Warning: this article contains spoilers for Aftermath: Empire’s End related to Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The conclusion to Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy Aftermath: Empire’s End has revealed that it was Grand Admiral Thrawn who helped the Empire navigate their way out into the unknown regions of space — which were thought to be impossible to navigate — after losing their final battle at Jakku. It was then in the depths of the unknown regions that the remaining Imperial’s began to plot their return to the galaxy and design what would eventually become the First Order.
Thanks to a new excerpt from the upcoming novel revealed by ScreenRant, we now know just exactly how the Empire managed to navigate their way into the unknown regions of space. It turns out it was Thrawn who developed a navigation system for the Empire to help them chart their way into the unknown regions. The technology itself was developed at a secret observatory on Jakku which the Empire destroyed before they fled into hyperspace. You can read the excerpt below:
“…Palpatine had one in the navy who knew something of the Unknown Regions: Admiral Thrawn, an alien with ice-blue skin who came from beyond the borders of the known galaxy. Palpatine only kept that one around because of what he knew of traversing those deadly interstices. Much of what Thrawn knew went into the computations of this machine.”
What’s important about this information is that it reveals that Lucasfilm is continuing to develop Thrawn’s character in ways that remain completely faithful to the original incarnation created by author Timothy Zahn. So far, Star Wars Rebels has done an incredible job realizing the brilliant military tactician in new canon and if the Lucasfilm story group continues to remain faithful to Zahn’s incarnation, it’s possible Thrawn could still be around in the new trilogy, pulling the strings of the First Order from the shadows.
Thrawn was actually in the unknown regions during the Battle of Endor when Emperor Palpatine was killed. But it’s also possible he may already be dead considering he died in the expanded universe (now known as Legends) when he was stabbed by his own bodyguard before the Empire was able to dominate the galaxy once again.
ScreenRant has also reported that another passage in the novel alludes to Thrawn when the Empire’s new leader, Gallius Rax, explains that the Emperor’s Super Star Destroyer has traveled ahead into the unknown regions and is waiting for their arrival. It’s isn’t revealed who is commanding the Super Star Destroyer but Super Star Destroyers are usually commanded by Grand Admirals, hinting at the possibility Thrawn is the one waiting for Rax.
The character will be further explored this spring when the upcoming novel Thrawn is released this spring. The novel was written by Zahn who also wrote the legends novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command which was known as The Thrawn Trilogy and regarded by fans as the sequel trilogy before the Disney acquisition in 2012. Thrawn hits shelves April 11, 2017.
Aftermath: Empire’s End is available today.