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Vader's revelation

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Warning! This page contains MAJOR spoilers from Star Wars Rebels Season Three. Caution is advised.

This article is about the Imperial Grand Admiral. You may be looking for other uses of the word Thrawn.
"To defeat an enemy, you must know them. Not simply their battle tactics, but their history, philosophy, art."
―Thrawn[src]

Thrawn was a Chiss male who served as an officer in the Imperial Navy, holding the rank of Grand Admiral in the years prior to the Galactic Civil War. Thrawn hailed from the Unknown Regions and had knowledge of the uncharted region of the galaxy, knowledge that Emperor Sheev Palpatine used due to his interest in discovering the secrets of the dark side of the Force that the Unknown Regions held. By 2 BBY, the Emperor promoted Thrawn to Grand Admiral due to Thrawn's victory over a rebel insurgency during the Battle of Batonn.

Grand Admiral Thrawn, the commander of the Seventh Fleet, oversaw the Galactic Empire's efforts to destroy the rebellion growing in the Lothal sector. Believing in the importance of understanding an enemy's culture, art, and philosophy to defeat them, the Grand Admiral set out on a strategy to destroy the growing rebellion before it could become a true threat to the Empire's reign over the galaxy. His efforts were aimed at discovering the location of the rebel base.

At the end of the Galactic Civil War, the remnants of the Imperial Navy, defeated by the New Republic at the Battle of Jakku, ventured into the Unknown Regions to rebuild. Thrawn's knowledge of the Unknown Regions was in part used to get to the region of space, where the Empire's remnants reorganized into the First Order.

BiographyEdit

Rise to powerEdit

Thrawn: "The Emperor recently promoted me after my victory at Batonn."
Kallus: "Civilian casualties outnumbered the insurgents at the time."
Pryce: "Acceptable margins, Agent Kallus, for there are no longer rebels in that sector."
―Grand Admiral Thrawn, ISB Agent Kallus, and Governor Arihnda Pryce speak of Thrawn's victory at Batonn[src]

Thrawn, a Chiss male,[2] hailed from the Unknown Regions, a dangerous and uncharted region of the galaxy.[4] He lived in exile for a time, before he was rescued by soldiers of the Galactic Empire. Thrawn's ingenuity and tactical prowess caught the attention of Emperor Palpatine.[5] The Emperor, who, behind his public identity, lived as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, believed that the source of his dark power came from beyond the known galaxy,[6] and he felt a dark presence call to him from the beyond—a presence that not even his apprentice, Darth Vader, could sense. Palpatine took an interest in Thrawn as a result, keeping the alien in his midst because of what Thrawn knew of traversing the Unknown Regions.[4]

Thrawn SWI168

Thrawn proved his worth to the Empire and to the Emperor himself countless times over.

Thrawn proved his worth to the Empire, as did he prove his ambition and military capabilities. He conducted numerous missions to defeat smugglers, spies, and pirates, earning countless victories with his renegade tactics. He received several promotions and worked with an aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, whom he instructed in combat, leadership, and victory. Politics, on the other hand, was not his strong suit, and he worked with Arihnda Pryce, Governor of the Lothal sector, as she could have been a key ally or an enemy. Much of his knowledge and ambition was put to the test once he ascended to the rank of Admiral.[5]

By 2 BBY, Thrawn ascended to the rank of Grand Admiral. He received the promotion from the Emperor himself after defeating a group of insurgents in the Batonn sector. The Battle of Batonn resulted in the elimination of rebel activity in the sector, but also the death of many civilians, the number of which surpassed the amount of rebel casualties—an acceptable margin in the eyes of the Empire.[2] A capable strategist who earned a reputation for his tactical prowess and ability to understand an enemy's culture, art, and philosophy as keys to defeating them,[7] Thrawn commanded the Imperial Navy's Seventh Fleet.[2] Because of his success in utterly wiping out his opponents, Thrawn was not himself well known to the rebellion at large, a fact which he would later use to his advantage during the occupation of Ryloth.[8]

Fighting the rebellionEdit

First encounterEdit

"I will start my operations here, and pull the rebels apart piece by piece. They will be the architects of their own destruction."
―Grand Admiral Thrawn[src]

In the years before the Battle of Yavin, a rebel cell that operated in and around the Lothal sector proved to be a nuisance to Imperial operations in the area. Governor Arihnda Pryce of Lothal requested to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Governor of the Outer Rim Territories, that Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet be assigned to assist with the rebel threat. Although the Sith Lord Darth Vader had dealt with one of the rebels' Jedi leaders, Commander Ahsoka Tano, Pryce believed it was time to have the assistance of someone who could see the bigger picture—the threat of rebel cells coming together to form an organized resistance movement, to which Tarkin agreed.[2]

The Grand Admiral soon arrived and began overseeing operations against the rebels. He attended a briefing with Pryce, Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau, and Admiral Kassius Konstantine, where they discussed that the rebels had attacked a Mining Guild convoy at the Sereeda Waypoint. Thrawn deduced that the rebels were planning an operation on Reklam Station in the Yarma system. The Grand Admiral declared that he would pull the rebels apart piece by piece, ensuring that they would be the architects of their own destruction. The Imperial garrison there was alerted to the potential rebel threat.[2]

During the rebels' operations, they stole a number of Galactic Republic Y-wing starfighters that were left over from the Clone Wars. A convoy of rebel ships arrived to assist, and Thrawn allowed them to escape. While some officers, such as Admiral Konstantine, believed that these ships were the rebel fleet, both Thrawn and Pryce knew that there was a larger resistance movement growing in the galaxy and that these rebels could be the key to the Empire destroying them all.[2]

Occupation of RylothEdit

"War. It's all you've ever known, isn't it? You were so young when you survived the Clone War. No wonder you are equipped in spirit to fight us like you do. War is in your blood. I study the art of war. Work to perfect it. But you...You were forged by it."
―Thrawn to Hera[src]

Later, Thrawn fought against the Free Ryloth movement led by Cham Syndulla. The Twi'lek, who had found previous success fighting against the Imperial occupation of Ryloth under Captain Slavin underestimated Thrawn's abilities and battle strategies. When combating the Twi'leks, Thrawn used far more precise tactics compared to other Imperial officers Syndulla had encountered. Thrawn established a base of operations on Ryloth in the Tann province, where he spent time commanding Slavin's forces against the Twi'lek resistance fighters as well as studying their culture to better understand them.[7]

Thrawn then spoke with Slavin in his headquarters inside the Syndulla residence about his security arangements. However, Thrawn knew that Syndulla would come for his family's Kalikori. Thrawn and Slavin then ran into a servant who tried to steal the Kalikori. Thrawn, Slavin and several troopers then took her into questioning. There, Thrawn was able to deduce from the Syndulla family portrait that she was Hera Syndulla. Thrawn was also able to see that the Scout trooper was actually Ezra Bridger and stunned him.[7]

Thrawn then went aboard a Imperial light cruiser and watched as Slavin did a prisoner exchange between Syndulla and his daughter. However, Syndulla and the Rebels were able to escape from Slavin's forces. Thrawn then allowed the rebels to have their victory.[7]

Testing KonstantineEdit

"No Admiral, I want you to handle it yourself. A single light cruiser should be sufficient for a man of your talents."
"You would send me in one ship?"
"Unless, you're not up to it."
"I will leave immediately."
―Thrawn dispatches Admiral Konstantine to Mykapo[src]
Thrawn briefing

Thrawn, Admiral Konstantine and another officer discuss the events on Mykapo

Grand Admiral Thrawn was aboard the Chimaera above Lothal with the Seventh Fleet when Admiral Konstantine and another Imperial officer arrive to report on the imposition of martial law on Mykapo and the ongoing Imperial blockade of Synistahg. After learning that a local rebel cell called the Iron Squadron had attacked an Imperial patrol with the help of the Ghost, Thrawn deduced that the rebels were evacuating Mykapo's "treasonous" inhabitants. Curious about the Iron Squadron, Thrawn dispatched Admiral Konstantine to deal with the rebels there.[9]

When Konstantine announced that he would depart with a full squadron, Thrawn insisted that the Admiral only deploy a single light cruiser. He reasoned that one ship would be sufficient for a man of his talents. The Admiral was unhappy but complied after Thrawn insinuated that he was not up to the challenge. Konstantine managed to trap the Iron Squadron's leader Mart Mattin and cripple his ship Sato's Hammer and attempted to use him to lure his rebel rescuers into a trap. However, the Spectres circumvented Konstantine's plan and managed to rescue Mart with the help of his uncle Commander Jun Sato. In desperation, Konstantine sent a call for reinforcements to Thrawn.[9]

Thrawn arrived in his Star Destroyer shortly after the rebels damaged Konstantine's light cruiser. The rebels nearly collided with his ship but managed to flee under the ventral hangar. Speaking to Thrawn over the com, Sato vowed to meet him again. Thrawn replied in a similar fashion and allowed the rebels to escape. Thrawn then turned his attention to Konstantine and asked whether he had contacted him for assistance. Konstantine tried to deny it by claiming he had called to report that he had driven the rebels from the system. However, Thrawn realized that Konstantine was lying after seeing his blazing cruiser and noted that the planet's "treasonous" inhabitants had already escaped.[9]

Hunting down subversivesEdit

Slider-An Inside Man

Thrawn addressing the Lothal factory workers

After a surge of defective vehicles at the Lothal Imperial Armory Complex, the Imperial High Command dispatched Grand Admiral Thrawn to investigate the presence of subversives at the factory. In fact, a small rebel cell led by the former Governor Ryder Azadi had been infiltrating the factory and sabotaging vehicles. Thrawn also initiated a new starfighter initiative to develop a starfighter equipped with deflector shields. Thrawn believed that this starfighter would contribute to the Empire's counter-insurgency efforts against the rebellion.[3]

The disillusioned Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus leaked intelligence of the starfighter project to the rebellion. While Kallus did not know the full details of the project, his information led the Phoenix Squadron to send Ezra, Kanan and the astromech droid Chopper to spy on the factory and link up with Ryder's cell. The rebel mission coincided with Thrawn's crackdown on the factory. After berating the workers for their poor craftsmanship, Thrawn forced the worker Morad Sumar to demonstrate how fast a 614-AvA speeder bike could reach maximum speed. Sumar had earlier inspected the vehicle. Unknown to Thrawn, he was part of Ryder's rebel cell and a saboteur.[3]

The speeder bike began to overheat and Sumar begged Thrawn to end the simulation. However, Thrawn was not satisfied and set the speeder bike's engines to full speed. The faulty bike exploded and killed Sumar. Thrawn's actions horrified Ezra, Kanan, the workers, and even Agent Kallus. Thrawn took this as an opportunity to warn the workers that they would be personally testing every vehicle they built. Thrawn then ordered Governor Pryce, Agent Kallus, and Lieutenant Yogar Lyste to question each of the workers. As a precaution, the Empire also jammed the factory's communication signals.[3]

However, Ezra and his team managed to slip away and reach Section A2, which stored the blueprints for Thrawn's weapons. Meanwhile, Thrawn reassured Governor Pryce that he had secured the chamber by ordering the sentries to shoot anyone trying to enter the facility without his personal code on sight. When Kallus expressed skepticism that Thrawn's new fighter initiative would make a difference, Thrawn responded that victory and defeat depended on the smallest details. He then ordered another worker to demonstrate his AT-DP walker. When the walker collapsed, Thrawn gestured for his stormtroopers to arrest the man.[3]

Thrawn appreciating art

Thrawn studying his enemies' art

Thrawn later summoned Lieutenant Lyste and Agent Kallus to his office at the Imperial headquarters. The office was decorated by holographic displays of the Spectres, Sabine's graffiti, Mandalorian art and a Jedi Temple Guard's helmet. Thrawn then showed his subordinates one of Sabine's starbird graffiti paintings. While Lyste merely dismissed the painting as a retaining wall, the more perceptive Kallus recognized the starbird as a creature of light that had been re-appropriated as a symbol of the rebellion. Thrawn speculated that the crew of the Ghost, whom he had encountered on Ryloth, had a special connection to Lothal.[3]

When Thrawn inquired about their crackdown, Lyste informed the Admiral that two of the workers had disappeared following his speech and that they had left behind their uniforms. Kallus advised issuing an alert but Thrawn countered that the rebel infiltrators had already found new disguises and were after his secret starfighter project. Thrawn ordered Kallus and Lyste to secure Section A2 but the rebels managed to escape the factory with the help of Kallus. Kallus allowed the rebels to escape on an AT-DP walker at the east gate's hangar bay. The rebels' escape coincided with a diversionary attack launched by Ryder at the east gate.[3]

Reasoning that the rebel infiltrators would take advantage of the attack to make their escape, Thrawn ordered the AT-AT pilots aboard the AT-AT walkers "271" and "414" to attack the rebel's stolen AT-DP walker. Despite the efforts of Thrawn, the rebel infiltrators managed to escape with the stolen plans. Later, Thrawn heard a report on the skirmish from Lieutenant Lyste. Satisfied, he dismissed him and then turned to talk with Pryce and Kallus. Thrawn voiced his suspicions that the Empire had a mole within their ranks who was supplying the rebellion with information. When Pryce suggested questioning all Imperial personnel, Thrawn advised setting a trap for the traitor.[3]

Using the information stolen by Chopper, Ezra, and Kanan, Hera was able to plan a strike on the Lothal Imperial factory. She planned to deploy a fraction of Phoenix Squadron and assigned Ezra to carry out reconnaissance work on Imperial military positions. When Sabine asked if Thrawn was there, Hera replied that there had been an increase in Imperial ships above Lothal but that they did not know for sure. Hera was forced to relieve Ezra of his duties after he experienced a Force vision of the former Sith Maul and attacked a rebel soldier. While Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine stayed behind to deal with Maul, Hera proceeded with the mission.[10]

Continuing the huntEdit

Kallus: "You seem, in surprisingly, good spirits, considering this loss."
Thrawn: "Loss you say? The rebels may have protected the location of their base for now, but, in doing so, they have narrowed my search. Before today, they could have been hiding in any of the thousand systems. But now, now I know they are, almost certainly, on one of the ninety-four planets surveyed by my infiltrators. The rebels have won this battle, but the war will be ours."
―Kallus and Thrawn discussing the outcome of the EXD infiltrator droid sabotage.[src]
Thrawn and Kallus Warhead

Thrawn and Kallus discussing the loss of the EXD droids

Later, Grand Admiral Thrawn embarked on a campaign to scour the Outer Rim Territories for the Phoenix rebel cell's base. Under his command, E-XD infiltrator droids were dispatched to Outer Rim worlds to search for the bases. One of these droids, EXD-9, stumbled upon Chopper Base and was adopted by Garazeb Orrelios and AP-5, who mistook him for a protocol droid. Kallus, using the pseudonym Fulcrum, managed to warn Zeb who disabled and reprogrammed the droid with the help of AP-5 and Chopper. The rebels then sent EXD-9 back to the Empire as an improvised bomb which destroyed an Imperial Star Destroyer.[11]

Following the destruction of the Star Destroyer, Thrawn met with Agent Kallus aboard his flagship Chimaera. When Thrawn asked how the explosion happened, Kallus responded that he believed that the rebels had reprogrammed one of the Infiltrator droids to self-destruct upon returning to base. Despite the setback, Thrawn remained in good spirits because he had managed to narrow down the search for the rebel base from a thousand to just ninety-four systems as a result.[11]

Discovering Fulcrum Edit

Following an interview of sector command staff for any rebel affiliation, Thrawn requested Lieutenant Yogar Lyste, accompanied by Agent Kallus, to meet with him aboard his flagship, Chimaera. Once they arrived, they made their way to Thrawn's Office where Thrawn himself, was practicing hand-to-hand combat with a pair of sentry droids. They were, instead, greeted by Admiral Konstantine where ISB Colonel Wullf Yularen awaited them inside. The Colonel revealed himself to Kallus who instantly recognized him from his days in the academy where Yularen was a mentor. Thrawn soon follows in to inform the group that Yularen's presence is needed to extradite a rebel spy among their ranks who are feeding the rebellion information. Yularen cautions the group on information they reveal, even to their closest allies. Thrawn then reveals that he narrowed the search for the rebel's base through analyzing rebel hyperspace routes and the planets proximity to Lothal anticipating an attack, once again. He dismisses the group to begin the investigation.[12]

Governor Pryce enters his office following the meeting to inquire for any progress. Thrawn states he set a trap by asserting that the rebel spy in question was present for the meeting and now they need to await for the spy to pass on the information they learned. Yularen then informs Thrawn that a coded message was beamed off the Chimaera following the transfer of Ezra Bridger, disguised as a shuttle thief who intentionally got captured prior to Lyste meeting with Thrawn to rescue Kallus, to the ship. Thrawn decided to visit the mysterious prisoner to gain a better understanding of the transmission.[12]

Before he can do so, Kallus releases Ezra from his cell using Lieutenant Lyste's Code cylinder while also informing him that Thrawn is close to discovering the rebel's base and asks Ezra to tell him where it is located. Ezra refuses to reveal it until they arrive there but Kallus reassures Ezra that he will remove the planet from Thrawn's database to hinder it's discovery. AP-5 states they can infiltrate Thrawn's office and erase the planet from the database while also gaining the clearance codes they require for Rex and Kanan to retrieve them.[12]

Upon Thrawn's arrival to the ship's detention center, his entourage becomes suspicious with the lax security. They discover the prisoner has escaped from his cell and Yularen reveals that Lyste's cylinder was the most recent code to access the cell raising their suspicion of the Lieutenant.[12]

The rebels manage to infiltrate the office and erase Atollon from his database but just before Thrawn returns. One of the guards informs Thrawn that Lieutenant Lyste is inside. With the guards at his side, Thrawn investigates his office for any tampering. Meanwhile, Kallus reactivates two of his sentry droids. Thrawn becomes satisfied that his office had not tampered with, however, the reactivated sentry droids barge in and begin attacking them, subduing his guards. Thrawn attempts to disable the droids with a clearence code, but fails to do so. While Thrawn is fighting the droids, Ezra and Chopper who were previously in hiding in the office, make their escape, but, Thrawn discovers them and mistakens the disguised Ezra as Lyste. After a brief attack, he manages to defeat the droids and informs Yularen.[12]

The rebels make their escape, however, with Lyste being the assumed rebel spy through misinterpretation of their escape, Kallus stays behind to continue his role once Thrawn is convinced the rebel spy threat has been neutralized with Lyste as the scapegoat. While analyzing the events that unfolded, Yularen was not satisfied with how easy the conclusion was made. Thrawn agreed. They then analyzed the helmet Ezra left behind with it's depiction of a Loth-cat. Thrawn recognized the art style to belong to Sabine Wren, thus revealing to Thrawn who the shuttle thief really was. Upon learning this, they inquire why Kallus didn't report Ezra when he was captured by Lyste. Thrawn concludes that Kallus has been the rebel spy, Fulcrum, all along and in an act of deception, blamed Lyste for the crime.[12]

LegacyEdit

Seven years after his battles with the early rebellion, the Alliance to Restore the Republic that formed from the early rebel cells had managed to cripple the Empire, kill Emperor Palpatine, and give rise to the New Republic. The shattered remnants of the Empire were defeated during the Battle of Jakku in 5 ABY, and the Imperial Navy retreated into the Unknown Regions. To do so, they used an Imperial Observatory on Jakku to help chart the way through the harsh region of space. Much of what Thrawn knew of the Unknown Regions had been used in the Observatory's computations. As a result of Thrawn's knowledge, as well as information retrieved by the few survey teams and droids the fallen Emperor had once sent into the unknown, the Imperial Navy reorganized into the First Order in the depths of the galaxy. This was part of Palpatine's Contingency, a plan to ensure that the Galactic Empire would not outlive him—but that was co-opted by surviving Imperials to ensure that the Empire continued after his death.[4]

Personality and traitsEdit

"My apologies, Captain Slavin. I'd forgotten not everyone is able to appreciate art as I do."
―Thrawn, to Slavin[src]
Thrawn Angry

Thrawn's calm demeanor occasionally gave way to frustration with his subordinates who lacked his appreciation for art.

Grand Admiral Thrawn was a member of the Chiss species who possessed a calm and collected demeanor. He was a brilliant military strategist, known for his anticipation of enemy attacks and his own tactical precision. Thrawn worked to perfect the art of war. He had respect for his enemies, believing that in order to defeat a worthy opponent, one must understand them in every aspect, including their history and philosophy. In particular, Thrawn had a strong appreciation for art, and he believed that studying it could allow him to delve into the psyche of the people of the cultures that the artists belonged to. Thrawn's calm demeanor and suave sophisticated mannerisms masked his ruthlessness. Thrawn rarely wavered in his generally cool temperament, though at one point, he furiously grabbed a fellow Imperial by his uniform after he insulted his enemy's artwork. He quickly regained his composure however and apologized to the officer for his emotional outburst.[7]

Thrawn was also polite and respectful, even towards his enemies, whom he generally tended to admire. Even when interrogating Hera Syndulla, he showed mannerly behavior despite their antagonistic relationship.[7] Thrawn did not have a high opinion of Admiral Konstantine and once sent him on a mission to deal with the Iron Squadron in the Mykapo system. Thrawn set a test for Konstantine by ordering the Admiral to depart with only a light cruiser in order to test his mettle. Konstantine underestimated the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the rebels there. Thrawn was astute enough to discern that Konstantine was lying when the latter tried to save face by claiming to have driven the rebels from the system. In fact, Thrawn was aware that the rebels had already evacuated their sympathizers from the system.[9]

As a tactician, Thrawn sponsored a new initiative to develop starfighters that were equipped with deflector shields. He believed that this feature would give the Empire an edge over their rebel opponents. Thrawn had a low tolerance for incompetence and poor craftsmanship. He personally engineered the death of the factory worker and rebel agent Morad Sumar in order to send a warning to the Lothal Imperial factory workers. Thrawn was meticulous and ruthless in carrying out his mission to hunt subversives and detect "shoddy" craftsmanship at the Lothal Imperial factory. Thus, Thrawn was willing to do anything to accomplish his goals.[3]

Thrawn's appreciation for art and his determination to defeat the rebellion led him to amass a vast collection of images and objects related to the crew of the rebel ship Ghost, who had outsmarted his predecessors. In addition, Thrawn's scrutiny of Lieutenant Lyste and Agent Kallus' reports following the rebel infiltration of the Lothal Imperial factory led him to realize that the Empire had a spy within their ranks. Thrawn believed that interrogating all Imperial personnel would alert the traitor. Instead, he advocated engineering a trap for the traitor that would turn them into an asset of the Empire.[3]

SkillsEdit

While Thrawn was a seasoned military commander and accomplished tactician who was known to be thorough.[2] Thrawn wielded a blaster pistol and on one occasion, he stunned the rebel fighter Ezra, who had disguised himself as a scout trooper.[7] Thrawn also had considerable skill with hand-to-hand combat, often practicing with a pair of Sentry droids. [12]

Behind the scenesEdit

Thrawn

Thrawn's Legends counterpart

Thrawn is a character created by author Timothy Zahn. He was first introduced in the Star Wars Legends novel Heir to the Empire, part of The Thrawn Trilogy. He made his first canon appearance in the third season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels, voiced by Lars Mikkelsen. Zahn is also writing a canon novel titled Thrawn, focusing on the character's first encounter with the Galactic Empire and the years leading up to the third season of Rebels.[13][14] Executive producer Dave Filoni first expressed interest in using Thrawn in 2010, while producing Star Wars: The Clone Wars.[15]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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