'Star Wars: Episode IX' Actor Confirms He Isn't Playing Thrawn

Following the announcement of new cast members for Star Wars: Episode IX, fans immediately began to theorize about who all of the new performers might be playing. Richard E. Grant's stature and intimidating presence immediately made fans think that he could be playing Grand Admiral Thrawn, though the actor has shot down that rumor.

“I’m not playing the Star Wars character you just mentioned,” Grant shared with Radio Times when Thrawn was brought up. “I’m not allowed to tell you anything. Otherwise I would be fired."

It doesn't get much more definitive than that, regardless of whether you think Grant would have made a good choice to bring the Imperial to life. Clearly the actor had grown frustrated at fans spending the past month implying he would be playing the character in his first live-action appearance.

Much like Grant definitively refuted the theory that he's playing Thrawn, another absolute he shared was the amount of secrecy surrounding the project.

Grant added, “It’s a complete lockdown on any information whatsoever.”

The character was created by author Timothy Zahn in a number of Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, which have been deemed non-canonical. While many of the character's previous adventures had been erased from the Star Wars canon, Star Wars Rebels revived the character and returned him to his former glory thanks to his diabolical schemes.

The animated series helped spark interest in fans both new to and familiar with Thrawn, with Zahn ultimately delivering fans two all-new Thrawn novels. The excitement around the character has made him a front-runner for a character that fans would most like to see transition to a new film.

Earlier this year, the Star Wars Rebels finale teased that Thrawn and Ezra Bridger may have met their demise in the series' final moments, though Filoni confirmed not only did the characters survive the finale, but also that Thrawn survived the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

"The character takes shape around the voice. [Thrawn actor Lars Mikkelsen] is dedicated to getting it right, he understands that the character is important," Filoni revealed to StarWars.com. "His character outlived his brother’s [Mads Mikkelsen], who’s in Rogue One, which is a hilarious inside joke for us."

It's unclear how far into the future he may have lived and if he would have lived another few decades into the events of the new sequel trilogy, but we know that whatever Lucasfilm has planned for Thrawn, Grant isn't playing him.

Episode IX lands in theaters in December of 2019.

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[H/T Radio Times]