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?)
They are, without a doubt, a vast improvement over the very dated originals. And that’s certainly a lot of the eponymous Grand Admiral Thrawn, which makes sense as his forthcoming Rebels appearance is the catalyst for the long-overdue refresh.
I am sad to see that our namesake Mara Jade didn’t make the cut this time. Sure, Thrawn is becoming canon and she isn’t, but she is a major character in these books – and one of the most popular Legends characters ever. Did they just not want to get our hopes up?
Del Rey revealed their complete timeline of Star Wars books this week, featuring their new canon novels (and a short story.) It doesn’t include books from the other publishers (like Marvel’s comics or Disney Lucasfilm Press’ Lost Stars or the upcoming Ahsoka) but it’s a good starting place for anyone who needs it.
→ Speaking of starting places, StarWars.com has a nice primer on Grand Admiral Thrawn from Linda Hansen-Raj for anyone who wants to do some reading before he returns on Rebels. (Or just to learn what all that fuss was about.) On that note, Zahn’s Thrawn is now available for pre-order.
With most of the book news (for our purposes) dropping at Celebration – the authors of Catalyst and the Rogue One novelization and Thrawn – the SDCC panel was fairly light on news, but there was plenty of discussion.
There were two cover reveals, though: The Art of Rogue One and the back cover of Aftermath: Empire’s End, which you can see below.
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.”