Though Lucasfilm discarded a lot of the extended universe canon from the Star Wars franchise after being purchased by Disney, fans were thrilled when Grand Admiral Thrawn returned on Star Wars Rebels.
But given that Rebels takes place before the events of the original trilogy, fans have worried that the character would perish in this fourth and final season of the animated series. However, producer Dave Filoni's comments indicate that Thrawn fans shouldn't worry.
While discussing casting Lars Mikkelsen as the voice of Thrawn, Filoni slipped that the character has a longer-lasting presence than Galen Erso, one of the architects of the Death Star.
"The character takes shape around the voice. He is dedicated to getting it right, he understands that the character is important," said Filoni in a conversation with StarWars.com. "His character outlived his brother’s [Mads Mikkelsen], who’s in Rogue One, which is a hilarious inside joke for us."
Mads made a memorable but short-lived appearance as Galen in the Star Wars universe, setting the stage for the Rebels eventual defeat of the Empire in Star Wars: A New Hope. Lars, however, has been embodying the villainous Thrawn for two seasons of Rebels.
And Filoni's comments indicate that there are plans for Thrawn in the future, though no one knows for sure what it is at this point. Was Filoni teasing a plan for the character in his future project? Or just leaving the door open for an eventual appearance sometime in the future?
Thrawn has had a huge impact in the new Star Wars continuity, receiving a new book of the character's early days from famed scribe Timothy Zahn. The author of the original Thrawn trilogy has also penned another novel featuring the character which will pick up where his last book left off. Zahn has previously said that Darth Vader will feature heavily into the new book.
Maybe there's hope for Thrawn appearing in more media down the line, like one of the planned A Star Wars Story spinoffs.
For now, the character can be seen chasing down the Ghost crew in Star Wars Rebels, airing Mondays on Disney XD.