“Disney’s animated follow-up to the Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, has also been used to reintroduce a famous EU character who was thought lost forever on the proverbial cutting floor of Disney corporate: Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The blue-skinned bad guy introduced in Heir of the Empire all those years ago – who went on to star in multiple books, video games, and comics – was sorely missed by fans after it was announced he would be culled from canon. There were multiple fan petitions and campaigns, only for creator Timothy Zahn himself to come out and say in 2016 that fans needed to give up on any hope of seeing Thrawn return. But mere months later, it was announced that the Grand Admiral would be returning in the third season of Rebels. That made him the first official character brought back into canon by Disney. He also received a canon novel at the beginning of 2017, which was a fittingly strange moment in the journey of a character from a movie franchise who never appeared in any movies, who was in popular books that were disregarded, was then re-introduced in a TV show follow-up to a show that fit in with the disregarded books, and was then finally given a book that’s officially in the world once again.
So there you have it, a very brief look back on construction and deconstructions of one of the most influential and important pop culture phenomenons of the past 40 years.”