Thrawn 4 is the fourth issue of the canon comic book miniseries Star Wars: Thrawn, which adapts the 2017 novel of the same name. The issue was written by Jody Houser, illustrated by Luke Ross, and published on May 9, 2018 by Marvel Comics.

Publisher's summary[]

"THE RISE OF THE GRAND ADMIRAL" CONTINUES! Thrawn's rise in the Imperial Empire continues at a trajectory one can only dream of. Meanwhile, Eli Vanto is still stuck in the same position as when he graduated – Thrawn's aide. But will Thrawn's obsession and pursuit of the mysterious crimelord "Nightswan" lead both Imperials to success in the Emperor's eyes? Help comes from mysterious places in the Empire…

Plot summary[]

The Cyphar dispute[]

Commander Thrawn and Ensign Eli Vanto are dispatched aboard the Arquitens-class light cruiser Thunder Wasp to mediate a land dispute on the planet Cyphar between the indigenous Cyphari Afe clan and a group of human colonists encroaching on their territory. Vanto links the dispute to an increase in shellfish exports over the past four months. Vanto is aware of reports that someone named Nightswan is showing the human smugglers how to smuggle their contraband inside the shellfish. Thrawn realizes that Nightswan is inviting them to intervene.

Thrawn links Nightswan's activities to growing rebel attacks and smuggling activities. He believes that Cyphar is Nightswan's latest front. Commander Thrawn and Ensign Vanto meets the human colonists' leaders including Mayor Pord Benchel, Lenora Scath, Clay Tanoo, and Brigte Polcery, who claim they were attacked by the Cyphari and demand justice. Thrawn responds that he is merely investigating and that his next task is to view the disputed territory, having accepted an invitation from the Cyphari Chief Joko.

Aboard the Thunder Wasp, Thrawn and Vanto discuss their investigation into the human colonists. Vanto thinks that Scath, Polcery and Tanoo were conspiring with Nightswan to export doonium inside shellfish. However, he thinks that Mayor Benchel has been duped. Thrawn agrees with Vanto's conclusion and decide they should continue their investigation by visiting Chief Joko.

Inside the clan meeting house, Chief Joko tells Thrawn and Vanto that the human colonists are the aggressors, blaming them for border incursions and raids. When questioned, Joko admits that his clan did cross the border into the Hollenside Enclave in reprisal attacks. Thrawn asks Joko to take him and Vanto to the site of the first human incursions. At the site, Thrawn notices that the grain crops are stunted. Thrawn advises Joko not to send his guards to pursue the human intruders and to evacuate families and children. Thrawn promises that the raids will end tonight.

Dealing with the raiders[]

While waiting inside the Cyphari meeting house at night, Vanto concludes that the stunted plants were affected by heavy metal poisoning, suggesting that the vein of ore is near the surface. He reasons that is the reason why the humans are raiding Cyphari land. Using their macrobinoculars, Vanto and Thrawn spot several colonists including Tanoo arriving in landspeeders. Consulting Imperial files, Vanto discovers that Clay Tanoo's brother had been arrested for spice possession, specifically a rare variety called scarn that forms under grain fields.

With the trap laid, Commander Thrawn orders that the shuttles and stormtroopers be dispatched to the Cyphari land for prisoner retrieval. He also orders that Lieutenant Gimm and the TIE fighter escort be ready to launch. While Thrawn disables the colonists' landspeeders, Vanto uses his blaster to stun the raiders.

Mr Tanoo tries to escape but is trapped by Thrawn. Tanoo claims that it wasn't his idea and that it was Polcery's idea. However, Thrawn responds that Tanoo had ample opportunity to sabotage these activities but he did not. Thrawn tells Tanoo that he is aware that Tanoo was the one who refined the pre-spice for smuggling. When Thrawn asks which of their group invited Nightswan as an adviser, Tanoo identifies Scath as Nightswan's contact.

Thrawn orders the Thunder Wasp and Lieutenant Gimm's TIE fighters to raze the vein of scarn beneath the Cyphari land. Thrawn tries to explain that destroying the vein would deter future raiders but Chief Joko is furious at the damage to his clan's farmland. Disagreeing with Thrawn's methods of protecting his people, he appeals to Coruscant.

Trials and triumph[]

Thrawn is summoned back to Coruscant. Vanto is shocked that Coruscant is upset with Thrawn despite his role in ending the Cyphar dispute and exposing a criminal conspiracy. He explains that the Imperial Navy wants commanders who follow procedures and seek their advice. He observes that many Admirals feel threatened when lower-ranking officers solve a problem without them since they want to take the credit for it.

At the Imperial military hearing, Thrawn explains to the panel that he seeks a high rank in order to solve problems. Thrawn admits that he is not politically astute but defends his actions. Thrawn is subsequently cleared of wrongdoing on Cyphar. He and Vanto are summoned for an assembly of Imperial military officers. A high-ranking female officer promotes Thrawn to Commodore and Vanto to Lieutenant Commander; "rectifying a situation that has been allowed to stand for too long."

Later, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin visits Commodore Thrawn and Lieutenant Commander Vanto to convey Governor Arihnda Pryce's regards. He reassures Thrawn that Pryce is settling well to her new post. Tarkin wishes Thrawn and Vanto all the best with hunting enemies of the Empire down. Thrawn congratulates Vanto for his success before telling him that they have been transferred to a new ship: the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Chimaera.

Aboard the Chimaera, Commodore Thrawn and Lieutenant Commander Vanto take part in various operations including discovering that the Empire is transporting Wookiee slaves and the Battle at Lansend Twenty-Six.

Crisis in the Batonn sector[]

Later, Thrawn is promoted to the rank of Admiral and assigned command of the Ninety-Sixth Task Force. Admiral Thrawn is invited by Fleet Admiral Jok Donassius to a security briefing. Also present are Admiral Durril of the Imperial Star Destroyer Judicator and Admiral Kinshara of the Imperial Star Destroyer Stalwart, Governor Restos of Batonn, Governor Wistran of Denash, Governor Pryce of Lothal, and Imperial Security Bureau Colonel Wullf Yularen.

Yularen activates the holoprojector and explains that there has been a rise in insurgent activities in the Batonn sector for several months. He explains that they have some indications that some of these groups have started working together; a trend they need to stamp out before it spreads.

Governor Restos asks Colonel Yularen why four Governors are present when there are only three task force commanders. Colonel Yularen responds that the Lothalian insurgents are being dealt with by Admiral Kassius Konstantine and that Governor Pryce is present to observe the proceedings as her system is also facing an insurgency. With Governor Restos mollified, Colonel Yularen informs that they will start with Batonn, assigning Thrawn with the task of pacifying the insurgents.

Colonel Yularen briefs the Imperial officers and governors that insurgents have captured the Imperial garrison on Scrim Island, seizing its deflector shield and three ion cannons. Thrawn wants to study the situation but Admiral Durril demands that Scrim Island be recaptured lest the Empire's reputation be tarnished.

Thrawn counters that destroying the island would kill the hostages and that he needs more time for reconnaissance and planning. An enraged Durril disagrees and tells Thrawn that his Ninety-Sixth Task Force can go to Sammun instead. Thrawn says that he will go wherever the Navy wishes.

Unorthodox methods[]

In private, Vanto tells Admiral Thrawn that the other Imperials disapproved of his decision not to attack Scrim Island immediately. Thrawn responds that Admiral Durril has a tendency to value speed over precision, which can lead to miscalculation. Thrawn thinks that Durril's failure will be costly. Having studied Sammuni art, Thrawn sends Commander Faro to pacify the insurgents on Sammun.

Commander Faro and Commander Vanto initially disagree with Thrawn's decision but Thrawn reassures them that Fleet Admiral Donassius only stated that the Ninety-Sixth Task Force was to deal with the insurgents and made no explicit references to him. Thrawn departs with Vanto aboard the captured pirate freighter Slipknot, intending to observe Admiral Durril's attempts to retake Scrim Island.


In several panels in the comic book, text bubbles are linked to Durril, when earlier in the issue and in the novel Thrawn, the dialogue originates from Jok Donassius.



Cover gallery[]


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Organizations and titles

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Notes and references[]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 MarvelLogo.svg Star Wars: Thrawn (2018) #4 on Marvel Comics' official website (backup link)
  2. In Chapter 19 of the novel Thrawn Ryder Azadi has been recently arrested and removed as governor, which Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Gathering Forces" establishes was caused by allowing Ezra Bridger's parents to make their broadcasts. Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide states that Bridger was seven years old when his parents were arrested, and Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places his birth in 19 BBY; thus, Azadi's arrest, and Chapter 19 by extension, must occur in approximately 12 BBY. Additionally, as Chapter 19 takes place approximately four years after the start of Thrawn, this means that Thrawn begins in approximately 16 BBY.
  3. Thrawn ends shortly before the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow. Dawn of Rebellion dates the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow seventeen years after the end of the Clone Wars, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY; therefore, the events of Steps Into Shadow must take place in 2 BBY.

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