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Welcome to the companion guide for Grand Admiral Thrawn!

In anticipation of Thrawn’s return in the Ahsoka series on Disney+, this companion guide will help you pick and choose what you want to watch/read about Thrawn. I’ve included canon and extended universe content, which we don’t typically do for Star Wars guides. Thrawn has a very small amount of canon appearances. From what we have seen so far, it looks like Dave Filoni is incorporating some extended universe stories into the canon.

Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced by author Timothy Zahn in 1991 in Heir to the Empire and made his canon debut in season three of Star Wars: Rebels. Thrawn is an expert strategist and is constantly three steps ahead of our heroes. He studies his enemies from fighting techniques to their family traditions. He believes that to beat someone you must understand every aspect of their life.

 Thrawn’s distinct blue skin and red eyes are because he is Chiss from the planet Csilia which is in the Unknown Regions. Once he climbed ranks in the Empire he crossed paths with some familiar faces like Grand Moff Tarkin, Director Krennic, Darth Vader, and Palpatine. 

Thrawn Recommendations:

  • Thrawn (2017) / Star Wars: Thrawn (2018) #1-6
  • Thrawn: Alliances (2018)
  • Thrawn: Treason (2019)
  • Rebels (2014)
    • S3 E1-2, 5, 8, 10-11, 14, 17-19, 21-22
    • S4 E 1-15
  • Ahsoka (2023) S1 E1-8

(Strong recommendations are in bold.)

For more related to Thrawn’s books and the TV episodes, check out our other Star Wars guides, including Ahsoka and the Rebellion!

“Everything leading up to this moment has been rehearsal. The real performance is about to begin.”

live action thrawn ahsoka
Thrawn in Ahsoka (Disney+/Lucasfilm)

The Galactic Republic (Before 22 BBY)

This Legends novel is set five years before The Clone Wars. We explore Thrawn’s command in the Chiss fleet and his introduction to Lord Sidious. He makes himself invaluable with his strategic skills. Thrawn knows Sidious is Palpatine and uses that to his advantage, securing his position in the Empire.

This EU prequel novel by Timothy Zahn centered around the Outbound Flight project five years before the Clone Wars. The Outbound Flight was first mentioned in Heir to the Empire (1991). It ended up being a failed project and a dark memory in the history of the Jedi.

Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, along with fifty thousand men, women, and children board the Outbound Flight to embark on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. The mission is, of course, orchestrated by Lord Sidious who plans on it failing. What was meant to be a peaceful mission quickly turns violent once crossing over into Unkown Space. 

  • 27 BBY (Legends)
  • Outbound Flight (2006) (Legends)
thrawn outbound flight covers
Star Wars: Outbound Flight covers

The Galactic Empire (19-0 BBY)

If you pick anything from this list before August 22nd, I implore you to watch Rebels season three and four. It will be so important for Ahsoka and why it’s her mission to find Thrawn and Ezra Bridger. Not only will it help you understand her journey, but Sabine’s as well. Ahsoka is leading up to something major for the future of Star Wars I don’t think the animated shows deserve to be glossed over. Unlike the Clone Wars, there is a consistent plot and a fantastic found-family story is told.  

  • 19 BBY
  • Thrawn Ascendancy Trilogy (2020-2021)
    • Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising (2020)
    • Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good (2021)
    • Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil (2021)
  • 15 BBY – 2 BBY
  • Star Wars: Thrawn (2018) #1-6
    • Comic adaptation of the Thrawn (2017) novel
  • Thrawn Trilogy (2017-2019)
    • Parallel with Rebels seasons 3-4
    • Thrawn (2017)
    • Thrawn: Alliances (2018)
    • Thrawn: Treason (2019)
grand admiral thrawn
Thrawn in Star Wars: Rebels season 3 (Disney+/Lucasfilm)
  • 2 BBY
  • Star Wars: Rebels
    • Season 3
      • 1. Steps Into Shadow: Part I
      • 2. Steps Into Shadow: Part II
      • 5. Hera’s Heroes
      • 8. Iron Squadron
      • 10. An Inside Man
      • 11. Twin Suns
      • 14. Visions and Voices
      • 17. Through Imperial Eyes
      • 18. Secret Cargo
      • 19. Double Agent Droid
      • 21. Zero Hour: Part I
      • 22. Zero Hour: Part II
    • Season 4
      • 1. Heroes of Mandalore: Part I
      • 2. Heroes of Mandalore: Part II
      • 3. In the Name of the Rebellion: Part I
      • 4. In the Name of the Rebellion: Part II
      • 5. The Occupation
      • 6. Flight of the Defender
      • 7. Kindred
      • 8. Crawler Commandeers
      • 9. Rebel Assault
      • 10. Jedi Night
      • 11. DUME
      • 12. Wolves and a Door
      • 13. A World Between Worlds
      • 14. A Fool’s Hope
      • 15. Family Reunion – and Farewell: Part I
      • 16. Family Reunion – and Farewell: Part II
thrawn empire covers and rebels
Thrawn during the Empire era

The New Republic (5-30 ABY)

This era for Thrawn has only been explored in Legends. I had a feeling Rangers of the New Republic, which has been canceled, might have been the show to explore the unknown parts of space and possibly introduce fans to the Chiss. The show replacing it, Skeleton Crew, might be where these concepts are explored.

I find this era interesting. We are finally exploring the New Republic outside of the novels and we get to see how the galaxy is rebuilding. Filoni is clearly putting a twist on Heir to the Empire trilogy and picking through what he wants to bring into canon.  

The first book, Heir to the Empire, is set five years after Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian started during this time period as well. Making his story the perfect starting point for discovering what’s really happening in the galaxy.

  • 9 ABY
  • Ahsoka (2023) S1 E1-8
  • 9 ABY (Legends)
  • Heir to the Empire Trilogy (1991-1993) (Legends)
    • Heir to the Empire (1991)
    • Dark Force Rising (1992)
    • The Last Command (1993)
  • 19 ABY (Legends)
  • The Hand of Thrawn Duology (1997-1998)
    • Specter of the Past (1997)
    • Vision of the Future (1998)
  • 22 ABY (Legends)
  • Star Wars: Survivors Quest (2004) (Legends)
Thrawn Heir to the Empire covers
Thrawn Heir to the Empire covers

And that’s our Star Wars guide to Thrawn! Which Rebels episode is your favorite? What are your theories for Ahsoka? Let’s talk about it on social media @mycosmiccircus and follow us for more Star Wars news!

Also check out our full list of Star Wars guides here, including Ahsoka, the Rebellion, and more!

Ahsoka Tano Companion Guide

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Star Wars: Rebellion Companion Guide

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