- This page is about the character, Thrawn. You may be looking for the novel by the same name
- “To defeat an enemy you must know them. Not simply their battle tactics, but their history, philosophy, art.”
- ―Thrawn, describing his approach to vanquishing his foes[src]
Thrawn was a male Chiss naval officer who served in the Imperial Navy, holding the esteemed rank of Grand Admiral. Thrawn, who believed in the importance of understanding an enemy's culture, art, and philosophy to defeat them, was tasked with defeating the Rebellion.
Thrawn became an officer in the Imperial Navy some time after the formation of the Galactic Empire. At some point, Thrawn held the rank of "Admiral", despite the xenophobia and prejudice the Empire had against certain alien species. He also apparently clashed with Jun Sato on at least one occasion.
Rise to Power
Thrawn dealt with a group of insurgents in the Batonn Sector, resulting in the elimination of the rebels there, but also the death of many civilians, the number of which surpassed the amount of rebel casualties. Following his victory at Batonn, Thrawn was awarded the prestigious title of "Grand Admiral" by the Emperor himself. Thrawn then commanded the Seventh Fleet.
Fighting the Rebellion
Arihnda Pryce requested to Wilhuff Tarkin, that Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet be assigned to assist with the rebel threat. Although Darth Vader had dealt with one of the rebels' Jedi leaders, 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.
The Grand Admiral soon arrived and began overseeing operations against the rebels. He attended a briefing with Pryce, Agent Kallus and Admiral Kassius Konstantine where they discussed that the rebels had attacked a Mining Guild convoy at the Sereeda Waypoint, which Thrawn deduced as meaning 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.
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 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.
Occupation of Ryloth
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 Cham 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.
Thrawn then spoke with Slavin in his headquarters inside Syndulla's House about his security arrangements. However, Thrawn knew that Cham 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.
After instructing Slavin to deal with the prisoners, Thrawn revealed his intent to have the Kalikori taken to his ship and briefly became enraged with Slavin when the lower officer suggested that it be destroyed. Thrawn then went aboard an Imperial Light Cruiser and watched as Slavin did a prisoner exchange between Cham and his daughter. However, Cham and the Rebels were able to escape from Slavin's forces. Thrawn then allowed the rebels to have their victory, making no effort to prevent their escape.
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.
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 damage the Iron Squadron's leader Mart Mattin and his ship Sato's Hammer and attempted to use him to lure his rebel rescuers into a trap. However, the Ghost Crew 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.
Thrawn arrived in his Star Destroyer shortly after the rebels damaged Konstantine's light cruiser. The rebels narrowly collided with his ship but managed to flee under the ventral hangar. Speaking to Sato over the com, Thrawn vowed to meet him again. The Grand Admiral 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.
Hunting down Subversives
After a surge of defective vehicles at the Lothal Imperial Factory, the Imperial High Command dispatched 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 TIE equipped with deflector shields. Thrawn believed that this TIE would contribute to the Empire's counter-insurgency efforts against the Rebellion.
The disillusioned 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 Jarrus and C1-10P 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.
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 Kallus. Thrawn took this as an opportunity to warn the workers that they would be personally testing every vehicle they built. Thrawn then ordered Pryce, Kallus, and Lieutenant Yogar Lyste to question each of the workers. As a precaution, the Empire also jammed the factory's communication signals.
However, Ezra and his team managed to slip away and reach Section A2, which stored the blueprints for Thrawn's weapon. Meanwhile, Thrawn reassured 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 All Terrain Defense Pod. When the walker collapsed, Thrawn gestured for the Stormtroopers to arrest the man.
Thrawn later summoned Lyste and Kallus to his office. The office was decorated with holographic displays of the Ghost Crew. 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 Ghost Crew had a special connection to Lothal.
When Thrawn inquired about their crackdown, an officer informed him 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 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.
Reasoning that the rebel infiltrators would take advantage of the attack to make their escape, Thrawn ordered the AT-AT Pilots aboard the All Terrain Armored Transports 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 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.
Strike on Lothal
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 Maul and attacked a Rebel Crewman. While Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine stayed behind to deal with Maul, Hera proceeded with the mission.
Continuing the Hunt
Later, Thrawn embarked on a campaign to scour the Outer Rim for Chopper Base. Under his command, Imperial 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, as 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 a Star Destroyer.
Following the destruction of the Star Destroyer, Thrawn met with Kallus aboard the Chimaera. When Thrawn asked how the explosion happened, Kallus responded that he believed that the rebels had reprogrammed one of the Infiltrator Droids and programmed it to self-destruct back at its base. Despite the setback, Thrawn remained in good spirits because he had managed to narrow down the search for the rebel base to 94 planets.
Following a meeting with sector command staff, Thrawn requested Lyste, accompanied by Kallus, to meet with him aboard the 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 Imperial Sentry Droids. They were, instead, greeted by 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.
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, 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.
Before he can do so, Kallus releases Ezra from his cell using 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 Captain Rex and Kanan to retrieve them.
Upon Thrawn's arrival to the 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.
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 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 clearance 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 mistakes the disguised Ezra as Lyste. After a brief attack, he manages to defeat the droids and informs Yularen.
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. Thrawn then planned to manipulate Kallus into revealing the location of the rebel base.
Hunt for Mon Mothma
After Senator Mon Mothma resigned from the Imperial Senate and gave a fiery speech denouncing the Ghorman Massacre placing the blame upon Palpatine, Thrawn received intelligence that Mothma and the Ghost crew were planning to travel through the Archeon Nebula to avoid Imperial detection. Based on his knowledge of Hera, Thrawn anticipated that Hera would be risky enough to travel through the Archeon Pass. In response, he deployed his prototype TIE Defender piloted by Imperial ace, Commander Vult Skerris, and escorted by two TIE Interceptors to flush the rebels out of the nebula. Thrawn also tasked Pryce and Konstantine with positioning two Star Destroyers outside of the Archeon Nebula to capture them when Skerris drove them out. Despite Thrawn's planning, Hera and the rebels managed to escape with Mothma and her entourage following a brief skirmish in the Archeon Nebula.
As part of his counter-insurgency efforts, Thrawn also utilized the services of a team of Imperial Information Office intelligence officers based aboard an Imperial Listener Ship. This team was led by Controller LT-319 and were tasked with gathering intelligence and monitoring rebel activities. As part of their intelligence operations, these spies were tasked with keeping an eye out for rebel droids such as Chopper, who had taken part in numerous undercover missions.
During the Ghost Crew's mission to Killun Station, LT-319's team detected Chopper's presence at the [Imperial Security Bureau base. Using a network terminal, the team reprogrammed Chopper into a double agent droid and tried to use him to discover the location of Chopper Base. As part of the operation, Chopper hijacked the Ghost and used a Computer Spike to transfer data from the ship's navigation computer to the surveillance vessel. Before the download could be completed, the rebels retook control of their ship and removed the Imperial programming from Chopper. Hera then destroyed the surveillance vessel by sending back their data feed, causing a data surge that blew the vessel apart.
Personality and Traits
Thrawn 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.
Thrawn was also polite and respectful, even towards his enemies, whom he generally tended to admire. Even when interrogating Hera, he showed mannerly behavior despite their antagonistic relationship. Thrawn did not have a high opinion of 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.
As a tactician, Thrawn sponsored a new initiative to develop TIE Fighters 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 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.
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 Ghost Crew, who had outsmarted his predecessors. In addition, Thrawn's scrutiny of Lyste and 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.
Thrawn has shown greater patience in dealing with the Rebellion than other Imperial offers, being willing to allow them small victories of little strategic consequence in exchange for studying their methods in preparation for what he intends to be the destruction of the Rebellion as a whole.
Thrawn was willing to take high risks as shown when he dispatched Imperial Infiltrator Droids to hunt for Chopper Base. Despite the loss of a Star Destroyer, Thrawn comforted himself with the knowledge that he reduced the search for the rebel base to 94 worlds. Kallus later tried to elude Thrawn's hunt for Fulcrum by planting clues that incriminated Lyste. However, Thrawn discovered Kallus' deception and decided to manipulate the rogue ISB agent into helping him find the rebel base.
While other Imperial commanders overlooked the threat posed by rebel droids such as Chopper, Thrawn kept a catalog on these droids which he circulated to his intelligence operatives. This information enabled LT-319 to embark on an ambitious plot to hijack the Ghost and find the location of Chopper Base.
Skills and Abilities
While Thrawn was a seasoned military commander and accomplished tactician, he was also known to use physical force when necessary. Thrawn was known to wield a blaster pistol. On one occasion, he stunned Ezra, who had disguised himself as a Scout Trooper. On another occasion, Thrawn grabbed Slavin by the scruff of his collar after the latter exasperated him with his arrogance and contempt for art. Thrawn also had considerable skill with hand-to-hand combat, often practicing with a pair of Sentry Droids. Thrawn used his combat skills to survive at least one assassination attempt by Kallus, who had reprogrammed his sentry droids.
- He and Maul are the main antagonists of Season 3.
- He is voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, who is the older brother of Mads Mikkelsen, who is one of the main characters of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- Thrawn first appeared in the Legends novel Heir to the Empire, the first novel in The Thrawn Trilogy as the main antagonist. In Legends his full name is Mitth'raw'nuruodo, while Thrawn was his "core" name and is more commonly used.
- His appearance in Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow marks his first debut in the canonical Star Wars universe.
- He is also set to appear in the upcoming canon book Thrawn, which precedes the events of Season 3.
- The idea to bring Thrawn into Star Wars Rebels was discussed during early production of Season 1. Each of the producers suggested it to varying degrees at different times. Ultimately, Thrawn is such an important admiral that they felt it wouldn't make sense to introduce him back then: the Lothal rebel cell was just a small team with one ship on one local planet. They reasoned that Thrawn would only be brought in at a later stage when the rebellion had grown into a large enough coordinated military movement that it merited his response - essentially the same reason that they didn't introduce Darth Vader until Season Two. Their overall plan for the series was for the scale of the nascent rebellion to gradually intensify, and the Empire would react with incrementally more significant force appropriate responses.