Or maybe the more apt question is: will anyone? I’d wager of all the Legends characters, save maybe Mara Jade and Revan, none are more beloved and revered than the incomparable Grand Admiral Thrawn, so that puts a lot of pressure on anyone attempting to reinstate him into the canonical universe. Do it “wrong,” or in a way that doesn’t appeal to the masses, and the #BringBackLegends crowd will erupt into an epic hissy fit all over the internet at large, and perhaps even attempt to burn the creative behind the character at the stake during a con appearance; on the other hand, even if done well, it might be considered not “Thrawn enough,” and people will just say, “that’s not Thrawn, give us the real Thrawn!” (To which any sensible person would reply, “there is no real Thrawn,” but that’s another issue entirely…) So, there’s really no win/win option, I don’t think…it’s like momma used to say: “you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.” That said, though, I would be surprised if some version of Thrawn doesn’t show up in the near future; in fact, I’ve come up with three viable options for his reappearance…and the nominees are:
I mean, c’mon, right? C’MON! If this guy isn’t Thrawn, then he’s an elite Thrawn cosplayer (he just decided going with blue face paint was too much work). Actually, to him not being blue, I theorized back when the Rogue One trailer first arrived that the character now assumed to be the Director is actually the one in the tube that looks like frozen bacta that the cloaked figure appears to kneel before, and, further, as a side effect of the frozen bacta process, he’ll emerge with a permanent blue hue to his skin, making him all the more Thrawn-esque. Where he’ll be when he emerges, though, that’s still up in the air…will it be a deepfreeze that preserves him until he’s thawed out for Episode VIII? Will he find his way onto the pages of a yet-to-be-written novel or comic series? Could he become the antagonist in one of the upcoming Star Wars RPGs? There are literally all the options…if you put any stock in my nonsense, however (which you probably shouldn’t, but it’s damn fine speculation if I do say so myself), the the Director ends up being the mystery admiral that’s referenced in Aftermath…which brings me to viable Thrawn option number two:
The Mystery Admiral in Aftermath
I think this character, whether he ends up being the same guy as the Director or not, is the most plausible candidate to share the most Thrawn-like character traits. If the story continues to go the way it seems to be going, the mystery admiral should turn out to be the driving force behind uniting the fragmented Empire and bringing it to bear on the New Republic for one final, valiant effort before limping away into the outer reaches, finding Snoke, and reorganizing as the First Order. And, if you think about it, the Aftermath trilogy is basically the new canon’s “Thrawn trilogy,” in that it’s the first set of books that take place after Return of the Jedi. So, if the legend of Thrawn is true, this would be the most sensible place for him to resurface. What he’ll end up looking like if he resurfaces, well, that’s anyone’s guess right now, but, regardless, I certainly hope the Chiss become canon again because, as a huge fan of alien species in Star Wars, they’re one of my favorites…so human-like, yet different enough to make them unique, unlike a species like the Kiffar or Miraluka, which are nearly indistinguishable from humans. (Oh man, is Kanan a Miraluka? Nah, he just got his eyeballs lightsabered.)
Someone in Rebels season 3
I know, I’ve already said that I don’t think Thrawn is the Legends character that’s going to make an appearance in season three of Rebels, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable option…besides, the rumor game for this happening is strong, so it deserves a little tlc…anyway, the interesting question for me isn’t “if he will or if he won’t be incorporated into Rebels,” it’s “if he is, how will it be done?” Is he going to be some kind of specialist that’s brought in to deal with the Ghost crew? That doesn’t make much sense considering Vader has been more or less overseeing how they’re dealt with…bringing him in sort of implies Vader can’t handle it, so they need to call in the big guns…though, now that Ahsoka’s out of the picture (dead, yup, I went there, she’s dead), perhaps Vader’s lost interest and is sending Thrawn in to mop up and retrieve the Sith holocron. I would imagine Vader to have a more vested interest and, therefore, want to do it himself, but it stands to reason that, since his goal’s been accomplished, someone else can carry on with the grunt work. Another option is that, instead of being a Grand Admiral, he’s a high-ranking ISB Agent in charge of Kallus, and has been dispatched to take a more hands-on approach to figuring out why Kallus is always failing. That’s a little more seamless, story-wise, I think…but who knows! They’ve broken all kinds of ground with Rebels: inserting Jedi into the Rebellion era, adding the inquisitors, bringing back Maul. It’s hard to tell what’s in store for us in season three, but I certainly can’t wait to find out.
And that’s the end of that chapter…so, what do you think? How will Thrawn be thrown back into canon? Will he, or will he remain a legend forever? If he comes back, but isn’t named Thrawn and/or isn’t blue/Chiss, will you be dissatisfied? Are you a “Thrawn is a Chiss Grand Admiral” or bust kind of fan, or will you take Thrawn in any form whatsoever just so long as his essence is a part of Star Wars again? How ’bout this one: do you think he may make his triumphant return in some way other than those that I stated? If so, how do you think it’ll be done? Take a shot at any or all of those questions in the comments and we’ll keep the dialogue going; otherwise, I’ll catch you guys and gals next week!