One of the most exciting aspects to the Star Wars canon in the last few years is making the fan-favourite character Grand Admiral Thrawn an official part of the galaxy far, far away through his inclusion in Star Wars Rebels. Author Timothy Zahn, who created the character in the early 1990s with the novel Heir to the Empire, has written two books about Thrawn in the new canon, Thrawn and Thrawn – Alliances, the latter of which saw Thrawn team up with Darth Vader on a mission to Batuu (more on that planet later). Now Zahn is following it up with Thrawn – Treason, pitting the Grand Admiral against Grand Moff Tarkin, Director Krennic and potentially Emperor Palpatine himself.
“Tarkin and Krennic are very polite and hate each other’s guts as they maneuver for advantage,” Zahn said of the plot. “Thrawn is not nearly as good at politics as either of them are and so he supposedly gets suckered into something he probably shouldn’t, a pawn in their game to control Stardust [the Death Star]. It does not turn out the way either of the others expect.” As for Palpatine’s role, “the title is Treason and anything that involves treason is going to involve the Emperor in one way or another.”
Readers can expect elements from the previous two novels to reappear in Treason as Zahn wraps up some loose ends, particularly with returning characters. Zahn revealed new and returning faces will include “Eli Vanto, Admiral Ar’alani and a whole Chiss warship. We have an assistant director to Krennic, who also doesn’t like Thrawn, and you remember the Grysks? They’re back.”
The fact that Thrawn has remained so popular for over two decades despite not appearing in any of the films or television until recently speaks to the power of the character. On keeping Thrawn fresh for himself and the fans, Zahn said “It’s largely a matter of figuring out what the battle is going to be or the problem he has to solve and working through the logic, the tactics and such. The big thing is Thrawn will come up to solutions for things that will take me days or longer. A large part of doing a Thrawn book is putting him with different types of people watching the dynamic play out. Some people will learn to respect him, some people never will and your story is about people, ultimately, and against the backdrop of what Thrawn is doing, what he’s trying to accomplish, whether he prevails with the people around him as they deal with each other and him.”
Star Wars: Thrawn – Treason will be released July 23.
With Batuu being the central planet of the Star Wars themed park Galaxy’s Edge set to open later this year, Lucasfilm and Disney are making sure to promote it as much as possible in external media. Phasma author Delilah S. Dawson is one of the first to take readers to Galaxy’s Edge through her upcoming book Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire. From what Dawson was able to reveal it not only continues the journeys of some of her Phasma characters, but takes place after The Last Jedi with the return of Resistance spy Vi Moradi.
“Vi gets a mission from General Organa to go to the planet of Batuu to the main settlement, Black Spire Outpost, to build a Rebel base there,” Dawson explained, “because, as we know after The Last Jedi, the rebels are really in needs of allies and hidey-holes. This is the last outpost in Wild Space before the Unknown Regions. It’s very Wild West. Much like Mos Eisley on Tatooine, it’s where you go to hide.” It also features the return of Cardinal, another character from Phasma who shared a rivalry with the titular Captain and has defected from the First Order.
Unlike other Star Wars novels, the fact that Batuu will be an actual place made it a little complex to Dawson as she had to adapt the location for the book and worked closely with Disney’s Imagineers. “It was very complex, especially since the map they gave me was only this big, it doesn’t expand and has my name on it in a giant watermarks! I couldn’t read the letters and had to beg for some more information so I had documents explaining stuff. The super exciting part was coming up with the characters. Leia sends Vi down and, of course, everything goes wrong. Vi has a surly droid, an injured helper and she has to build a base. She has to gather her crews. I watched a lot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and thought ‘What would it be like for a group of recruits who are not very organized to build a base?’ This is, like, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine of Star Wars with these people.”
She did detail a lot of the park’s layout for the book with help from the Imagineers. “As you walk through, you see the route you would take walking into Galaxy’s Edge. You see what you would see in the marketplace. You see the characters that you would see in the marketplace. I’d taken some of the lore they gave me and also explained why there’s a gunship in a certain place, what happened to the cantina there.” It sounds as if a lot of work was put in by Dawson and the Galaxy’s Edge team to faithfully recreate the park for the book and other media.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire will be released August 27.