Firstly, I must acknowledge that the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn is no longer considered canonical in the Star Wars universe. On the other hand I still read and enjoyed the books and I hope elements will eventually work their way into the new trilogy. Also, if anyone reading this is involved with Star Wars 8, please cast me as a stormtrooper (preferably in a cantina, maybe on some star of death, perhaps opposite Eddie Izzard). Anyway, since the next trilogy is merrily on its way, what better time (that wasn’t right before the cinematic release of episode 7) to delve into what could have been. So here goes.
5 Reasons to Read the Thrawn Trilogy
You get to see…
- … massive starship battles. The two trilogies have shown us the intense spectacles of fighter-to-fighter combat, but actual starship-to-starship combat was reduced to who had the luckiest fighter pilots, most glaring structural oversights and least obvious targets. The Thrawn Trilogy delves deep into Star Wars canon and creates thrilling combinations of physics-based weaponry with careful force-wielding and mighty starships in intensely creative ways. No womp rat hunters need apply.
- … a non-human imperial officer. The Empire, the ever-so-casual-racist Nazi-analog with a bit of British imperialism in the mix, has a Chiss (a previously unseen race) commanding officer. Not only does this create an interesting adversary for the New Republic, but also allows for delving deeper into the empire’s history, philosophy and the flexibility of their morals and ideals.
- … force influencing and application across vast distances. You probably already know that Luke can utilize the force to pull his lightsaber from a mound of snow, Vader can force choke a incompetent officer from between starships and the Emperor can generate actual force lightning to kill, maim and cook his own face, but the actual scale and versatility of the force has only really been displayed in the books and video games. Without giving away spoilers, the way the force is being utilized in the Thrawn Trilogy is not only creative, but hints at how the power was wielded in the past. For interesting and spoilery examples click here.
- … Admiral Ackbar and actual political intrigue. I personally always wondered about Ackbar; what kind of fish-man was he and how does he fit into the New Republic. As a commander and tactician he was always degraded to “It’s a trap!” memes, so the trilogy does a great job of fleshing out the character and implementing him in the plot, in a manner that makes him look both competent and complicated, but also powerful.
- … an empire on the backfoot. The Empire was a colossus, a power encompassing dozens of star systems, massive fleets of starships and super weapons, able to subjugate entire planets and wipe out rebellious activity swiftly and efficiently. Except here they’re not so great, not anymore. In the Thrawn Trilogy they have the strength and the manpower, but unlike the movies, there is a strong chance and hope for new life in the galaxy. There is no Deathstar analogue, no click-a-button-to-win weapon, no droid army.
Other reasons to read the Thrawn Trilogy include the development of the relationships between Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie, more interesting clones and droids, and the knowledge that these books are completely untainted by the prequels. Unless George Lucas somehow re-released them with extra scenes and better special effects.
But what do you think? Have you read The Thrawn Trilogy?
Did you like how Jar Jar Binks rose through the ranks to be the empire’s most feared assassin after coming out of hiding on Coruscant?
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