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Grand Admiral Thrawn Is About To Save Star Wars For The Second Time

It's no surprise that "Star Wars" has been in a bit of a rut ever since the tragedy that was "The Rise of Skywalker" hit theaters. Since then, Lucasfilm has struggled to get any projects on the big screen, with numerous movies getting the greenlight only for the studio to scrap them later down the line

In the meantime, a galaxy far, far away found a new home on Disney+. Hits like "The Mandalorian," "Andor," and "The Bad Batch" proved there are plenty of more stories for Lucasfilm to tell, but nothing good lasts forever. Even "The Mandalorian," which was the biggest show on television at one point, seems to have jumped the shark, failing to recapture the magic that once made it great. While the animation side of "Star Wars" is in the safe hands of Dave Filoni, this live-action web of projects centering around "The Mandalorian" needs a spark to get things rolling again. Thankfully, the savior of "Star Wars" is on his way, with Grand Admiral Thrawn's live-action debut imminent.

Thrawn brought an end to Star Wars' Dark Ages

Although "Star Wars" has been a global success ever since Lucasfilm released "A New Hope" in 1977, the franchise is quite familiar with having lulls in content. Fans would think the 10th anniversary of "Star Wars" would be a momentous occasion and cause for a massive celebration, but 1987 was actually one of the franchise's lowest points. Fans dubbed the period "The Dark Times" for its insane lack of content. 

However, as hope dwindled throughout the "Star Wars" fandom, one man came to the rescue. In 1991, Timothy Zahn's legendary novel, "Heir to the Empire," was released, ushering in a new era of immeasurable success for the franchise. The story takes place five years after "Return of the Jedi," introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn to the universe. The villain's presence is immediately felt throughout the galaxy as he assembles what remains of the Empire to create a formidable enemy to the New Republic. To make things even better, Zahn released sequels, "Dark Force Rising" and "The Last Command," in the following years, completing a "Thrawn Trilogy" that was arguably the most vital story to the success of "Star Wars." 

"Heir to the Empire" also spawned the "Star Wars Expanded Universe." For those unfamiliar with the concept, the Expanded Universe was a massive property encompassing every "Star Wars" story outside George Lucas's original six films. It grew the "Star Wars" universe to new heights, with countless stories giving more depth to what Lucas started, and it was all thanks to Zahn, Thrawn, and "Heir to the Empire." 

Thrawn can once again usher in a new era for Star Wars

Grand Admiral Thrawn did enough work carrying "Star Wars" on his back in the early '90s, but it seems his job isn't over yet. Although Disney relegated his introduction, and the rest of the Expanded Universe, into non-canon with "Star Wars Legends," Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg brought the character into official canon with "Star Wars Rebels." Filoni, who many consider a "Star Wars" mastermind, just so happens to be heading "Ahsoka," whose trailer showcases numerous "Rebels" characters coming to live-action, including Thrawn. 

Although he has yet to appear on screen, Thrawn has been working in the shadows of the "Mandalorian" era of "Star Wars." Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) name-dropped the officer in Season 2, revealing she's searching for him. At the ongoing Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm dropped the first trailer for "Ahsoka," showing that she's recruiting former Rebels Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help track down Thrawn and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi). Thrawn's introduction to Disney+ gives that side of "Star Wars" the overarching villain it desperately needs, connecting many of the shows more than Din Djarin's (Pedro Pascal) friendship ever could.

However, Thrawn could also be the saving grace that "Star Wars" needs on the big screen. Looking at Dave Filoni's upcoming movie, things get really interesting. As announced at Star Wars Celebration, the Avengers-like film will culminate all the storylines set up on Disney+, with, presumably, all the big players coming together for one movie, meaning they'll need an adequate big bad to rally against. Who better than Thrawn? The villain has meddled with just about every character's life, and having Thrawn take on Ahsoka, Mando, Grogu, and Boba Fett on the big screen is the best chance the franchise has at a genuine hit.