The next two episodes of Star Wars Rebels, ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commandeers,’ will have two special guest stars. Warwick Davis is voicing Rukh, the show’s second big Legends transplant, while Seth Green is doing duty as Captain Seevor, a Trandoshan. Nerdist has a preview clip.
Two big things (for our purposes, at least) came out of Celebration’s Rebels panel. It will be the show’s final season, but Grand Admiral Thrawn’s bodyguard (in the books) Rukh will make an appearance before it’s gone for good. The character will be only the second character from the Thrawn trilogy to make it to canon on Rebels. And, the kicker: He’s being voiced by Warwick Davis.
Given the timeline, I wouldn’t expect him to play quite the same role in the show that he did in the books – but you never know.
The show itself ending is not a particularly big surprise, but as Dave Filoni pointed out at the panel, this gives him a chance to take it out properly. This certainly won’t be the last we see from Lucasfilm Animation – and I’m not talking about Forces of Destiny.
We also got to see the first episode of S4. I won’t say much, but it was the first part of a two-parter set on Mandalore.
Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader ongoing may be ending with #25, but he’s on board for the replacement – which has been solicited as simply Star Wars: Classified. He’ll be joined by artist Kev Walker, who’s not quite new to Star Wars – he did a cover for Dark Horse’s Republic #55 back in 2003. The new comic, which will also be an ongoing title, will be launched with a number of variant covers in December.
→ The Force Awakens novelization in paperback will contain two short stories: Alan Dean Foster’s ‘Bait’ (from Star Wars Insider #162) and Delilah Dawson’s ‘The Perfect Weapon,’ which was released as an eBook.
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?
Jedi Bibliothek noted a listing saying that Timothy Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy – Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command – will be getting new cover art in the fall. (The listing may only be visible to logged-in users – here’s a screenshot.) The new art hasn’t been revealed, but it certainly makes sense to give them a refresh, particularly given that this information appears in a listing for Zahn’s upcoming Thrawn novel. The new book will be canon and tied to the character’s Rebels appearance, but his Legends origins aren’t exactly a secret.
In short: Whatever the covers are, expect Grand Admiral Thrawn to be much more prominent. (And will we finally see ‘The Thrawn Trilogy’ as an official designation?) Which has apparently already happened, my bad.
The current cover art has been the same – with occasional design and typography tweaks like the Legends banner – since the books were released in the early 90’s. A 2011 anniversary edition of Heir introduced a more graphical look, but proved to be a one-off.
The editions with the new art are due out on September 27, but will maintain their current ISBNs and may be slow to find as stores restock.
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.
Last night, after the announcement that Rebels S3 would debut at Celebration Europe, Dave Filoni tweeted “I’m looking forward to seeing you all at #SWCE 2016! And remember, there’s always a bit of truth in legends.” He included the above picture, the spine of a Star Wars novel, which Pete on Twitter believes to be Heir to the Empire.
This could line up with a rumor that sent a lot of excitement through fandom… (And yes, I do hope it’s that character, not another candidate.) I guess we’ll find out for sure in July! (Or earlier, if there are toy leaks.)
If it is indeed a character, this could turn out to be the biggest port from Legends to the new canon yet.
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.