Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel will look a little different if you buy it at Barnes & Noble. The U.S.’s largest book chain will have a cover with a black background, while other retailers will get a white cover. It also comes with an exclusive poster.
B&N exclusives are nothing new for Star Wars, as several recent releases have also featured posters, including next week’s Aftermath: Empire’s End. But Thrawn will be the first novel to feature a different cover.
Thrawn is Zahn’s first novel in the new canon and his tenth overall. It’s due out in hardcover and eBook on April 11.
Up today at the Penguin Random House catalog is the blurb for Thrawn, Timothy Zahn’s spring Star Wars novel – his first for the new canon. It’ll be our first detailed look at how much from the franchises’s first Legends import made it to the other side before his appearance on Rebels.
“I study the art of war. Work to perfect it.”
—Grand Admiral Thrawn
One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe. From his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire, through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond, Grand Admiral Thrawn has earned an iconic status among Star Wars’ greatest villains. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.
After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.
All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral—and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.
Thrawn is out in hardcover and eBook on April 11 – just before Celebration. The character is currently appearing in the third season of Star Wars Rebels.
We’ve already covered the news out of Friday’s Star Wars writers roundtable at NYCC, but there was a decent lineup of current writers: Novelists Timothy Zahn, Chuck Wendig, James Luceno, E.K. Johnston, comic writers Kieron Gillen, Charles Soule, plus Lucasfilm editor Jennifer Heddle. Tor.com has a nice roundup of their comments.
Zahn reassured fans that the Thrawn on Rebels is not too far removed from the Thrawn of Legends. Johnston revealed that Ahsoka begins “about ten minutes—slight exaggeration—after Order 66 comes down.” And Wendig had some wise words about what makes Star Wars so appealing. (He also joked about Jar Jar being in Empire’s End, of course. But is it really that far-fetched? Really?)
An interview with Dark Empire writer Tom Veitch sheds some new light on the early ’90s Star Wars literature revival, including just how much input George Lucas had and how DE and Heir to the Empire somehow ended up in the same continuity.
→ The Lucasfilm Story Group’s Rayne Roberts recently appeared on the Black Nerd Girls podcast, where she talks about The Force Awakens, Star Wars lit, and even dodges a Rogue One question.
Matthew Ruddle, marketing manager for Penguin Random House UK, dropped a few news bits on the livestream Sunday morning. Most notable is that Alexander Freed (Battlefront: Twilight Company) is writing the Rogue One novelization.
He also revealed that Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel will be a prequel to his appearance on Rebels. “You’re going to get to see how Thrawn got to his position of power, how he became so respected in the Empire, and just what makes him such a brilliant villain and tactician,” Ruddle said.
Alas, he couldn’t share even that much detail on James Luceno’s Catalyst, which was also announced yesterday. “If you’re going to be watching Rogue One, you need to read Catalyst,” Ruddle said. “It ties in, it connects dots.”
Grand Admiral Thrawn was revealed as a villain in Star Wars Rebels S3, and that’s not even the whole of it. Timothy Zahn – who gave his blessing to the Rebels version via video – is writing a canon Thrawn novel that’ll be out in April 2017.
The Rebels Thrawn is being voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, Mads Mikkelsen’s brother.
Thrawn, who originated in Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in 1991, is the first Legends character to make the jump to the new canon.
When asked if Mara Jade could be next, Filoni was fairly straightforward: “No, not likely.” (I am, for the record, more than okay with that.) Filoni also said that the ysalamiri aren’t making the leap to canon, although there are some visual nods to them in the production design of Thrawn’s introduction.
On his Facebook, Zahn said he’s just turned in the first draft of the novel.
The trailer also featured Wedge Antilles and a Force sensitive character named Bendu, who’s being voiced by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. For more on everything else about Rebels S3, head to StarWars.com.
Two episodes were show (but not livestreamed) and you can read one review, with some spoilers, over at io9.
Filoni and Lucasfilm’s Kiri Hart talk about how the show makes Thrawn work on Sunday, comparing him to Vader as a villain: “We want to treat him like a big time villain, as much as Darth Vader,” Filoni said. “But on the strategic, military side of things.”
Timothy Zahn was at Awesome Con 2016 in Washington D.C. this past weekend, and Tosche Station has the audio of the panel moderated by their own Bria LaVorgna.
Naturally, as the man who kick-started the modern Expanded Universe with Heir to the Empire, he was asked about Lucasfilm’s decision to to make the older books non-canon. Here’s that four-and-half-minute bit:
The Star Wars authors have always known how a sequel trilogy would effect the books, and it’s all fairly good sense. On the story group and folks like Pablo Hidalgo, Dave Filoni, and Kathleen Kennedy he says:
These are people who are not going to simply go and demolish stuff. If they have to destroy a part of it, overwrite it, it will be because its necessary to set up something else down the line. They’re not going to go with wanton destruction.
He points out that the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens is still barely filled in, and:
In a way, it’s kind of sad that it’s all ‘Legends,’ and not ‘real,’ but it was never really ‘real’ in the first place. We always knew Lucas could override anything that we’d done. But I think the Expanded Universe – and Star Wars – are in good hands.
In the full audio, he also talks about the possibility of his characters ending up in Rebels or the other new canon (he’s for it,) his thoughts on Kylo Ren, and (of course) Rey’s parentage.
The first Star Wars novel to be set after Return of the Jedi, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire was released in hardcover on May 1, 1991. It was the first major step out of what’s now called ‘the Dark Times,’ when Star Wars was (mostly) a dormant franchise. The book was immensely successful and helped prove there was still an audience for Star Wars
Although now classified as non-canon ‘Legends’, along with the rest of the pre-2014 Expanded Universe, Heir remains an important part of franchise and fandom history. Hell, we wouldn’t exist without it.
Also it’s a damn good story and you should read it (along with ’92’s Dark Force Rising and ’93’s The Last Command) if you haven’t already. Though note I am totally biased.