CC@H: Timothy Zahn On Exploring Admiral Thrawn’s Backstory For Upcoming STAR WARS Novel

If it weren’t for Timothy Zahn, the look of the literary arm of the Star Wars galaxy would be different indeed.

Zhan is the Hugo Award-winning author whose 1991 novel Heir To The Empire relaunched the Star Wars franchise as a series of novels for fans hungry for more adventure in a galaxy far away long before even a mention of the Prequel Trilogy was being whispered. And it was also with that book that he introduced the character of the blue-skinned Chiss, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Zahn’s Thrawn became such a popular character among fans that he made numerous appearances beyond that first trilogy of novels. He also has the distinction of being the most major character from the original novel canon to be carried over to the franchise’s new continuity when Disney bought Lucasfilm and decreed that they would begin making new Star Wars films in addition to making appearances in the animated Star Wars: Rebels series.

And now, Thrawn is set to take center stage again in a new trilogy of novels that will explore the alien admiral as well as the world from which he came from.

Yesterday at Comic-Con@Home’s “Lucasfilm Publishing: Stories From A Galaxy Far, Far Away” panel, Zahn talked about the new upcoming trilogy of books and what it is like writing the character comes pretty easy after having him inhabit his head for three decades now.

“I’ve been writing him so long it’s not like I have to remember how he functions or how he thinks,” Zahn stated. “It’s just meeting up with him again. I’ve got his mental patterns, his tacticle ideas pretty much already established in my mind. I just have to put him in new situations and figure out how he would solve them, how he would interact with the people around him, that sort of thing.”

As for the setting of the new story, Zahn is excited to be exploring the world and culture that Thrawn came from and how that has shaped the character.

“So with this new trilogy I am being able to basically build up the Chizz Ascendency and the culture from the ground up, exploring howw the families work, how the military works, their relationships with others in the area,” he explains. “The focus will be on Thrawn, of course, his interactions bringing a whole bunch of new characters in. And there will be an emergence of a new threat against the Ascendency, someone’s got them in their sights and its going to be up to our heroes to figure out where these attacks are coming from, how they are being done and how to deal with them.”

The first installment of the Thrawn: Ascendency trilogy is titled Chaos Rising and is slated to be in bookstores this fall.

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About Rich Drees 6949 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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