Grand Admiral Thrawn is Coming to Star Wars Rebels Season 3

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(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars Rebels anchored the Celebration Stage at Star Wars Celebration Europe Saturday evening, with a panel including the first two full episodes of season 3. But before the world premiere of those new episodes, showrunner Dave Filoni and stars Sam Witwer (Darth Maul) and Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren) took the stage to tease the season and make some announcements.

One of the heavily teased and rumored announcements was that a new character, oft-requested, would be making the jump to animation in Star Wars Rebels and that announcement came early in the panel. Grand Admiral Thrawn will join the series in guest appearances in the third season, bringing the fan-favorite character to animation - and to Star Wars canon - for the first time.

Thrawn was created by Timothy Zahn in the novel Heir to the Empire, the first of a trilogy now known as the "Thrawn Trilogy." It was the first, now completely non-canonical attempt to tell the story of what happens in the Star Wars galaxy after the Empire is defeated at the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Thrawn, a Grand Admiral, took over the remnants of the Empire, bringing them back together to fight back against the New Republic.

On the series, Thrawn is brought in, according to the trailer, to go after this particular Rebel faction. "I will pull the Rebels apart piece by piece," he says. "They'll be the architects of their own destruction." Actor Lars Mikkelsen voices him on the show.

A new novel, Star Wars: Thrawn is being written by Timothy Zahn, a new in-canon book featuring the character.

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Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD this fall, with Wedge Antilles also joining the Rebel Alliance.