Thrawn Will Return
“Now tell me, where is your master? Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?
It didn’t even matter in that moment that those words were spoken by Ahsoka Tano in a live action Star Wars, all that mattered was name, Thrawn.
Mitth'raw'nuruodo, or Grand Admiral Thrawn as he is more commonly referred to, is one of the most interesting characters in all of Star Wars canon. His unending intelligence mixed with that love of the theatrics are truly incomparable in a galaxy far, far away. This being the case, it was only a matter of time until Thrawn started to creep his way into a more mainstream role.
The recent Disney investors announcements, while not obviously referring to the character, still brought up more than enough content to create further speculation. The Ahsoka show being set in the time period of The Mandalorian is a huge indicator here, especially when it is noted that Dave Filoni is the one writing the show.
Shortly after the episode aired though, Timothy Zahn, the creator of Thrawn stated that he does now know what the future direction of the character is, but he did also say, “One thing I do know: good writers, producers, directors don't drop a bombshell like that without some kind of follow-up somewhere down the line.”
With Filoni having written and directed Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian and writing and producing the Ahsoka series, it seems as if he certainly did have a plan in mind and Thrawn will have some part in the show. This begs the question though, is Thrawn’s role much more important than we think?
Along with the announcements of the projects themselves, it was also revealed at the investors meeting that Rangers of the Republic and Ahsoka would lead up to a climax along with The Mandalorian (it seems the Book of Boba will contribute to that as well in some way although there is not a lot of confirmed information there).
This may be sounding a bit like an evidence board from an old black and white detective thriller movie, but in the end those crazy walls weren’t that crazy after all. This may be part of Lucasfilms strategy afterall. The play of needing to connect the dots, piece things together like a puzzle, not only is it engaging for fans but is an easy way to keep people subscribed to Disney+ longer.
If all four of these shows are connected and likely being released all at different times, it will force fans who want to keep up subscribed for a longer period of time. It is certainly a FOMO (fear of missing out) tactic, but with it all building up to one climactic event, it will be like nothing we have ever seen in Star Wars.
Depending on how exactly these other shows play out, it seems likely that the final climax of the Mandalorian story will revolve around Thrawn in some way. At, the very least he will be playing a part in the conflict that will bring each of these stories together.
Thrawn playing a major role in the aftermath of the events of the original trilogy is not unlike what takes place in Legends as well, which as we have seen has had a heavy impact on The Mandalorian. With his introduction being in the novel Heir to the Empire, which takes place in 9ABY, Thrawn is no stranger to going up against the newly restored Republic.
The universe is much different now though, even with the Legends components that have been used in The Mandalorian, a direct copy and paste of Heir to the Empire would not work in the current canon. Changes would have to be made, new action would have to take place, the story may be based on Thrawn’s original story, but it could not be the same.
All of this is mere speculation however, as mentioned earlier, it is nothing more than an evidence board stretched thin, but Thrawn’s return feels inevitable at this point. The epic finale of Star Wars Rebels left both Thrawn and Ezra’s futures ambiguous, now could very well be the time those stories are finally continued.
This does bring up the question of where Ezra is as well though. The timeline is not entirely clear, Filoni teased that the Rebels epilogue may or may not take place after the events of chapter 13 of The Mandlaorian. There are many questions still to be answered, that much is clear, but no matter how this turns out, Thrawn will certainly be coming back, ready to create more trouble for the heroes.