I am currently applying to be a freelance science fiction writer at CinemaBlend. As part of the application, I had to write a short essay on which Star Wars Expanded Universe character I would like to see in the new Star Wars movies. I may not get the job, I would like to share my thoughts with you.
Even though Lucasfilm has announced that they do not consider the current Star Wars Expanded Universe canon, it is still interesting to speculate what characters might be present in the sequel Star Wars movies. Out of all the many characters in the Expanded Universe, one in particular stands out as being a prime candidate for the sequel films: Grand Admiral Thrawn.
A little background: Thrawn appeared in Timothy Zahn’s excellent Heir to the Empire trilogy of novels, which were set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. With the Empire in ruins, Thrawn was the highest ranking Imperial officer still alive. He had spent years in uncharted space combating horrifying and mysterious threats. When Thrawn became aware of the fall of the Empire, he returned to known space to reclaim the glory of his government.
Among Imperial officers, Thrawn was unique. Contrary to the Empire’s xenophobic tendencies, Thrawn was a member of the alien race known as the Chiss. The Chiss were a reclusive and logical people. They excelled in science and warfare, making them essentially evil Vulcans. While the average Chiss was extremely intelligent, Thrawn stood high above his peers.
In his first encounters with the New Republic, Thrawn showed tactical brilliance, using strategies that had never been seen before. Knowing the relative weakness of his fleet, Thrawn avoided direct confrontation if possible, preferring to use unusual or covert means to destroy his opponents. These included cloak asteroids, a cloned Old Republic Jedi Knight and a mysterious lost Old Republic fleet of starships. You never knew what he was going to do.
What made Thrawn so interesting as a character (and why he is my favorite character) was not his tactical brilliance, but the way that he thought and interacted with his men. Thrawn had a sizable art collection, which he would use to discover the psychology of his enemies and find ways to destroy them. He rejected the Imperial policy of ruling with fear, and was a fair commander, only executing men if they had fatal errors.
These tendencies make Thrawn a great fit for the new Star Wars movies. Sequels and prequels have to find a balance between the old and the new. Thrawn would be able to bridge that gap. As an Imperial officer, audiences would be able to see the Empire back in action. The iconic spaceships, Stormtroopers and music of the Empire could be used again. However, Thrawn would also be able to give a new face to the Empire. Instead of having our heroes face off against another Dark Jedi or Sith Lord, they would be facing a man whose vast intellect made him dangerous, not supernatural powers. From what we have seen so far from the production of the new Star Wars movies, it seems as though the Empire is still alive. This means that the Empire will need a leader, and having a leader that is not a rehash of the Emperor or Darth Vader will give the franchise new life.
Audiences react well to characters similar to Thrawn. Last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness portrayed Khan as a cold, calculating villain, and was generally considered the best part of that movie. Classic villains such as Hannibal Lecter, Roy Batty, The Joker, and Alex DeLarge all show the intellectual, scheming villain. Thrawn’s cold, calculating personality would transfer well onto the screen and provide a new iconic villain for the Star Wars franchise.