Meet Thrawn, the Military strategist who climbed the Empire Ranks

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. /

With Ashoka releasing soon some new coming Star Wars fans may not know who some of the new characters are. But have no fear, we are here to help! Up first is Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Kicking off a new series on Dork Side of the Force we have Thrawn, a military strategist who climbed the ranks of the Empire with cunning military force and smart battle tactics. Thrawn’s leadership style is different than Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine in that he is empathetic and is open to suggestions. However, on the flip side, he is a ruthless military leader who seeks only power and domination through Naval power.

Who is Thrawn?

His official name is Mitth’raw’nuruodo, but we know him as Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn is from the planet Rentor and was part of the Chiss Ascendancy. In his early days, Thrawn was regarded as one of the best military strategists around and used his talents against opposing forces. Known as the Expansionary Defense Force, this force sought to defend Chiss on the Planet Rentor and the interests beyond their boarders. A peaceful, yet powerful force, they sought only defensive measures but after the outbreak of the Clone Wars with the rise of Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) breaking out, Thrawn had to make a choice on where to fight.

The Chiss Ascendancy didn’t have the tools for an all out defense of the planet but only skirmish outbreaks above and on the planet. Despite the power technology they had, the only downfall was the lack of production and natural resources on the planet. Thrawn, a then young man, felt it was necessary to leave his home planet in search of allies after he fought against a group of pirates which saw his brother, Thrass, dying in battle.

After this, Thrawn sought for help while the Grysk Hegeemony, an evil species know for bending the minds of their enemies to their will, was attacking his home planet. At this point, Thrawn meets up with Anakin. about 20 years before the Battle of Yavin. Him and Anakin stop a plot to take over their planet from a Nikardun general named Yiv who was being manipulated by Grysk into intimidating nearby planets. Eventually, this battle was known as “Thrawn’s Last Stand” and cemented him as one of the best military generals in the galaxy.

Thrawn’s rise in the Galactic Empire.

Thrawn’s number 1 reason for his motivation is to save his people and protect his planet at all cost. After seeing the power of the Galactic Republic and the weapons and manufacturing capabilities they have, he gave his allegiance to Emperor Palpatine after Order 66 was issues and it officially became the Galactic Empire. In doing so, Thrawn sealed the fate of his home planet under the protection of the Empire and the military might they had. Still, at this time he was a junior officer but the Emperor saw protentional in him and sent him to the Empire Naval Academy.

After a few battles, Palpatine saw the potential in him and gave him the Rank of Grand Admiral, third in Command behind him and Darth Vader. Call him and Vader the Empires “greatest assests,” Thrawn became known as the the cunning general amongst the ranks but his greatest asset is his ability to listen.

Although the Galactic Empire is know for leading through fear and brutality, but in that world, Thrawn lead with humility and empathy sometimes even taking direction from his inferiors. Thrawn, having worked with Anakin before, also worked with Darth Vader during the First Legion battles where Thrawn saved a few force sensitive Chiss girls would would later become Inquisitors as well. However, Thrawn would eventually meet his “demise” as his flag ship was pulled into Hyperspace and he disappeared never to be seen again.

Where does Ashoka take place in Thrawn’s life?

Ashoka is taking place in the in the New Republic era roughly about 5 years after the fall of the Republic so we can assume that Thrawn has just been promoted to Grand Admiral as the Galactic Naval Academy is only 18 months long.

If you want to learn more about Thrawn before Ashoka, you can find the following:

Star Wars: Rebels

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Timothy Zhan’s novel Trilogy Thrawn

Bounty Hunter Comics

Darth Vader Comics