“I have no qualms about accepting a useful idea merely because it wasn’t my own.“
Thrawn is poised to appear in both the third season of Star Wars Rebels and in a new novel named after him. The novel shall be pinned by none other than Timothy Zahn himself. The presence of Zahn and the presentation in the trailer make it seem as though Thrawn will be the Thrawn we knew at his core, but most likely with details and events varied. Indeed, Hera recognized the Admiral in the trailer, and while she’s a savvy member of the Rebellion, I think this means he may be more well known in this new universe than in Legends.
Just what does this mean for Rebels? What does this mean for the New U? What… dare I ask, does this mean for Rogue One?
For Rebels, I think Thrawn could be a very interesting long term villain. Wookieepedia states that the season 3 premiere played at Celebration Europe, and that Thrawn was indeed in that episode. Bringing him in early not only gets the season off to a powerful start but also leaves room for Thrawn to play the villain for at least that season, if not longer. Now that Agent Kallus shows signed of his heart not being three sizes too small, there is an opening for a new antagonist. The Rebellion can’t get ahead in Rebels, A New Hope sees the “first major victory against the evil GALACTIC EMPIRE”. It could be that Thrawn is just keen enough to keep the crew of the Ghost in check going forward.
For the New U at large, bringing Zahn in is a sign of good faith towards Legends. James Luceno, author of many crucial Legends stories, has already contributed to the new canon, further showing that ties to the past are not completely severed. With Zahn, maybe we will see other inventions he gave us: the noghri, ysalamari, vornskrs. …..A certain red head. It should be noted that Gilad Pellaeon was in the Clone Wars novel No Prisoners, which is not currently considered canon (in spite of it being tied to The Clone Wars series). However, it could mean that Thrawn’s favored captain is on a short list of canon resurrection. One thing is for sure, we’re going to have a lot of words with either far too many vowels or not nearly enough.
Rogue One? Well, I’m just feeling hopeful. The series will be playing around in the approximate time period of the film due out in December, with Thrawn’s novel coming a few months later. There could be room for at least a shot out akin to “Master Vos has moved his troops to Bos Pity”. But then maybe I’m just jonesing for characters in light of another villainous icon confirmed to be in the Star Wars Story….