Timothy Zahn’s two Thrawn trilogies have done a lot to casually re-integrate elements of his highly influential work in the Expanded Universe back into Star Wars’ contemporary canon, especially when it comes to the inner workings of the Chiss Ascendancy. But after books of teasing, the author is putting the spotlight on a more emotional bond for the future Grand Admiral.
Revealed by StarWars.com in a new excerpt from the final book in the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy, Lesser Evil, is a new flashback chapter that marks our first extended time with Syndic Mitth’ras’safis, and his first encounter with Thrawn as a young merit adoptive into the Mitth Family, one of the nine ruling families of the Chiss Ascendancy. Mitth’ras’safis—Thrass to his friends—has already been re-inducted into Star Wars canon, but only through casual asides in prior books in the Thrawn Ascendancy series. We know enough that several details around the character have since been changed compared to the Thrass of the EU: he’s no longer Thrawn’s brother by blood, but they were close, and Thrass was eventually killed due to an unsanctioned action by Thrawn in a battle with alien pirates. The circumstances around his death in the current canon are left vague enough to loosely allude to, but not directly connect to, the way he died in the EU, but other than that up until now Thrass has only been lightly mentioned in passing, and how his death created a political nightmare Thrawn is still feeling the ramifications of by the time of the Ascendancy trilogy.
But in the EU, Thrass (primarily introduced in the novel Outbound Flight in 2006) and Thrawn were extremely close, a rare point of true emotional connection for the latter. Choosing to navigate the political side of Chiss society as a Syndic as Thrawn rose through the military ranks, Thrass’ arc when we were properly introduced to him was often about having to navigate his love for his brother with his duty to their adopted family in the Mitth—and the trials and tribulations that come from all sibling relationships, Chiss or otherwise. But he also had a vital connection to the galaxy beyond the Ascendancy’s reach in the Unknown Regions, dying to help save the crew of the Old Republic colony/exploration ship Outbound Flight, a vessel operated by the Jedi Order (and more specifically, the original, pre-crazy-cloned-version Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth) on an ill-fated quest to map out the edge of the galaxy and discover extragalactic life. Thrass’ role in the EU might have been small—we were literally introduced to his unidentified bones before we actually met him as a living being—but still important, and it’s nice to see a character that opened up another side of the infamously guarded Grand Admiral Thrawn get some more exploration in Star Wars’ current continuity.
Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil is set to hit shelves November 16—head on over to StarWars.com to read the full excerpt.