Gosh just when you think the second season of The Mandalorian can’t get any better… it does. This season has seen many legends being brought to live-action, and now we might just get Grand Admiral Thrawn on screen too.
It’s no secret that The Mandalorian is integrating the storylines of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels with the overall Star Wars lore (take notes please JJ and Rian). Take Bo-Katan Kyrze’s appearance in ‘The Heiress’, played by the character’s voice actor Katee Sackhoff, as well as Jedi Knight/Master/Whatever Ahsoka Tano in ‘The Jedi’, brought to life by Rosario Dawson as examples. And if you think that’s all The Mandalorian has to offer, wait till you hear this.
At the very end of ‘The Jedi’, Ahsoka makes a demand: “Now, tell me. Where is your Master? Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?”
It’s funny but if all you know from Star Wars are the movies, but not the books, comics or animated shows, then you won’t know the rich but complex history of the big blue guy.
The name Grand Admiral Thrawn will most likely bring a nerd-gasm to any major Star Wars fan, and if not, the name definitely rings familiar. So who is he? And what does he have to do with the events in The Mandalorian?
Mitth’raw’nuruodo, or famously known as Grand Admiral Thrawn, is a fan favourite villain who some may even argue is more popular than choke-master Darth Vader himself. The super calm, blue-skinned Chiss from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy rose through the ranks of the Imperial Navy and became the Empire’s best strategic military mind.
Unlike Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, or even Emperor Palpatine, Thrawn didn’t rule with fear. Instead, he led a very loyal army that willingly followed his every request.
First introduced in the Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire in 1991, Grand Admiral Thrawn came into the picture and inherited command of the Empire after Darth Vader tossed Emperor Palpatine down a reactor shaft. The book was the first in a trilogy that continued the story of Star Wars, post Return of the Jedi.
The books were set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi where the New Republic was finishing off the last remnants of the Empire. Despite Thrawn having a intense 30 year-long history in Star Wars canon and books, the story of Thrawn was all but erased when Disney bought Star Wars, and excised the then current batch of literature under the Legends banner – stories that can be enjoyed but no longer fit in the Disney-fied Star Wars lore.
And while Thrawn never made it to the big Disney movies, he appeared in Disney’s Star Wars: Rebels, marking one of the few examples of a Legends character who made the shift into the new canon.
In Star Wars: Rebels, Thrawn faced off with protagonist Ezra Bridger, who later attacked his fleet of ships with Purrgil – a giant tentacled creature capable of hyperspace travel. The show’s finale showed both Thrawn and Ezra Bridger aboard the ship when the Purrgil whisked it off into deep space. Ahsoka went looking for Ezra but he and Thrawn were never heard of again.
Until this mention in The Mandalorian.
Thrawn has had his past with the Mandalorians, particularly Bo-Katan and Sabrine Wren. In Star Wars: Rebels, Thrawn was suppressing an uprising led by Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren and was tasked to procure a weapon called ‘The Duchess’ that targets Mandalorian armor, superheating it and instantly vaporizing the target. The Chiss was also a lover of Mandalorian art.
Bridging the finale of Star Wars: Rebels and ‘The Jedi’ in The Mandalorian, it seems likely that Ahsoka is still on her mission of finding Ezra. And if Thrawn is expected to be alive and well, chances are, so is Ezra.
Though ‘The Jedi’ gives us very little of what we fans can expect, it is a huge hint that we might – fingers crossed – get to see Grand Admiral Thrawn live in the flesh in later episodes. That is if we’re following the logic of Ahsoka’s appearance after Bo-Katan hinted her in ‘The Heiress’.
Whilst there’s no confirmation how Thrawn’s presence is directly connected to the ongoing narrative of The Mandalorian fans have been speculating that he is the mastermind and the brains behind Moff Gideon’s pursuit of Baby Yoda.. or shall we say.. Grogu.
Guess there’s only one way to find out. Friday come quickly, please!