Update: The trailer for the Disney+ show Ahsoka has officially gone live. Given that we see Thrawn and they specifically mention Heir to the Empire, that lends even more credence to this theory. On top of that, the news that Dave Filoni will be directing a new Republic movie has us wondering if we’ll see an official crossover between Star Wars theatrical movies and Disney+ shows.
Spoiler for rebels season 4
Star Wars Celebration 2023 is only a few weeks away, which means we’re most likely going to get a slew of trailers and announcements. But there’s one thing some hardcore fans have been wondering, ever since the fifth episode of The Mandalorian Second Season. In this episode, Din teamed up with Ahsoka Tano before the epilogue of star wars rebels and we learn that she is looking for a Grand Admiral Thrawn. Casual fans probably shrugged their shoulders, but longtime fans of the books (and newcomers who’ve seen rebels) definitely had their ears perked up at that name. So who is he and what could this mean for the future of Star Wars on Disney+?
On Disney+, there’s a playground of stories overseen by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. These stories, which include The Mandalorian, Boba Fett’s BookAhsoka and the next Skeleton Crew, all take place in a period of approximately five years and more after Return of the Jedi. These stories are loosely connected, whether it’s Ahsoka appearing in Fett and Mando’s stories, or Mando appearing on Fett’s show for a few episodes. Later this year, Ahsoka will have her own show, which will potentially morph into something bigger as she searches the galaxy for both Thrawn and, by association, Ezra, both of whom went missing in the series finale. rebels (located just before the events of A thug).
If these stories tie together, one could imagine the shows eventually coming together in an Avengers-level event, akin to Crisis on Infinite Earth in the Arrowverse. Many fans, myself included, hope that this potential (read, very theoretical) crossover event would be a canonical retelling of perhaps the most iconic and beloved Star Wars trilogy outside of the original films. This trilogy is the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn, otherwise known as heir to the empire trilogy.
After Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, audiences were clamoring for more Star Wars content. They got three novels featuring Han and Chewie leading up to the release of Jedi and a Lando book trilogy in 1983, but nothing that moved the whole thing forward. This is until 1991, when heir to the empire has been freed. Set about five years after Return of the Jedi (as The Mandalorian), he saw the Imperial Remant return as a threat under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn, an alien military leader and tactical genius who was determined to restore Empire rule through military might and strategy. The novel introduced new characters, like Mara Jade, but Luke, Han, and Leia were at the forefront of the story, which, in addition to being a new narrative after the events of the films, made heir to the empire a #1 bestseller and launched the former Expanded Universe.
I think that by the very nature of these stories, they’re all interconnected in some way, and that Ahsoka deliberately left Thrawn behind in season two of The Mandalorian, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mando, Ahsoka, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker (maybe) and Skeleton Crew (and maybe various other supporting characters like Fennec) all team up to take on a new Imperial Remnant threat. under the reign of Thrawn, the master tactician. Another interesting idea is that Thrawn employed Cad Bane, who was apparently dead at the end of Boba Fett’s Book, but flickering lights say otherwise. Bane would then take on the role of Ruhk from the novels, seeing as he’s already been killed in canon in rebels.
The idea for this concept actually came from Kathleen Kennedy herself who teased such a crossover event on Investor Day 2020, stating that at the very least, Ahsoka and it now canceled New Republic Rangers would indeed cross paths in the future as part of an event. Whether it’s a streaming event movie or a new limited series or a theatrical movie remains to be seen, but I think these shows that Favreau and Filoni have curated will lead to some sort of big event that will serve as a conclusion. Here’s hoping Lucasfilm pulls the veil on this plan a bit sooner rather than later.