Disney has been busy setting the global Star Wars canon straight for the past few years, but the Expanded Universe still has a few shake-ups in store. The big one, of course, is Thrawn. Starting in September, Timothy Zahn’s beloved “Thrawn Trilogy” of novels will be reissued with brand new covers.
Tom Jung, the artist behind the original Star Wars film posters, designed the original iconic covers for Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command back in 1991. Now, replacing Jung’s art with new splashly new covers by Rich Kelly is notable not only because it ditches art tied to the original trilogy, but also because the new art clearly depicts the central villain Grand Admiral Thrawn as the most important character of these novels. Plus, these lush covers are obviously anticipating Thrawn’s forthcoming re-canonization on the next season of Star Wars: Rebels.
New readers will get to experience one of the most highly regarded entries into the EU, but the goal seem to be (at least visually) to prepare them for the ever-growing revised Star Wars canon that just happens to now retroactively include Thrawn
One of the first casualties of Disney buying Lucasfilm was the announcement that any new Star Wars stories moving forward would not be chained to the pseudo-canon established by the Expanded Universe. At that point, the Expanded Universe was re-branded as “Star Wars Legends.” But then, this year’s Star Was Celebration in London yielded a surprise announcement. Admiral Thrawn would show up on Rebels, but also in a new 2017 book from Timothy Zahn entitled simply Thrawn.
Both of these new appearances for the character make him now officially in canon, even though the original Zahn books in which he originated, aren’t. And despite the new covers feeling a little bit like retcon, the material contained within will still be the same as it was in the 90’s. Even so, all of this new attention on Thrawn might give a Star Wars fan pause. If he can go from non-canon to “really” being part of Star Wars this quickly, could a film appearance be far behind? In other words: everyone would lose their shit if the blue-skinned baddie somehow had even a walk-on in Rogue One.