If you’ve seen the 2018 animated series Star Wars: Rebels, you’re no stranger to the tactical genius of Grand Admiral Thrawn. But few actually watched that show, which probably means you’re confused by everything happening in Ahsoka. We’ll solve that here in one short and easy-to-understand explanation.
As established in Rebels, Thrawn is a mastermind commander, earning his reputation as one of the Empire’s most deadly strategists. But even the best-laid plans can go astray, and that’s exactly what happens in the Rebels series finale, “Family Reunion – and Farewell.”
How Grand Admiral Thrawn Ended Up Trapped In Another Galaxy
Thrawn is at the apex of his career in Star Wars: Rebels, commanding an all-out assault on Lothal, a key Rebel stronghold. The Galactic Empire’s firepower is overwhelming, and Thrawn manages to capture the series’ hero Jedi Ezra Bridger, effectively turning the tables on the Rebels. He takes Ezra aboard the Star Destroyer Chimaera, confident that victory is moments away.
However, when Thrawn thinks his chessboard is perfectly set, Ezra flips the table. The young Jedi reaches into the Force and summons a pack of purrgil—those massive, space-faring creatures most people thought were nothing more than galactic roadkill.
These beasts attach themselves to the Chimaera, essentially paralyzing the massive Star Destroyer. Thrawn is caught off guard, a rare occurrence for a man who thrives on anticipating his enemy’s every move.
In a stunning moment of poetic justice, Ezra immobilizes Thrawn using the Force. While bound, Ezra informs the Grand Admiral that they are about to embark on a one-way trip to a place where the Empire can’t inflict any more damage. Just like that, the purrgil initiate their hyperspace capabilities, whisking Thrawn and Ezra into the great unknown.
This sequence is not just a shocker but a thematic reversal of everything Thrawn represents. A man who’s spent his career dissecting his enemies through logic and analysis finds himself undone by the unpredictable and the inexplicable.
It’s a narrative flip that few saw coming, and it leaves Thrawn in a state we’d rarely witnessed him in before: vulnerable and defeated.
Thrawn’s Disheveled Appearance In Ahsoka
When we see Thrawn on Star Wars: Ahsoka, it’s been a long time since the events of Star Wars: Rebels. He’s been forced to fend for himself in an entirely hostile Galaxy with no help and no support.
As a result, both Thrawn’s troops and his Star Destroyer look worn and depleted. Who knows what battles they’ve fought in the years between?
What we do know is that Thrawn has formed an alliance with the witches of Dathomir, and they are nothing but trouble.
What Is Dathomir?
In Ahsoka we learn that both Thrawn and Bridger ended up in another galaxy with the witches of Dathomir. Dathomir isn’t your average vacation spot in the Star Wars galaxy; think less sandy beaches, more twisted forests and dark mysticism. Home to the force-sensitive Nightsisters and Nightbrothers, Dathomir oozes dark Force energy like it’s going out of style.
Fans of the darker corners of Star Wars lore will recognize Dathomir from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. It’s also the stomping ground for iconic characters like Darth Maul and Asajj Ventress. Gamers, too, can traverse its perilous landscapes in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Essentially, Dathomir is the go-to locale for anyone craving a deep dive into the dark side in the Star Wars universe and has often figured into the stories told in both the extended universe and in the franchise’s animated shows.
The Origins Of Grand Admiral Thrawn
Thrawn has actually been around the Star Wars universe since the early 90s. The character was first created by Timothy Zahn for the franchise-changing “Heir to the Empire” novels. To find out more about Thrawn and his origins, visit our Grand Admiral Thrawn guide.