- "I don't have my uniform—"
"Don't lie. I know officials like you. You want to be ready to suit up and pull rank on someone if you think it'll get you what you want."
- ―Brierly Ronan and Pik, on Ronan's sartorial attitude
Brierly Ronan was a human male who served as a colonel in the Galactic Empire under the Imperial Military Department of Advanced Weapons Research. After working with the Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, he agreed to join the Chiss Ascendancy, under the pretense of serving as an ally, though he also intended to become an enemy if he found Thrawn's true interests did not align with those of the Empire.
Colonel Brierly Ronan was the Assistant Director on the Galactic Empire's Project Stardust and was extremely loyal to Director Orson Callan Krennic. He was assigned to work with Grand Admiral Thrawn after when grallocs began attacking shipments in the Kurost sector vital to the construction of the Death Star. Ronan, throughout the journey, hated Thrawn and did his best to slow the officer down, though he found himself coming to respect the officer at least a slight bit more during their time together. During his time with Thrawn, Ronan witnessed the threat that the Grysk Hegemony posed to the galaxy and encountered members of the Chiss Ascendancy. He believed that Vah'nya, a Force-sensitive Chiss navigator, was a Jedi after seeing her accidentally make an Imperial fall forward. He also worked with Lieutenant Eli Vanto, a former commander of the Imperial Navy and current member of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, in the mission to Aloxor, where they sought to learn what was truly happening with the starships attacked by grallocs.
Thrawn had agreed to destroy the grallocs within a week, or else funding for his TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter project would be given to Stardust. Though the Grand Admiral had solved the true conspiracy behind the creature's attacks, as Grand Admiral Balanhai Savit, who did not believe Stardust would succeed, had caused the gralloc attacks to let his operatives jump away with project components he could steal. Thrawn had defeated Savit in the skirmish against the Third Fleet, but, because of the Assistant Director's belief in Stardust and that the Chiss officer had not technically destroyed the grallocs, Ronan told Krennic and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin that Thrawn had failed. After this, however, Thrawn suggested that Darth Vader be assigned to watch over Stardust as security until at least the first test.
After the discussion with Krennic and Tarkin ended, Thrawn told Ronan that he would be unable to keep his hidden contempt for Emperor Palpatine a secret from Vader. Thus the Grand Admiral gave him three choices: return to the project and be killed by the Dark Lord of the Sith, resign and try to travel far away, or to travel with Admiral Ar'alani to join Chiss Ascendancy. Due to his position in the project, Ronan knew he would be questioned if he took the second option, thus leading to death at Vader's hands, but he was originally resistant to Thrawn's third choice. Trying to convince Ronan to join, Thrawn cited that he had seen the threat of the Grysks, that he had worked with many alien species, that his insights into how others thought and acted could be useful in the coming Grysk war, and that he eventually would be killed if he stayed within the Empire. Thrawn also promised that Ar'alani could return him to the Empire if he was not useful, but Ronan also remembered Vah'nya. Falsely believing that Thrawn and Palpatine had a secret plan to destroy the supposed Jedi among the Chiss, Ronan thought Thrawn maybe sending him to be a hidden Imperial asset within the Ascendancy. He then realized Thrawn had not been facing him when he saw Vah'nya use the Force and believed the Grand Admiral could not know he had realized she was Force-sensitive.
Still, Ronan thought he could become a secret ally, believing such a role could sometimes be better. Thus, he agreed to leave with Ar'alani, though he claimed he would only go for the time being, and only if she could prove the Grysks were a threat to the Empire. Thrawn offered Ronan the chance to change his mind, but the Assistant Director decided he would not, or at least not yet. Additionally, Ronan thought that, if Thrawn was actually working against the Emperor, he would not be a pawn or secret ally. Instead, he believed he could be a dangerous enemy. Ar'alani herself thought Ronan's recruitment was a terrible mistake, though Thrawn felt the man's unwillingness was part of "the framework."
Behind the scenes
- "His name is assistant director Ronan. He is one of the assistant directors on Stardust, extremely loyal to Director Krennic, not really liking Thrawn much at all."
- ―Timothy Zahn on Ronan
- Thrawn: Treason (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn: Treason audiobook)
- Thrawn: Treason audiobook (First appearance, simultaneous with Thrawn: Treason)
Notes and references
- The Del Rey timeline places Thrawn before A New Dawn. Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide dates Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla's first meeting in A New Dawn to six years before Star Wars Rebels, which according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, begins in 5 BBY. This means A New Dawn takes place in 11 BBY, so the beginning of Thrawn must occur by 11 BBY. Thrawn establishes that Eli Vanto begins his studies at the Myomar Academy four years earlier. Additionally, Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide states that the youngest Imperial Academies begin training Cadets is "13 standard years of age." Therefore, Vanto must have been born at least seventeen years earlier, by 28 BBY. Thrawn: Treason establishes that Brierly Ronan is older than Vanto, meaning he was born before 28 BBY.
- Thrawn: Treason