- Thrawn’s recurring issue in Star Wars Rebels of having to lose in order to fit into the original trilogy persists in future Star Wars canon stories, making him less impactful as a villain.
- Thrawn’s continuous defeats throughout the New Republic era will make him underwhelming as a threat, as the heroes keep winning in order to not clash with the story of the Star Wars sequels.
- Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have the potential to make Thrawn compelling by showing his impact on the galaxy, despite his eventual defeat in the New Republic era.
The biggest issue with Star Wars‘ Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars Rebels will persist throughout the projects releasing after Ahsoka season 1. Star Wars’ Grand Admiral Thrawn was first introduced to Star Wars canon in Rebels season 3 before being exiled from the galaxy for over a decade. Thrawn then returned in Ahsoka season 1 and is expected to be the primary villain of Star Wars‘ upcoming The Mandalorian movie.
Despite his villainous presence, a problem with Thrawn from Star Wars Rebels – explained by Dave Filoni in an interview with StarWars.com – will persist in future Star Wars canon stories. As explained by Filoni, the issue with Thrawn surrounded the fact that he eventually had to lose in Rebels given he was not part of the original Star Wars trilogy:
“We knew we needed to pace Thrawn out. As exciting as it was to bring him in, it also presented a lot of difficulties because I was determined not to have him losing on a weekly basis. That would just have been terrible, so we created scenarios where it was reasonable that he was involved, but it was not his fault if they lost.”
Unfortunately, this issue will continue with Thrawn after Ahsoka season 1. Despite Thrawn returning to the Star Wars galaxy and providing a competent threat to the New Republic, Star Wars canon has already revealed that Thrawn loses. The New Republic continues for another two decades before the rise of the First Order in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, meaning Thrawn’s biggest Star Wars Rebels issue is only set to continue.
Thrawn Loses All Impact If The Heroes Keep Winning
This storytelling problem involving Thrawn frustratingly means the villain loses some of his impact. Through having to make sure Thrawn’s story does not continue into the Star Wars sequels, Thrawn’s continued future losses will make him somewhat underwhelming as a villain. The heroes of the New Republic will eventually defeat Thrawn, with installments before this such as The Mandalorian season 4 and Ahsoka season 2 meaning the Chiss Grand Admiral suffers more setbacks before the culmination of the era in Filoni’s upcoming movie.
That said, there is a way Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni could still make Thrawn compelling. Filoni’s above comments make it clear that the director has experience in making Thrawn still seem threatening despite a loss, often at the expense of other characters allied with the Grand Admiral. Regardless, Star Wars‘ future projects must make it clear that Thrawn still has an impact on the galaxy despite needing to lose by the end of the New Republic era so as to not repeat the character’s biggest problem from Star Wars Rebels.