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[Legends of Star Wars]
[The New Republic] Grand Admiral Thrawn
The New Republic
circa 9 years after the Battle of Yavin


[Grand Admiral Thrawn]

Not since the time of the Emperor or Darth Vader could the mention of one man's name induce the fear in the hearts of the New Republic leaders and military. But, then Grand Admiral Thrawn was no normal man - an outstanding military tactician (said to rival Admiral Ackbar!); leader and art lover.
Grand Admiral Thrawn's military genuis is derived from his belief that the knowledge and understanding of your enemies art is fundamental to understanding your enemy. And thus the ability to defeat him.
Information on the early career of Grand Admiral Thrawn, or using his real name, Mitth'raw'nuruodo, is sparse. This is not at all surprising, as Emperor Palpatine would have been reluctant to advertise that one of the twelve Grand Admirals was not human. But what is remarkable is that an alien from the Unknown Regions came to join the Empire at all, and even more extraordinary that he was able to rise through the ranks.
Sometime between the Battle of Naboo and The Clone Wars, the Outbound Flight - a survey convoy of Jedi Masters sent into the Unknown Regions by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine - was destroyed by a Chiss fleet tricked into believing the Jedi were planning to

invade the Chiss homeworlds. Although outnumbered and using inferior weapons, Thrawn's genius in strategy and logic ensured the destruction of the Outbound Flight by the smaller alien fleet.
But Mitth'raw'nuruodo's "victory" wasn't celebrated on Csilla, the Chiss' homeworld. Instead, the ruling houses could not understand Mitth'raw'nuruodo's use of pre-emptive attacks to destroy the "Republic envoy". Thrawn was placed under house arrest and was never to command a Chiss fleet again. (story: Outbound Flight).
When Palpatine declared himself Emperor and formed the New Order, he sought out the alien genius from the Unknown Regions. Finding Thrawn on a barren jungle world, the blue-skinned alien was recruited into the Imperial Navy. (story: Mist Encounter)
However the Emperor's non-alien policy ensured that Thrawn's first Star Destroyer command would be away from the core systems of the Empire and the war against the Rebel Alliance. Attaining command of the Star Destroyer Admonitor and orders to map the Unknown Regions for the Empire, Thrawn returned to save his own homeworld from all manners of encroaching threats. One such incident, and how Thrawn dealt with it showed Thrawn's skills of leadership and strategy, the pirates of Ebruchi. (story: Command Decision)

Prior to the Battle of Yavin, Thrawn took part in an action against the criminal organisation Black Sun, helping to destroy their operations in the Corellian sector. During this operation, Thrawn showed his willingness to take matters into his own hands when it was necessary. He disguised himself as Boba Fett-wannabe Jodo Kast. With the assistance of two Corellian intelligence agents, father and son team Hal and Corran Horn, Thrawn skillfully manipulated all sides, leaving himself free to conduct operations as he saw fit. (story: Side Trip)
Thrawn also took this time to establish a secret base of operations on the distant world of Nirauan.
Following the Battle of Yavin, Thrawn returned to the Empire and his rise through the ranks continued unabated. Thrawn earned Vader's respect when he was instrumental in disposing of the treacherous Grand Admiral Zaarin. His reward was promotion to the rank of Grand Admiral and given access to Vader's secret Noghri army. (video game: TIE Fighter)
After the Battle of Hoth, Thrawn returned to mapping the Outer Rim and the Unknown Regions and thus his promotion to Grand Admiral was missed by Alliance Intelligence, as was his very existence. When the Emperor and Darth Vader were killed at the Battle of Endor, Thrawn returned to his base at Nirauan. He studied his enemies and waited for the remnants of the empire to stop fighting amongst themselves.

[Grand Admiral Thrawn]

Thrawn waited for five years.
When he felt the time was right; when the last of the squabbling Warlords had been defeated; when the New Republic was least expecting it; he returned to take command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet (then under the command of Captain Gilad Pellaeon). He fashioned a strong military challenge to the New Republic, which he refused to accept as legitimate and still referred to as the Rebellion.

He figured out a way to neutralise the reforming Jedi Knights with the Force repelling ysalamiri. On the planet Wayland, Thrawn used the former Emperor's warehouse to build a new clone army. He recruited the mad Dark Jedi clone Joruus C'boath in an attempt to "turn" Luke Skywalker. He made use of the secret Noghri army as assassins and hunters to track and capture Leia Organa Solo and her twin children. He planted his ultimate spy network amongst the Senate buildings on Coruscant, known as Delta Source and it's information was impeccable.
He began his campaign against the New Republic with a series of hit-and-run missions in the Bpfassh and Sluis systems. Missions that were successful and showed that the reformed Imperial fleet was ready to take on and defeat the forces of the New Republic. Using unconventional tatics, such as deploying stolen mole miners against the shipyards of Sluis Van; releasing cloaked asteroids in orbit around Coruscant in a attempt to "trap" the New Republic leaders on Coruscant; Thrawn ensured that his reputation as a tactician would be immortalised forever amongst the psyche of the New Republic.
However, at the climatic Battle of Bilbringi, Thrawn's undoing would manifest itself. Just as victory was in his hand, the last Grand Admiral was killed by his own bodyguard. The Noghri that Thrawn had trusted, had in fact been tricked into a life of servitude by Darth Vader. A trick that was revealed by Vader's own daughter - Leia Organa-Solo. With Thrawn dead, the momentum of the Imperial attack died with him, and the threat posed by the Imperial forces against the fledging New Republic. (stories: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command)
The Imperial forces, now commanded by Captain Pellaeon, scattered, reformed, and scattered again in the ensuing power vacuum. But, the threat to the New Republic that Thrawn posed would never be forgotten. When, ten years after the Battle of Bilbringi, word of the return of the Grand Admiral began to surface, panic spread quickly across the New Republic. Many worlds started to demand protection against the returning Thrawn, and the forces of the Republic gathered to meet the new threat. However, Luke Skywalker and his future wife, Mara Jade, discovered Thrawn's hidden base on Nirauan and an incubating clone of Thrawn. Also, the "new" Thrawn that threatened the Republic was no more than an impostor created by Imperial conspirators in a last attempt of Imperial conquest. With the impostor unmasked and the clone dead, the threat to the galaxy from Grand Admiral Thrawn was finally over. (stories: Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future)

Star Wars Legends stories featuring Grand Admiral Thrawn (in chronological order):
Outbound Flight   Mist Encounter   Command Decision
by Timothy Zahn   by Timothy Zahn   by Timothy Zahn
(novel)   (short story)   (short story)
Side Trip   Heir to the Empire   Dark Force Rising
by T. Zahn & M. A. Stackpole   by Timothy Zahn   by Timothy Zahn
(short story)   (novel)   (novel)
The Last Command   Specter of the Past   Vision of the Future
by Timothy Zahn   by Timothy Zahn   by Timothy Zahn
(novel)   (novel)   (novel)

Behind the legend:
In publishing terms Thrawn's first appearance was in 1991 in Heir to the Empire. 


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