Making Star Wars is reporting that a big – and actually surprising – cameo is on the way for Rebels season 3. It’s so big and surprising that I’m actually going to a cut to discuss it.
Jason says this morning that none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn will appear in the upcoming third season. The Chiss Imperial was the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe’s first (and maybe last) serious villain, originating in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in 1991. He didn’t last out that particular trilogy, but he remained one of the EU’s more popular original characters. Heir, like all the pre-2014 Expanded Universe, is currently Legends, basically an alternate timeline.
Thrawn would be a much easier character to incorporate into the new canon than Mara, but an almost-direct port – assuming he retains his Legends name – will have some interesting implications. Many background items from Legends have been ported over into the new canon, but not any major characters. (Note that Thrawn becoming canon would not automatically mean anything else from the Zahn novels would be, including his own background.)
This also raises a question about the mysterious figure Admiral Sloane reports to in Aftermath. If it is intended to be Thrawn – as many guessed/hoped at the time – we could get a confirmation in the next book, Life Debt, which is out in July.
In any case, Season 3 of Rebels is a long way away for viewers, so we’ll see…