Richard E. Grant addresses Grand Admiral Thrawn Star Wars rumors


There has been widespread speculation among Star Wars fans Richard E. Grant will portray Grand Admiral Thrawn. He has now addressed these rumors. What do his comments mean for the future of the character?

Actor Richard E. Grant has been confirmed for Star Wars: Episode IX, but details regarding the character he will be portraying have not been revealed. Given the importance of the final Skywalker saga film, production is understandably locked down and sealed tight.

This doesn’t stop journalists and fans from asking questions, and Grant was asked regarding one particular character. It’s been speculated Grant had been cast as Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was originally created by author Timothy Zahn and recently reintroduced to canon in Star Wars Rebels.

But in an interview with Radio Times, Grant stated he is not playing him.

"“I’m not playing the Star Wars character you just mentioned,” Grant tells Radio Times when asked how he’s preparing for the role of Thrawn.“I’m not allowed to tell you anything. Otherwise I would be fired.“It’s a complete lockdown on any information whatsoever,” he concluded."

This understandably let some people down. Grant would likely portray the Chiss tactician very well. But just because Grant said this, does that mean the character is out of Episode IX?

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We know Episode IX is going to wrap up the entire Skywalker saga. This means it’s not only going to serve as a conclusion to the sequel trilogy, but it’s going to serve as a bookend for the prequel and original trilogies, as well.

The closest connection Thrawn has at this point is when he crossed paths with the Rebel Alliance in the television series.

On the one hand, it would seem like a stretch to introduce Thrawn in Episode IX. He is popular among the hardcore fans who have read the books and watched the animated series. To the casual moviegoer, he’s not as well known.

Introducing Thrawn in a massive conclusion creates more questions than answers. He would have made more sense in The Force Awakens or even The Last Jedi.

This is still not to say Thrawn might not show up, as the possibility will always remain. There’s the possibility Grant is trying to perserve the surprise and divert fans. It wouldn’t be the first time an actor has done this.

It’s also possible a different actor is portraying Thrawn.

But the Maul surprise at the end of Solo probably serves as the best evidence why this doesn’t work. Again, while the hardcore fans know he survived, the casual moviegoer last saw Maul getting cut in half and falling down a shaft presumably to his death.

It’s a great twist, but can be confusing for some.

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The Thrawn storyline is left wide open. He survived the Star Wars Rebels conclusion, but decades separate the show from Episode IX. We undoubtedly have not seen the last of the Grand Admiral.

But on this note, we’re more likely to see him in future novels and comics. If we are to see him in a movie, it’ll be one of the projects outside of the Skywalker saga.

Episode IX is likely going to do more to wrap up the characters we already know in the main series, rather than introduce new major ones.

Star Wars: Episode IX premieres in December 2019.