been seen as a betrayal by Legends readers. But I am happy to report that Thrawn is no less cunning, intellectual or blue in his recent reincarnation. He’s the same character. Now it only remains to be seen how much his life story has changed. Hopefully, we will discover that in the Thrawn book.