Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn? Everything You Need To Know Before Streaming Ahsoka

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka

Grand Admiral Thrawn will appear in the Star Wars spin-off series Ahsoka, which premiered on August 22, exclusively on Disney+. Lars Mikkelsen, who voiced Thrawn in the Star Wars Rebels animated series, will play the live-action version of the character in the show. The story takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi while serving as a continuation of Rebels.

Thrawn First Appeared In A Star Wars Novel

Grand Admiral Thrawn screenshot
Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Disney+ series Ahsoka

Grand Admiral Thrawn is known for being one of the most intelligent and strategic minds in the Star Wars galaxy. Created by author Timothy Zahn, the character first appeared in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now known as Legends) novel Heir to the Empire, published in 1991. Thrawn’s popularity led to his reintroduction into the official Star Wars canon in later years.

Thrawn is a Chiss, a blue-skinned humanoid species from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. In the original Expanded Universe (Legends) continuity, his story begins after the events of Return of the Jedi, where he emerges as a brilliant tactician and strategist, revered by his subordinates and feared by his enemies.

Thrawn’s approach to warfare is distinct from other Imperial commanders, and he often employs unconventional tactics to achieve victory. Thrawn’s most prominent appearance is in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, which includes the novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. 

In this trilogy, Grand Admiral Thrawn wants to restore the fallen Galactic Empire to its former glory after the death of Emperor Palpatine. He employs his strategic prowess and enlists the help of his bodyguard, Rukh, and the dark Jedi Joruus C’baoth. Thrawn’s campaigns against the New Republic pose a significant threat, and his efforts play a pivotal role in shaping the post-Return of the Jedi galaxy.

Thrawn In Star Wars Rebels

Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and reset the Star Wars canon, Grand Admiral Thrawn was reintroduced in the official continuity through Star Wars Rebels, which takes place a few years before the events of A New Hope. Thrawn serves as the main antagonist in the show’s third and fourth seasons and is portrayed as a brilliant strategist brought in to deal with the growing Rebel threat.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is tasked with defeating the Ghost Crew, a group of rebels operating against the Empire. His character remains consistent with his Legends counterpart, utilizing his knowledge of art and culture to gain insight into his enemies’ actions. Rebels also delves into Thrawn’s background and unique perspective on the Force despite not being a Force user himself.

Following his appearances in Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn’s story continued in a series of canon novels by Timothy Zahn, starting with Thrawn in 2017. This was followed by Thrawn: Alliances in 2018 and Thrawn: Treason in 2019. These novels delve into his past and explore his role within the Empire.

Grand Admiral Thrawn In Ahsoka

Lars Mikkelsen as Thrawn in Ahsoka

Ahsoka will continue Grand Admiral Thrawn’s story from Rebels, where he was last seen being taken away by the space whales with Ezra Bridger. The series, developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, will explore Ahsoka Tano’s (Rosario Dawson) search for Ezra and her confrontation with Thrawn, who is rumored to have returned.

Ahsoka Tano was created for the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and made her debut in live-action during The Mandalorian season two. Filming began in early May 2022, with Lars Mikkelsen’s casting as Grand Admiral Thrawn announced in April 2023. The first two installments of the eight-episode series debuted on Disney+ on August 22. The series will conclude its run on October 3.

Rotten Tomatoes has critic evaluations for Ahsoka. The series currently holds a 93 percent score on the platform. Several reviewers have applauded the show for returning to the grandeur that is characteristic of the Star Wars franchise. Judge for yourself by streaming it on Disney+.