Dave Filoni confirms Thrawn is the baddie of The Mandalorian era

Scene from Lucasfilm's AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Scene from Lucasfilm's AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The Mandoverse is just beginning to heat up. The Mandalorian season 1 set the stage back in 2019 and was followed up by two more seasons, The Book Of Boba Fett, and the upcoming Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew. All these shows are connected and will culminate in a a crossover, era defining event. The Mandalorian is set in the post Return of the Jedi era, five years after the fall of the Empire.

The Imperial Remnant is out there, and we got a good look at what that means in The Mandalorian Season 3’s penultimate episode, when Moff Gideon was shown speaking to members of “The Shadow Council.” The Empire is now operating very similarly to the way the Rebel Alliance did, in the very early stages of the Rebellion. That’s exactly where Dave Filoni comes in. Filoni is also directing a film set in The Mandalorian era which will be about the the crossover event that occurs when events in the Mandoverse align.

He still has to keep details regarding the plot of the film under wraps, understandably, as the project probably won’t hit theaters for a couple of years, at the earliest. However, while speaking to Empire Magazine for a yet to be released issue, Filoni explained the important role Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) will be playing in this era. He was asked if Thrawn is the baddie of this era and he said:

"“Definitely, in my eyes. When Timothy Zahn wrote Heir to the Empire, Thrawn became this very iconic villain because he was very different than anything we’d seen before. He wasn’t another helmet wearing, lightsaber wielding bad guy, you know? There’s a lot of pull to make characters like Vader because it’s so iconic. But the boldness that Tim had was to make somebody that wasn’t like that, that didn’t have those abilities, but could fight in a different way. In the words Star Wars, war is a part of it, him being a Grand Admiral, a leader, a military strategist, a Moriarty archetype, someone that will out-think you, out-strategise you – that really resonated. He’s a critical player in this time period. We’re fortunate to have that character and fortunate enough to have Lars [Mikkelsen] playing him.”"

A lot of this has already been hinted at. Thrawn was first mentioned in live action during Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, followed by Season 3 and finally the Ahsoka trailer not only drops mentions of his name, but Ahsoka refers to him as the “Heir to the Empire”. We also get a glimpse of the Admiral with his back turned to the camera.

Obviously, Ahsoka will go into greater detail about where Thrawn is and what he’s planning, but the character is far more than a mustache twirling, purely evil character. He’s smart, tactical and clever. Dave Filoni has consulted Timothy Zahn, the writer who created Thrawn, and so his depiction in live action should be very intriguing, especially since Lars Mikkelsen who voiced the character in Star Wars Rebels will not portray him on screen as well.

We can expect to see Thrawn in live action during Ahsoka. It premieres this August on Disney+.