In the current Star Wars canon, Thrown is alive at the time of A New Hope, as it has been confirmed that he survived the events seen in Rogue One. Star Wars Rebels is currently airing its final season and is ramping up to what should be a very exciting conclusion, which ties into the first Star Wars story. The show has done a lot of good over its run, but bringing Grand Admiral Thrawn into the new Star Wars canon may be the single best thing the series has accomplished. But is the fan-favorite villain ever going to make it to the big screen? We can't say for sure, but we do know that Thrawn is going to survive the events of Star Wars Rebels season 4.
Back in August, when Star Wars Rebels season 3 arrived on Blu-ray, Dave Filoni was interviewed and talked in-depth about the third season of the animated series. Buried in that interview was a very telling bit of information. According to Filoni, who is usually pretty hush, hush about this kind of stuff, Thrawn is indeed going to make it past the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Since Star Wars Rebels season 4 is set to end before the events of Rogue One, that means Thrawn will survive. Here's what Filoni had to say about it.
"The character takes shape around the voice. He is dedicated to getting it right, he understands that the character is important. His character outlived his brother's [Mads Mikkelsen], who's in Rogue One, which is a hilarious inside joke for us."
To say the least, this is a huge deal for the future of Star Wars. Thrawn is an important character to hardcore Star Wars fans and there's a lot of opportunity for him in the larger universe of stories to be told down the line. Even for those who may not be as familiar, Thrawn is an excellent villain, one of the greatest in the history of the franchise, despite having only appeared in books and, only recently, in animation. The fact that he survives leaves the door open for a live-action appearance down the line.
Thrawn has gone on to become one of the biggest and most beloved villains in Star Wars history, even without ever appearing, or even being mentioned, in any of the movies. The character was introduced in the Heir to the Empire book trilogy in the early 90s, written by author Timothy Zahn. The three books surrounding the character are credited with reinvigorating fan interest in Star Wars at a time when no movies or any major Star Wars projects were being released. But when Lucasfilm reset the canon after the Disney purchase, his existence in the universe was up in the air. That's why bringing him into Star Wars Rebels was such a big deal.
We know Thrawn survives for a while, and that's the key. We also know that Timothy Zahn is working on a new novel that will team him up with Darth Vader for the first time. So Disney and Lucasfilm clearly have bigger plans for the beloved bad guy in the future. Lucasfilm is currently laying out their plans for the next 10 years of Star Wars movies. Could those plans include Grand Admiral Thrawn? One can only hope. You can check out the full interview with Dave Filoni over at StarWars.com.