Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni has confirmed that the overarching evil for the New Republic era in Star Wars is Grand Admiral Thrawn.
In an interview with Empire Magazine, Filoni explained that he “definitely,” saw the character as the big bad for the Mandoverse, the collective name for the Disney+ shows that take place after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
“He’s [Thrawn] a critical player in this time period,” Filoni said.
He described Thrawn as a different type of evil to Darth Vader, and praised the work that Timothy Zahn did in the book Heir to the Empire.
“When Timothy Zahn wrote Heir to the Empire, Thrawn became this very iconic villain, because he was different than anything we’d seen before. He wasn’t another helmet-wearing, lightsaber-wielding bad guy you know?”
Later, Filoni explained: “In the words Star Wars, the war part of it – him being a Grand Admiral, a leader, a military strategist, a Moriarty archetype, someone that will out-think you, out-strategise you – that really resonated.”
Grand Admiral Thrawn is immensely popular, and on the first day of Star Wars Celebrations 2023 audiences got their first live-action look at him in the Ahsoka teaser.
The following day, it was revealed that Lars Mikkelsen will play the character in the show.
Mikkelsen previously voiced Thrawn in the animated show Star Wars: Rebels.
It was also announced that Filoni will be directing his own Star Wars film, focusing on the escalating war between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant.
While no characters have been confirmed, it is widely speculated that Thrawn will be the main villain of the film.
Filoni recently said that the film will have a ”clamouring of characters,” pulled from the old continuity called Star Wars Legends.
Audiences will see the Grand Admiral in action when Ahsoka is released on Disney+ in August 2023.