If you haven’t heard already, the big news coming at the end of October is this. Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and they have targeted 2015 as the year in which they will release Star Wars Episode VII.
Obviously enough, this is all kinds of shocking, celebratory, yet also controversial; fans of Star Wars remained quite understandably mixed about their feelings towards the prequel trilogy, and while Star Wars has had its shinier moments since the original films (Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, Jedi Outcast, Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront, the Clone Wars miniseries), it has also had its dismal moments (The Clone Wars film, the Clone Wars real series, The Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, the Dark Horse comics, half the expanded universe…). What that means, is that until we see an actual trailer, fans are going to be arguing and debating the plot and/or the lore behind what shall be used to make what will likely be the biggest box office sensation that year alongside The Avengers 2.
If Lucasfilm is basing Episode 7 on any kind of pre-established lore, then consider this my prediction. If Lucasfilm doesn’t actually have a script or a base of ideas, then consider this my recommendation.
The Thrawn Trilogy will/should be the lore that Star Wars Episode 7 (and 8 & 9) are based on.
A brief non-spoiler explanation is required.
The Thrawn Trilogy is a series of three books by author Timothy Zahn. They are:
- Heir to the Empire
- Dark Force Rising
- The Last Command
Five years after the destruction of the Second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine, the Rebel Alliance has through a very slow and arduous process established itself as the New Galactic Republic. Its founders include Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, and Leia Organa Solo (yes, they got married). Leia is pregnant with twins; a boy and a girl – Jacen and Jaina respectively. She is also being trained in the Jedi Arts by Luke Skywalker.
The Empire is all but finished. All twelve of the Emperor’s Grand Admirals have surrendered to the Republic. However, there is one Grand Admiral that they’ve never heard of – the only non-human that Palpatine ever appointed to that position. His real name is Mitth’raw’nuruodo. But his core name is Thrawn.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, in collaboration with Captain Gilad Pellaeon of the Chimaera rallied the last remnants of the scattered and broken Imperial forces into a single fleet and kept them moving and evading the eyes of the Republic that was all but hoping that the Empire was finally dead. In the trilogy, Thrawn plots the destruction of the New Republic with a growing assembly of interesting tools and allies at his disposal and…well now that would be telling, wouldn’t it.
Go read the books for yourself; they’re phenomenal.
Thrawn is unquestionably one of the most interesting new characters in the Star Wars universe – he’s right up there with Darth Bane, Revan, Dash Rendar, and Kyle Katarn. His homeworld is Csilla and he is of the Chiss species. They have all the characteristics of humans…except their skin is blue. Unlike the other Grand Admirals who worshipped Darth Vader, Thrawn was appalled by him. Thrawn was known for his creativity, his cunning, and his wits, and he liked to reward and encourage others that shared those qualities, not punish them for it. He punished not necessarily those who failed, but those who failed to take responsibility for their failures. His men respected him not out of fear, but out of awe. And the only reason Emperor Palpatine saw fit to promote Thrawn to the position of Grand Admiral was because Palpatine respected him, and because Thrawn had earned it.
The reason Thrawn was off the Rebel Alliance’s radar is because his work was primarily done in the Unknown Regions, far beyond Endor and the Outer Rim. Thrawn put down local uprisings and in one instance, led the campaign against a rogue Grand Admiral after saving the Emperor’s life in an assassination attempt. Thrawn remained in the Unknown Regions with his fleet until news broke that the Emperor was dead.
As an individual, Thrawn understood his place and more importantly, he understood his mission. He didn’t care about status or self-glory. All he cared about was getting the job done – crushing the rebellion tactically, strategically, and morally. He didn’t win every battle; when he did, it was a big victory. When he didn’t, it was a small defeat that he would adapt from. As for his intellect, it came from his admiration and examination of alien art. Art, according to Thrawn, was how species and societies defined themselves. You could learn everything you need to know about a group of people by examining their expressive methods of art, and by doing so, you could also identify their weaknesses and predict their every move. And in many cases, that’s precisely what he did.
The other reason I think Episode 7 should feature the Thrawn Trilogy is because…well, there isn’t really much else. The Empire surrendered at Bakura, but that was only one book. The next big thing after this was the Second Galactic Civil War. I can’t even begin to go into that because of the amount of spoilers that would entail. After that, it’s the Yuuzhan Vong War, over 100 years later, but to film that would just be creepy and depressing. With the Thrawn Trilogy, you get a relatively simple, intriguing, and relevant story to supplement the original Star Wars trilogy in a way that the prequels (whether you like them or not) never could.
Episode 7 and those that follow don’t have to follow the Thrawn trilogy by the letter, but the breadth of material provided from the lore is the perfect place to launch. And I pray to the Force that they do so.