Will Grand Admiral Thrawn Be In The Mandalorian Season 3?

A fan-favourite villain could finally be making his way into the live-action Star Wars universe.

Grand Admiral Thrawn has long been teased to appear in The Mandalorian, but so far he is yet to grace our screens.

However, with the upcoming third season, that all looks set to change – in fact, the character could become a major force in the various small-screen Star Wars shows going forward.

You may not be familiar with his name, with Thrawn’s most prominent appearance being in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, but we predict that will all change once the next Mando outing hits our screens.

Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn?


Introduced during the early 1990s in the novel Heir To The Empire, the first instalment in what became known as the Thrawn Trilogy, the character is one of the most feared antagonists in the galaxy.

A Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy, he is known for his tactical brilliance and for being one of the rare non-human characters to rise through the Empire’s ranks.

He differs from the likes of Darth Vader due to how he prefers to collaborate with his subordinates, encouraging their ideas in battle, rather than punishing dissent if they disagree.

Thrawn helps to create a united front with those below him, making him a particularly difficult opponent if you’re coming up against him.

Del Ray Books

He is a member of the Chiss species, defined by their pale blue skin, blue-black hair, and glowing red eyes. The Chiss were introduced for the first time alongside Thrawn in the 1991 novel, remaining a constant fixture in the Expanded Universe ever since.

After the Thrawn Trilogy, he was next seen in several other novels and comic books. However, with Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, much of the lore outside of the central film series became non-canon – it wasn’t until season three of Star Wars Rebels in 2016 that Thrawn returned to the fold.

Grand Admiral Thrawn In Star Wars Canon


Set between the events of Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope, the third season of Rebels depicted the Grand Admiral as an intimidating foe, who manages to foil the Rebel Alliance at seemingly every turn.

The character stuck around until the finale of season four, after an unexpected defeat at the hands of the Rebels left his fate remaining ambiguous at the end of the story.

Following the positive fan reaction to the character, Timothy Zahn (author of the original Thrawn stories) got to work on a brand new trilogy, which retroactively changed his backstory to fit in with the new Disney era canon.


These books depicted how he rose through the Imperial military’s ranks after being sent by the Chiss Ascendancy to investigate the Empire, with his tactical powers eventually gaining the attention of Emperor Palpatine.

A third trilogy by Zahn, Thrawn Ascendancy, was announced in 2019 and focused more on the Grand Admiral’s backstory prior to joining the Empire.

He might be the most extensively chronicled character to have never appeared directly in a live-action Star Wars project.

Thrawn In The Mandalorian


Another fan-favourite character, Ahsoka Tano, made her live-action debut in the previous season of The Mandalorian. Played by Rosario Dawson, in her first episode she revealed that she was on the hunt for Thrawn – but so far, he’s yet to materialise in the series.

She’s most likely searching for Thrawn because he disappeared with Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger into deep space – the latter will make his live-action debut in the upcoming Ahsoka series, portrayed by Eman Esfandi.

If Thrawn does pop up in season three then, it will likely only be a brief appearance. While we know Ahsoka is looking for him, the driving force of the narrative will take place away from her, as Din Djarin heads back to Mandalore – and while the tagline for the new series promises “old allies and new enemies”, we’re not fully convinced Thrawn will be one of these.

But this isn’t to say there aren’t ways he could emerge, with the most recent trailer for the upcoming third season offering several tantalising teases.


One of these is a brief shot of New Republic pilot Captain Carson Teva warning Din Djarin that “there’s something dangerous happening out there, and by the time it becomes big enough for you to act, it will be too late”.

Could this be an Imperial resurgence, led by its most strategically advanced leader? Later in the trailer, we see several Mandalorians heading into battle against an unseen adversary – and if there’s anybody who you need a big team to fight back against, it’s Thrawn.

The most likely theory however is that we will only see Thrawn via a cameo, intended to set up a further more prominent appearance in the upcoming miniseries Ahsoka.

With the details of that miniseries still shrouded in secrecy, we hope the third season of The Mandalorian offers some answers about what we can expect.

Ahsoka And Beyond


If Thrawn appears in Ahsoka, it may not be Lars Mikkelsen reprising the role he previously voiced in Rebels. In a recent interview, the actor claimed that as much as he’d love to return to the role, he hadn’t been offered the part.

This could be a red herring – Liam Neeson similarly claimed he wouldn’t appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi, only to return for a cameo. And with Dave Filoni, the creator of Rebels, on-board as the writer, there’s reason to be skeptical about Mikkelsen’s answer.

Filoni previously said he hopes to bring many of his characters from Rebels into live-action, so will this finally be his time?

With Ahsoka premiering later in 2023, we will know the answer very soon.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.