Eagle-eyed fans found Thrawn in the Star Wars: Ahsoka trailer.
While younger Star Wars fans may not remember this, the fandom wouldn’t exist as it is today without Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Trilogy” of novels in the early 1990s. His villainous Grand Admiral Thrawn quickly became a fan-favorite character, and after previously appearing in newer Star Wars continuity in Rebels, he is set to be the Big Bad of the upcoming Rosario Dawson Disney+ series Star Wars: Ahsoka. And now, as reported by We Got This Covered with all the intensity of an Imperial Probe Droid, the character, played by Lars Mikkelsen, has been spotted.
The reason this is a big deal is that the trailer goes out of its way to hint at the presence of Grand Admiral Thrawn without revealing who is playing him. So far, the character has mostly been brought to life via professional voice actors, including Marc Thompson voicing him (along with everyone else) in the recent audiobook adaptations of Timothy Zahn’s novels. Notably, the character was also voiced by Lars Mikkelsen in Star Wars: Rebels, so, it will create quite a bit of consistency between the performances.
However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that right now, the only reason anyone thinks that they spotted Mikkelsen’s Grand Admiral Thrawn is that fans have compared the back of the character’s head that we see in the trailer to the general shape of Mikkelsen’s own dome. These fans seem quite convinced that nobody else could embody that particular head shape and ear placement other than Mikkelsen, making it the first spotting of a Star Wars Legends character in live-action. However, in a world where actors like Colin Farrell can be made unrecognizable for shows like The Penguin on HBO Max, we don’t know if a vague similarity in head shape is enough for us.
Aside from learning who will play Grand Admiral Thrawn, the other big question for fans of Star Wars: Rebels is exactly how Thrawn came back. The last we saw him in that show, he and Jedi Ezra Bridger were being carried off into unknown parts of the galaxy by mysterious space creatures. The Ahsoka series seems to be a spiritual successor to Rebels, showing us live-action versions of our favorite characters (including Scott Pilgrim’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla), so we assume it will give Thrawn’s story a satisfying conclusion, including revealing Ezra’s ultimate fate.
As for us, we’re absolutely thrilled that Lars Mikkelsen is set to reprise his role as Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars: Rebels, and we’d be even happier if Ahsoka’s show adapted some of the stories from Heir to the Empire, Thrawn’s first literary appearance. Since the name of that influential book gets specifically name-checked by Ahsoka herself in reference to Thrawn taking control of the remnants of the Empire, we might finally get a proper adaptation of Zahn’s novel over three decades since it first came out. But without access to the Force, we have no way of predicting if the new show will do the fan-favorite justice, or if Mara Jade, the future Mrs. Skywalker, will also be crossing over to live-action.