Excerpt from Timothy Zahn’s New Novel Reveals Interesting Acquaintance

Grand Admiral Thrawn had reentered the new Star Wars canon in Star Wars Rebels, but his original creator Timothy Zahn will add his new take on the character when his novel, Thrawn, is released on April 11th by Del Rey Books.


USA Today shared a short interview with Zahn and excerpt from the upcoming novel that reveals interesting connection to a major Star Wars player.



“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,” Zahn says. “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.”

While Zahn’s original Thrawn Trilogy — which began with 1991’s Heir to the Empire — took place after the Return of the Jedi film, the new book is set in the years leading up to the original 1977 Star Wars movie when the Empire is dealing with the growing Rebellion. Thrawn chronicles its title character’s rise to power within the Imperial Navy, from his arrival in space to his “unprecedented promotion” to grand admiral, Zahn says. “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 shared by the magazine is from the beginning of the novel and depicts the first encounter between Thrawn and Emperor Palpatine.

“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.”



It appears that Thrawn knew Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars before he turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader. I for one cannot wait to read the story about that encounter.


You can read the interview and the complete excerpt at USA Today website.


Thank you to our forum member @The Hud who alerted us to this story.


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Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

Jelena Bidin (LadyMusashi)

Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

54 thoughts on “Excerpt from Timothy Zahn’s New Novel Reveals Interesting Acquaintance

  • March 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I get the feeling they are building Thrawn up for a movie,possibly set after ROTJ? I could see him taking orders from Snoke who is still in the shadows.

    • March 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      I hope so. I would love to see a live-action Thrawn. It’s been my dream since the 90s.

      • March 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        Fassbender,Ralph Fiennes or Jason Issacs would be great.

        • March 2, 2017 at 5:19 pm

          I’d like them to just stick with Lars Mikkelson, he’s no stranger to acting in film after all.

          • March 2, 2017 at 5:44 pm

            Exactly. Perhaps a bit of channeling his House of Cards character..

          • March 3, 2017 at 4:00 am

            And he has perfect cheekbones for the role.

          • March 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

            For sure. When I first saw the two side by side in the stream from Celebration Europe, I instantly got the impression that the Rebels team took cues from Mikkelsen’s face when designing Thrawn.

      • March 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm


    • March 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      What gives you that feeling?

      • March 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        He’s would be a good bridge villain,and they seem to be pushing him,Rebels and this book. Can’t keep going over Vader or Maul again and again,he’s not as well known plus he already has a following.
        Just speculating.

        • March 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm

          I think Thrawn dies in the next season of Rebels.

        • March 2, 2017 at 6:12 pm

          Right. Just curious.

    • March 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      You mean like…Heir to the Empire?

      • March 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        Sorta, with Snoke.

  • March 2, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    THIS! This is what I can’t wait for! Going to be a very fun read I think, and I know Zahn will continue sculpting the character into the great tactician he’s always been!

  • March 2, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    As long as the threat from the unknown isn’t the Vong, Srri-Ruuk, or worse I am in.

  • March 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    “It appears that thrawn KNEW anakin” just letting you know :).

    • March 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm


  • March 2, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    its only a couple of sentences but i’m already hooked. zahn’s still got it.

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    This book seems too similar to Tarkin. I liked Tarkin but still.

    • March 2, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      What? How?

      • March 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

        > The book seems to be about Thrawn climbing the imperial ranks.
        > The synopsis says Thrawn will face an insurgent uprising.
        > Thrawn figures out who Vader is.

        • March 2, 2017 at 7:00 pm

          He apparently knows already.

          • March 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm


        • March 3, 2017 at 12:48 am

          both thrawn and tarkin are highly intelligent, both high ranking officers and both served during the formation of the rebellion. no surprise there is some overlap there… also you forgot that both have names that start with T! 😉

          • March 3, 2017 at 1:43 am

            I guess I’m just still salty cos they canonized Thrawn.

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I hope they don’t kill off Thrawn just yet. I’d like to see him show up post RotJ.

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    This is probably one of the best excerpts I’ve ever read for a Star Wars novel. I’m not even done Empire’s End yet and I can’t wait for Thrawn.

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Zahn is the architect of the Grand Admiral Thrawn. We must study this book.

  • March 2, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I do not feel that Zahn captured the voice of the Emperor well. He also always tries to make Thrawn the smartest/coolest person in the room no matter who else is in the room.

    • March 2, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      It’s a pretty small sample size.

      • March 5, 2017 at 6:48 pm

        That’s the world we live in. Give people 1/1000th of something and they sum the whole thing up based on that. Music, news, tv, movies, books. It’s maddening.

    • March 3, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Palpatine’s overconfidence was always his weak point.

      • March 3, 2017 at 12:33 am

        Re: “overconfidence was always his weak point
        And your faith in your Zahn is yours!

  • March 2, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Hopefully Zhan can do justice to the character again rather than the poop we have gotten in Rebels thus far.

    • March 2, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Poop happens.

    • March 2, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Bantha Poodu

  • March 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I’m very glad that they didn’t retcon everything that makes this character who he is under the Disney canon given how one dimensional the First Order characters are so far. They should also reconsider bringing back Baron Fel as well and other more fully developed Imperial characters who weren’t your standard mustache twirlers.

    • March 2, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      And as much as I like Rogue One, Even Krennic was pretty much Tarkin-Lite. I think this is mainly a Disney problem because they have similar issues with their villains in the MCU.

      • March 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

        It’s not b/c Disney doesn’t create content for Marvel or for LFL.

        • March 3, 2017 at 12:54 am

          they don’t, but it is an interesting trend for the properties they own. even disney animation which has some of the most memorable villains of all time have lost the touch lately.

          • March 3, 2017 at 1:04 am

            Re: “most memorable villains of all time ”
            I’ll second this.
            Really having a great (memorable) villain is so important & can make/break a movie.

            Many of my favourite films are my favourite due to the villain.

            R1 –
            Krennic was ‘ok’ for me, and I love Ben Medelsohn’s acting….but I would’ve preferred a more nuanced/interesting/even conflicted character. He did his best with what he had & the movie/story just focused on the main crew (already an ensemble/crowded cast of characters).

          • March 3, 2017 at 1:16 am

            the more i think about rogue one the more i wish tarkin wasn’t in it. he really stole krennic’s thunder. as to getting more “nuanced” bad guys we at least have kylo ren to hold on to.

          • March 3, 2017 at 9:27 pm

            Agreed – with the limited time to spend on any individual characters(/villains), less Tarkin & more Krennic would’ve made sense.
            Before reading Catalyst, back in the expectation “trailer days” of R1, scene of Vader appearing to rush towards Krennice…I’d actually imagined that perhaps we’d have an Imperial (Krennic) demonstrating second thoughts over the power of the DS. Some “conflicted humanity” coming from the “bad guys”… perhaps a Vader v Krennic where Vader’s embrace of power goes against someone expressing concern/constraint.

            Nuanced –
            I’m enjoying Sloane as a character & hope that we might see her in Rebels (I’m not caught up on the show & haven’t read Wendig’s last book either).

      • March 3, 2017 at 12:53 am

        krennic was better in catalyst, imo.

        • March 3, 2017 at 1:05 am

          heh….almost wrote exactly that in my comment below.

      • March 3, 2017 at 8:27 am

        Disney doesn’t write the screen plays Snarkums.

        And they don’t go into a written screen play that LFL has and say “Oh man these villains are far too complex and interesting. Make them shallow please.”

    • March 3, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Re: “fully developed Imperial characters”
      Rae Sloane’s got potential.
      No moustache twirling there.

    • March 3, 2017 at 3:58 am

      The only First Order “characters” we have so far are Kylo Ren and Snoke, but regardless, it’s not as if the Imperials were so nuanced and well-developed, at least not in the movies. If you’re talking about books, then there are plenty of well-developed new-canon Imperials, and of the few FO operatives we’ve seen in canon, they’re pretty well-developed too.

    • March 3, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Fel was fully developed? Are you joking?

      Again Snarkums, use your brain and think. What Imperial characters from A New Hope were well developed? None.

      It’s one movie of a trilogy. It takes three to anything near “fully developed” in Star Wars, which is light in character and heavy in explosions.

      • March 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        There is a reason the well developed characters he mentions came from the books. More time and room to expand the scope. They were not the focus of the movies. It’s apples to oranges.

        • March 4, 2017 at 10:06 pm

          But Fel was never developed. There were few characters in the books that were even fleshed out, again beyond the big three, whom were always the center piece.

          The villains were largely disposable. If they ever hung around, it was because their story was involved in a trilogy.

          Daala made it through several different series/books, but she was largely garbage although her premise (A woman in High Command in the Empire was rare before Disney retconned it) was spiffy for the time.

          Thrawn was, sort of, but as fun as he was it’s difficult to say his character actually DEVELOPED over the series he was in. He was always a cool, calculating, tactician. He never evolved, change, etc. Fun character, very one note.

          This guy just has a thing for Disney and Abrams.

          • March 5, 2017 at 1:11 am

            But more developed (over a period of years and books) than any Imperial.

            but it’s not a fair comparison.

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