Rebels has a new Big Bad, and it's an old Big Bad — Grand Admiral Thrawn, the brilliant Imperial military commander who took over the remnants of the Empire in the old Expanded Universe, as revealed in the very first EU novel trilogy by Timothy Zahn. But that's just the tip of the X-Wing of the fun in this giant trailer.
Some things to note about Thrawn: 1) He's definitely referred to as "Grand Admiral." 2) There's no mention of anything else from Heir to the Empire or the other two books of the trilogy, so don't go think those novels have suddenly been added wholesale to the new canon. 3) He's being voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, brother of Rogue One star Mads. 3) Timothy Zahn sent a video message giving his full approval. Nice!
Thrawn may be the most exciting new arrival in Rebels' third season, but he's hardly the only one — sounds like we're also going to get to meet a young Imperial pilot who wants to defect to the Rebellion,who happens to be named Wedge.
A few thoughts:
Lots of new looks! Both Ezra and Sabine have new 'dos, and man, Kanan looks sharp wth his new beard.
Ezra may still be meandering down the path of the Dark Side, but he's also picked up some impressive Jedi combat moves along the way. I'm curious to see how Ezra manages to stay in contact with Darth Maul, as I sincerely doubt Kanan would approve.
The large, wise creature talking to Kanan is the Bendu, named after after of George Lucas' original terms for the Jedi, the Jedi-Bendu. The Bendu has a real Miyazaki feel to him (to me, at least), and he's voiced by Doctor Who's Tom Baker.
So those creature statues in the back of Thrawn's office — could they be of ysalamiri, the creatures that the Expanded Universe Thrawn kept around because they somehow evolved to negate the Force in an area around them? If so, is this just an Easter Egg for fans of the original novels, or could they too be joining the new canon?