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 Anaimation – 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.