Photo credit: Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances, Image acquired from Penguin Random House
3: Grand Admiral Thrawn – Star Wars: Heir to the Empire
Introduced at the same time as Mara Jade in Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Heir to the Empire novel, Grand Admiral Thrawn, unlike Mara, has had some screen time on Star Wars already.
Popping up in the Star Wars Rebels series, this is where we got our first glimpse of how truly fearsome and effective a villain he was on-screen. And unlike all the previous villains that had gone up against our hero rebels, Thrawn was always a step ahead, ready to crush them with a force they had never seen before. Some fans consider Thrawn an even bigger villain than Vader and his portrayal on Rebels certainly showed this.
Thing is, Thrawn was first introduced in the Timothy Zahn novel which is set after the Return of the Jedi movie, where both Palpatine and Vader are now dead. Rebels is set sometime between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One.
The reason I bring this up is because the latest novel featuring Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances, focuses on the relationship between Vader and Thrawn. And pretty much the two don’t get along, as in at all.
So you have this character, who is highly loved in the fandom, considered to be on par with Vader and who doesn’t actually get on with Vader, despite being on the same side as him. Thrawn was introduced after Vader’s death, but actually connects all the way back to the earlier timeline.
There are potentially several standalone film possibilities here.
You can introduce a Thrawn stand alone film sometime after Episode VII, maybe after the story of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire.?This could then lead to connections to the newer Star Wars trilogies and maybe even lead to a Mara Jade stand alone film.
If not that, you can go back in the timeline and create a movie showing the tension between Vader and Thrawn. You get more Vader, an automatic win for Star Wars fans. Then maybe you could connect it to Rogue One, or something like that?
Or just make up a completely new story that doesn’t connect in any way? Heck, I would still go and watch it because it is Thrawn. That alone is enough. The books detailing Thrawn have been a huge success. There is no reason the films would not be as well.