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The article below on Star Wars Rebels may contain spoilers from the upcoming season–read on at your own risk. Please do not openly discuss these rumors on social media as to not spoil the moment for anyone that wants to remain spoiler-free.
I know this one is going make some people heavily doubt the accuracy of the report, but the Expanded Universe is making its way back in to the canon of Star Wars. There is some truth to legends and I think we’re about to learn that truth for one classic Star Wars character. I have reason to believe this rumor has serious legs.
I have heard that in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels we will be introduced to none other than the original blue guy himself, Grand Admiral Thrawn from Heir to the Empire. From the sound of things, we’re going to see Thrawn as the tactical genius of capital starship warfare he was to Expanded Universe readers in the ’90s. However, this time he will be using his evil brand of genius against the the heroes of the starship Ghost.
The future of Star Wars Rebels will also feature an Ezra with a short haircut and a lightsaber similar to Obi-Wan’s/Luke’s second saber. It sounds like the timeline moves a lot closer to A New Hope and Ezra’s design will reflect that.
The introduction of the character opens up a lot of classic ideas and moments from the Expanded Universe to permeate into the post-Return of the Jedi canon. Thrawn may still return with his fleet to one day menace the fledging New Republic. I think with the sophisticated and well-cultivated backdrop the writers have given the canon post-Return of the Jedi climate, that story can now be told in a way that seems possible and yet is still not all about the resurgence of the Empire itself. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll inspire the First Order to get serious? I see this as an opportunity to please fans new and old by marrying aspects of the new canon with the old.
In all of my time writing about Star Wars this is the first time I have ever had anything halfway credible about Thrawn and a new life for the character come my way. I believe this is likely happening but until it does, consider it rumor, but a rumor with some weight to it.