Star Wars Rebels is paving for a bridge for Legends (formerly Expanded Universe) Star Wars fans at Star Wars Celebration by introducing one of the most popular villains in Thrawn.
The show will introduce Grand Admiral Thrawn as a primary villain, who will be involved similar to Darth Vader in season 2. The character was created by Timothy Zahn, who laid the groundwork for the Expanded Universe with Heir to the Empire in 1991, the first of the Thrawn Trilogy. Set five years after Return of the Jedi, Thrawn became the New Republic’s (formerly the Rebel Alliance) greatest threat picking up the remnants of the Empire following the Emperor’s defeat at the Battle of Endor.
With Disney not making Legends canon, they changed the impact Thrawn makes in their universe since Rebels takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
What makes Thrawn such an appealing and popular character is how cerebral and collected, and calculating he is. He’s a tactician at heart and one of the most brilliant minds in the Star Wars universe. I don’t suspect Disney will water Thrawn down too much given his ruthlessness, but then again Vader never forced choked anyone to death for their incompetence in season 2.
One of the most intriguing is Lars Mikkelsen is going to provide Thrawn’s voice. While I can chalk it up to coincidence, it does bear noting Lars’ brother Mads Mikkelsen is playing Galen Erso, Jyn’s father in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It could get interesting what, if anything, could develop if one ever transitions to the other. Would we see any presence of Thrawn in the Star Wars Anthology? Will we see Gelen in Rebels?
What other characters may Rebels introduce from Legends? Does this pave way for other Legends characters to make appearances in future Star Wars films? After all, Saw Gerrera, who was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is making his live action debut in Rogue One and with Forest Whitaker playing him, no less.
While Dave Filoni, creator of Clone Wars and Rebels, denied any presence of Mara Jade (Luke Skywalker’s wife and Jedi) in Rebels, I wouldn’t doubt at least a mention in passing from Luke in Episode VIII as far as any exposition about his self-imposed exile as stated in the events of The Force Awakens. I’m anticipating more Legends characters making their debut as Disney has already incorporated elements from Legends like Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens being similar to the Sun Crusher from the novels. Another Skywalker succumbing to the Dark Side with Ben Solo as opposed to Jacen.
What other Legends character do you want to make his/her debut in the current canon?