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Star Wars ABCs: T is for Thrawn

Star Wars

Star Wars ABCs: T is for Thrawn

Perhaps the greatest military mind to ever exist in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars ABCs is a fun 26-part series that partners Star Wars with your ABCs to introduce you to characters, droids, places, and creatures from every era of the franchise, including the newest venture into a galaxy far, far away — The High Republic.

T is for Thrawn



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Thrawn, also known as Mitth’raw’nuruodo, was a human Chiss male officer of the Chiss Ascendancy and Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy during the era of the Galactic Empire. Born as Kivu’raw’nuru with the core name of Vurawn, he was given the name Mitth’raw’nuru when he gained recognition as a member of the Chiss military. Thrawn was well known throughout the Empire and Chiss space as a cunning enemy and utterly brilliant and ruthless military strategist. He is widely considered one of the most capable and dangerous military commanders of all time, with many members of the Rebel Alliance theorizing that they could have never defeated the Empire if Thrawn had remained among Imperial ranks throughout the duration of the Galactic Civil War.

Mitth’raw’nuruodo was a Chiss, and like all members of his species he possessed striking blue skin, red eyes, and dark hair. His face was easily recognizable with its angular appearance and was known to rarely register emotion. Thrawn almost always exhibited a calm and collected demeanor, speaking slowly and methodically in a number of languages, including Cheunh, his native tongue; Sy Bisti, the language the Chiss used to communicate with traders; and Galactic Basic, which he learned from members of the Imperial Navy. The Grand Admiral was also known to be exceedingly polite and respectful, even towards members of the Imperial Navy that showed him disrespect due to him being an alien, and especially towards his foes, whom he often admired.

To the surprise of many who came to know him, Thrawn possessed a great appreciation for the arts and had an incredible collection of paintings, sculptures, music, and many other pieces of artwork. The truth behind the Grand Admiral’s collection wasn’t that he was a great lover of the arts, but that he used the artwork of his foes to help him understand their history, philosophy, and psyche, which in turn helped him develop strategies to defeat them.

As an officer in the Chiss military, Mitth’raw’nuruodo had a number of encounters with forces of the Galactic Republic, including Anakin Skywalker and, after the Republic’s fall, refugees from the Empire. Tales of the Empire’s cruelty and tyranny reached Thrawn’s ears with greater and greater frequency until he decided to seek counsel from the leaders of the Chiss Ascendancy on how the possible threat to the Chiss should be handled. Ultimately, Mitth’raw’nuruodo was given the mission to infiltrate the Empire in order to either make it an ally or weaken it enough to draw the eyes of the foes of the Chiss, which would in turn take pressure off of the Ascendancy.

After leaving Chiss space and making contact with the Empire, Thrawn met Cadet Eli Vanto, who helped him quickly assimilate into galactic society. Together, the pair graduated from the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant, which was followed by a rapid rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. At the height of his career, Thrawn had attained the rank of Grand Admiral, the third-highest rank possible within the Imperial Navy under Admiral of the Fleet and Chief of the Imperial Navy, respectively. As a Grand Admiral, Thrawn was tasked with commanding the 7th Fleet and its flagship, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Chimaera.

During his time in the Imperial Navy, Thrawn worked to squash the rapidly growing rebellion that was spreading throughout the Empire. This brought him into conflict with Captain Hera Syndulla of Phoenix Squadron and the Rebel Alliance on a number of occasions. Syndulla’s rebels were such a nuisance that Thrawn was tasked by Darth Vader and the Emperor himself to eliminate them. During the Liberation of Lothal the rebels under Syndulla’s command, a pack of native Loth wolves and local liberation forces defeated Thrawn and Imperial Forces in a decisive victory that would be the Grand Admiral’s final and worst defeat as a member of the Empire. Following the surprise appearance of a large pod of purrgil, Thrawn’s fleet was devastated and the Grand Admiral was captured by the Jedi padawan Ezra Bridge. Together, Bridger and Thrawn were shot into hyperspace to an unknown location by the purrgil and that was the last time both individuals were ever seen.

You can join Thrawn on his adventures in the Star Wars: Rebels animated TV series on Disney+ and in the Thrawn book series by Timothy Zahn.

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