Star Wars Theory Reveals Thrawn’s Secret Weapon Has A High Republic Connection
A brand-new hypothesis regarding the upcoming villain in The Mandalorian era, Grand Admiral Thrawn, suggests that he might be deploying a covert weapon linked to the High Republic. Lucasfilm, the parent company of Star Wars, has revealed their future plans for the franchise, including The Mandalorian and its spinoffs, at Star Wars Celebration 2023, adopting a similar approach to Marvel with an interconnected series of stories leading up to a climactic cinematic event. Grand Admiral Thrawn, an Imperial leader from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe who has now become a key canon villain, will be the main antagonist.
In Star Wars Rebels, the canonical version of Grand Admiral Thrawn made his first appearance as an alien military leader assigned to quash a nascent rebellion on Lothal. Thrawn was a ruthless and brilliant strategist who would have emerged victorious if not for the Force, which warned Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger of Thrawn’s impending intervention. Ezra devised a trap using Star Wars’ space whales, the purrgils, and ensnared Thrawn’s flagship in their tentacles, whisking it away into the Unknown Regions. Years later, he will return in Ahsoka, portrayed in live-action by Lars Mikkelsen, who lent his voice to the Grand Admiral in Rebels. Thrawn is the self-proclaimed heir to the Empire and a formidable adversary who may possess a weapon capable of taking down Jedi warriors like Ahsoka and Jude Law’s enigmatic Order 66 survivor.
Grand Admiral Thrawn was initially introduced in Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn trilogy” as a unique type of Star Wars villain who posed a threat because of his military genius rather than his Force powers. However, Thrawn’s possession of a weapon capable of disrupting Force powers, the ysalamiri, made him a problem for Force-sensitives like Luke Skywalker. In Legends, the ysalamiri evolved on the planet Myrkr, where Force-hunting predators called vornskrs were prevalent. The ysalamiri developed a defense mechanism, creating a bubble around themselves that repels the Force. Thrawn weaponized the ysalamiri against Luke and other Force-sensitives, using them to negate Force-powers. The ysalamiri played a crucial role in Star Wars’ Thrawn trilogy but have yet to appear in canon. Nevertheless, Star Wars Rebels subtly hinted at them, and even connected the creatures to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was depicted standing in front of sculptures of ysalamiri, indicating their importance to him.
The Mandalorian era already has at least three active Order 66 survivors, Ahsoka Tano, Grogu, and Jude Law’s mysterious character, making ysalamiri hugely beneficial to Thrawn. The ysalamiri originate from Myrkr in Legends, a planet referenced in Star Wars canon, and potentially from Planet X, a mysterious world rich in the Force situated in the Unknown Regions, introduced in Star Wars: The High Republic. The Nameless, savage Force predators, are native to Planet X, posing a significant threat to Jedi during the High Republic Era. As ysalamiri use the Force to hunt, the ysalamiri’s natural defenses would be effective against them. Grand Admiral Thrawn, an outcast from the Chiss, an alien race from the Unknown Regions, may have discovered ysalamiri on Planet X during his time in exile. This new approach serves as a smart retcon, linking the various narrative threads of Star Wars canon together, and would make Thrawn a genuine threat to Jedi warriors, not just a military adversary.
Star Wars: The High Republic has emerged as one of the most successful transmedia initiatives in the history of Star Wars, and Lucasfilm would be wise to subtly link it to the franchise’s future plans. Ysalamiri would add another exciting element to the old Expanded Universe, reworked to fit the newer canon, and make Grand Admiral Thrawn an even more formidable opponent. It remains to be seen whether this theory proves correct and whether ysalamiri will appear in live-action in Ahsoka or beyond, but it is undoubtedly an exciting direction for Star Wars.
A new Star Wars theory suggests Grand Admiral Thrawn, set to be the main villain of The Mandalorian era, is using a secret weapon linked to the High Republic. At Star Wars Celebration 2023, Lucasfilm finally unveiled their plans for the franchise’s future – including for The Mandalorian and its associated spinoffs. Lucasfilm is essentially following the Marvel model, with a series of stories intertwining and building to a head in a climactic cinematic event. The villain is Grand Admiral Thrawn, an Imperial leader introduced in the old Star Wars Expanded Universe who has now become a major canon villain.
The canon version of Grand Admiral Thrawn made his debut in Star Wars Rebelsan alien military leader who was tasked with crushing a nascent rebellion on Lothal. Ruthless and intelligent, Thrawn would have triumphed if not for the Force, which warned Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger that Thrawn’s fleet would intervene at the worst possible moment. Ezra set a trap using the purrgils, Star Wars‘ space whales; Thrawn’s flagship was snared in their tentacles, and spirited away into the Unknown Regions. He’s set to return years later in Ahsokaplayed in live-action by Lars Mikkelsen, who voiced the Grand Admiral in Rebels. Thrawn is the self-styled heir to the Empire, a true force to be reckoned with – and he may well have a weapon against Jedi like Ahsoka and Jude Law’s mysterious Order 66 survivor.
Grand Admiral Thrawn’s Force Weapon, The Ysalamiri, Explained
Grand Admiral Thrawn was originally created in Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn trilogy,” making his debut in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire. He was created as a different kind of Star Wars villain, one who posed a threat because of his military genius rather than his Force powers. But Thrawn was still a problem for Force-sensitives like Luke Skywalker, because he had acquired a weapon to be used against them; he kept creatures known as ysalamiri that repelled the Force. In Legends, the ysalamiri had evolved on the planet Myrkr, where there are predators called vornskr who hunt using the Force. The ysalamiri had evolved a defense, creating bubbles around them that effectively repel the Force. Thrawn weaponized the ysalamiri against Luke and other Force-sensitives, using them to disrupt Force-powers.
The ysalamiri played a key role in Star Wars‘ Thrawn trilogy, and they have yet to be seen in canon. But Star Wars Rebels subtly hinted at them, and even connected the creatures to Grand Admiral Thrawn; a lover of art, Thrawn was seen standing in front of sculptures of ysalamiri, suggesting he viewed them as particularly important. Given Thrawn knew he was out of his depth dealing with the Force – a lesson he initially learned when he confronted a powerful creature called the Bendu, and one surely reinforced when he was defeated in Star Wars Rebels‘ ending – he would have good reason to research ways to protect himself from Force-sensitives. The Mandalorian era is already confirmed to have at least three active Order 66 survivors – Ahsoka Tano, Grogu, and Jude Law’s mysterious character – so ysalamiri would be very useful indeed for Thrawn.
Star Wars: The High Republic Has Potentially Set Up A New Ysalamiri Homeworld
In Legends, the ysalamiri originate from a planet named Myrkr situated on the Outer Rim. Myrkr has indeed been referenced in Star Wars canon, and even another Force-sensitive species from the planet – a sentient race of trees called the Neti – have been referenced. But Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative has potentially set up another place where the ysalamiri could have evolved, a mysterious planet rich in the Force known only as Planet X.
Situated in the Unknown Regions, Planet X is still something of a mystery. It is the homeworld of monstrous Force predators called the Nameless, savage beasts that feed on the Force. During the High Republic Era, the Nameless were used by a cult called the Path of the Open Hand and a band of pirates called the Nihil, proving to be a terrifying threat to the Jedi. The Nameless do not appear to survive the High Republic Era – there have been references to a “Nameless Purge,” likely the plot of Star Wars: The High Republic Phase III – but they could easily have evolved on the same world as the ysalamiri. Like vornskrs, ysalamiri use the Force to hunt, so the ysalamiri’s natural defenses would be effective against them.
Grand Admiral Thrawn Could Have Discovered The Ysalamiri On Planet X
Planet X is situated in the Unknown Regions, a vast unexplored area of space. Grand Admiral Thrawn is actually an outcast from the Chiss, an alien race from the Unknown Regions, so it’s entirely possible he is more familiar with Planet X than others in the Star Wars galaxy. This is also where he is believed to have been stranded since Star Wars Rebels season 4. The Unknown Regions are extremely difficult to navigate, due to a series of chained supernova explosions that had warped and distorted hyperspace, so it’s easy to imagine it taking years for Thrawn to get back. He could easily have taken the time to visit Planet X, seeking ysalamiri to be used against Force-sensitives.
It’s true the ysalamiri do not originate from Planet X in Legends, but this new approach serves as a smart retcon that would draw the various narrative threads of Star Wars canon together. Star Wars: The High Republic has proved to be one of the most successful transmedia initiatives in the history of Star Warsand Lucasfilm would be wise to link to it in a subtle way. Meanwhile, ysalamiri would make Thrawn a true threat – not just a military foe, but also one whose mere presence causes problems for Jedi like Ahsoka and Jude Law’s character. This would be an exciting direction for Star Warsone that incorporates another element of the old Expanded Universe while reworking it to fit with the newer canon. It will be exciting to see whether this particular theory proves correct, and whether ysalamiri do indeed appear in live-action in Ahsoka or even beyond.