Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episode 7, “Dreams and Madness.”
Ahsoka Episode 7, “Dreams and Madness,” had a deep-cut reveal regarding Thrawn and his past. When discussing Ahsoka Tano’s arrival, he receives a datapad from Morgan Elsbeth that contains all the information that the Imperial Inquisitorius had on her. Part of this intel revealed that she is the padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Thrawn’s demeanor and tactics immediately change with this reveal.
That’s because Thrawn personally knew Anakin and knew what the Jedi was capable of. Here’s a brief recap of how that went down over two books.
Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn is split into two stories. One takes place in the past during the Clone Wars, and the other takes place in the present during the Imperial era. It’s my personal favorite Star Wars novel, and I joked with Timothy Zahn that it’s a workplace comedy with villains.
In the past story, a young Thrawn is on a mission to collect information for his people, the Chiss. He happens upon Anakin, who is searching for his wife, Padmé Amidala, who has gone missing. Since the two men have similar goals, they decide to team up to help each other achieve what they need. Anakin left an impression on Thrawn, albeit a comedic one, as the two got in each other’s way while Padmé essentially rescues herself and them. Still, Thrawn recognized Anakin’s skills and power as a warrior.
In the first book of the new Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn (2016) also by Zahn, the titular character is exiled from the Chiss when the Empire finds him. Thrawn is brought before Emperor Palpatine and cites Anakin’s skills to get in favor of Palpatine, who now has a Darth Vader at his disposal. This is how Thrawn joins the Empire.
As previously stated, the other half of Thrawn: Alliances takes place in the present when Thrawn is teamed up with Darth Vader. Over the course of that half of the book, Thrawn figures out that the Sith Lord was his once ally, Anakin, but Thrawn keeps the secret to himself when he sees how incredibly dangerous Anakin has become. He’s one of the few people who knew the truth.
Flash forward to Ahsoka. Thrawn sees that Anakin is Ahsoka’s master and knows what Anakin became. As a master tactician, Thrawn is more than likely planning to expect anything from the once padawan. To him, Ahsoka could range from a peaceful Jedi to a wildly violent Sith Lord.
It’s critical information that gives Thrawn a lot of ammo to work with against our heroes. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the finale episode.
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