You recall that when I first discussed the old EU, I talked about how big of a confusing, sprawling mess it was. But there was a trilogy of stories that came out between 1991-1993 that stand out above the others as “actually pretty damn good”. And that was the Thrawn Trilogy, written by Timothy Zahn.
Starting with Heir to the Empire in 1991, the trilogy focused on the Rebellion, now forming itself into the New Republic, having to deal with the sudden resurgence of one of the most dangerous Imperial warlords in the galaxy, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Thrawn was a completely different antagonist from Vader and Palpatine. He didn’t have force powers, or immense physical strength, or any combat training. He didn’t murder his subordinates or have a cackling evil laugh. Thrawn was a tactician. He’d study everything about his enemies – their tactics, philosophies, history, and even art – before making his move.
In the trilogy, he and his little remnants of the Empire are vastly outnumbered by the New Republic, yet he almost single-handedly brings the Republic to its knees. His fatal flaw was falling back on the lies and propaganda of the Empire, and he’s murdered by his own alien bodyguard (whose race the Empire really screwed over).
Since this book trilogy popped up several years after Return of the Jedi, and was the only really big thing to happen for Star Wars until the prequels came out, these books became essential for a lot of Star Wars fans. Thrawn became a fan favorite, and when the EU was wiped out, his loss was considered one of the biggest, most tragic losses of the Disney buyout.
The thing is, Disney owns all of the old EU stuff, and they’re free to use bits and pieces of it however they see fit. But with so many new things being added to the new film trilogy, fans thought they wouldn’t bring in anything from the EU, just reprint the old stories under the “Legends” banner for a quick extra few pennies.
Then, at Star Wars Celebration this year, the trailer for Star Wars Rebels season 3 was shown, and suddenly the world was reintroduced to Grand Admiral Thrawn in the new canon. This time, he’s in the era between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, tasked with striking down the growing Rebellion.
This alone blew a lot of fans away, but what was discussed after makes the whole thing a lot more meaningful.
Dave Filoni, who worked on both The Clone Wars and now works on Star Wars Rebels, had wanted to bring Thrawn officially into canon for a long time. The chance to do that finally appeared with Rebels, but Filoni wanted to do it right. Filoni brought Timothy Zahn to the studio and showed him clips of Thrawn in action, to see if he’d like it. Zahn enthusiastically approved. On top of that, Zahn was brought on to pen a new novel for Thrawn for the new canon, which is coming out in April 2017.
So uh…if you wanted to discuss pandering done very well versus pandering done very badly, if you wanted to mention the importance of honoring the will of the fans and original creators of a thing versus cynically rebooting a franchise for a quick cash grab…this would probably be the example you’d pull to make the argument on how to do it right. Not saying you have to do it that way, but, you know, it’s there. :v
It would be pandering if we got credit. But we did not. In fact we are still getting hate.
The reason why fans are at each others throats is because Lucasfilm has cut ties with certain fans and infused them with fans known to pander and pimp – fans that do not attend their functions and fans that throw their children as shields to show off their fandom. It’s phony.
At this point, we helped with getting Thrawn in with the activities we did. Look through our blog to see it. If you disagree, we pay us: paypal.me/SWAG77/100 and we’ll be happy to further to discuss.
If you hate the fact that Thrawn is “recanonized” to suit their purposes, we can’t do anything about that.