When it comes to the movies in the Star Wars universe there is no doubt who the big baddie is, but when it comes to the Star Wars novels a blue skinned Grand Admiral is right up there.
For those of you who are not familiar with Thrawn he was introduced in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, set after Return of the Jedi, but after Disney bought Lucasfilm the Thrawn Trilogy books were no longer considered part of the expanded universe.
Thrawn however officially became a part of Star Wars cannon when he was added as the main villain for the third season of the animated television show, Star Wars: Rebels. Fortunately for hardcore Star Wars fans such as my self a new novel is coming to a book store near you that will reintroduce us to Thrawn’s new back story. The new book is set before Star Wars: A New Hope and his rise to power within the Empire.
“Most of the Imperial leaders we see in the movies rule through a combination of fear and manipulation. I wanted to create something different: a commander who could lead through loyalty. The result was Thrawn, a tactical genius whose troops follow him willingly, and who will fight for him whether or not he’s watching over their shoulders.” Said Zahn. “I get to show how he’s treated by his fellow officers and shipmates on his way up the military ladder, particularly when he’s not in a command position over them.”
The excerpt below reveals that Thrawn actually knew Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars, before he became Darth Vader.
Star Wars: Thrawn from author Timothy Zahn hits book stores on April 11, 2017
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Star Wars: Thrawn
It was probably only five seconds. But to Eli it felt like a medium-sized eternity. The entire throne room was utterly still, utterly silent. The only sound was the thudding of his pulse in his ears, the only movement the shaking of his arms in his sleeves.
“Captain Parck,” the Emperor said at last, his gravelly voice neutral. “I’m told you bring me a gift.”
Eli winced. A gift? For the Chiss of the stories, that would have been a deadly insult. Thrawn was behind him, and he didn’t dare turn around, but he could imagine the expression on that proud face.
“I do, Your Majesty,” Parck said, bowing low. “A warrior reportedly of a race known as the Chiss.”
“Indeed,” the Emperor said, his voice going even dryer. “And what, pray tell, would you have me do with him?”
“If I may, Your Majesty,” Thrawn spoke up before Parck could answer. “I am not merely a gift. I am also a resource. One you have never seen the like of before, and may never see again. You would do well to utilize me.”
“Would I?” the Emperor said, sounding amused. “Certainly you’re a resource of unlimited confidence. What exactly do you offer, Chiss?”
“As a start, I offer information,” Thrawn said. If he was offended, Eli couldn’t hear it in his voice. “There are threats lurking in the Unknown Regions, threats that will someday find your Empire. I am familiar with many of them.”
“I will learn of them soon enough on my own,” the Emperor countered placidly. “Can you offer anything more?”
“Perhaps you will learn of them in time to defeat them,” Thrawn said. “Perhaps you will not. What more do I offer? I offer my military skill. You could utilize that skill in making plans to seek out and eliminate these dangers.”
“These threats you speak of,” the Emperor said. “I presume they’re not simply threats to my Empire?”
“No, Your Majesty,” Thrawn said. “They are also threats to my people.”
“And you seek to eliminate all such threats to your people?”
The Emperor’s yellowish eyes seemed to glitter. “And you wish the help of my Empire?”
“Your assistance would be welcome.”
“You wish me to assist people who exiled you?” the Emperor said. “Or was Captain Parck incorrect?”
“He spoke correctly,” Thrawn said. “I was indeed exiled.”
“Yet you still seek to protect them. Why?”
“Because they are my people.”
“And if they withhold their gratitude and refuse to accept you back? What then?”
There was a slight pause, and Eli had the eerie sense that Thrawn was giving the Emperor one of those small smiles he was so good at. “I do not need their permission to protect them, Your Majesty. Nor do I expect their thanks.”
“I’ve seen others with your sense of nobility,” the Emperor said. “Most fell by the wayside when their naïve selflessness collided with the real world.”
“I have faced the real world, as you call it.”
“You have indeed,” the Emperor said. “What exactly do you wish from my Empire?”
“A state of mutual gain,” Thrawn said. “I offer my knowledge and skill to you now in exchange for your consideration to my people in the future.”
“And when that future comes, what if I refuse to grant that consideration?”
“Then I will have gambled and lost,” Thrawn said calmly. “But I have until that time to convince you that my goals and yours do indeed coincide.”
“Interesting,” the Emperor murmured. “Tell me. If you served the Empire, yet a threat arose against your people, where would your loyalties lie? Which of us would command your allegiance?”
“I see no conflict in the sharing of information.”
“I’m not speaking of information,” the Emperor said. “I’m speaking of service.”
There was a short pause. “If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”
“What guarantee do you offer?”
“My word is my guarantee,” Thrawn said. “Perhaps your servant can speak to the strength of that vow.”
“My servant?” the Emperor asked, his eyes flicking to Parck.
“I do not refer to Captain Parck,” Thrawn said. “I speak of another. Perhaps I assumed incorrectly that he was your servant. Yet, he always spoke highly of Chancellor Palpatine.”
The Emperor leaned forward a little, his yellowish eyes glittering. “And his name?”
“Skywalker,” Thrawn said. “Anakin Skywalker.”
Categories: Star Wars