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"It was just after four o'clock on November 6, 1989, and I was three days into writing my first novel for my new publisher, Bantam Books, when the phone rang. It was my agent. 'Tim,' he said after the usual pleasantries, 'we have a very interesting offer here.'"
―Timothy Zahn[3]

Timothy Zahn is a science fiction author which is best known for his work on The Thrawn Trilogy, a series of novels following the events of Return of the Jedi, introducing various characters such as Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade Skywalker. In addition to numerous short stories, he also wrote other novels focusing on Thrawn's character, such as Outbound Flight and The Hand of Thrawn Duology in the Star Wars Legends continuity and the Thrawn and The Ascendancy Trilogy novel series in the current canon continuity.


Expanding the universe[]

"I wandered around the house for the next couple of hours, lost in a fog of excitement, anticipation, and panic, wondering if I could possibly come up with a story that would do justice to George Lucas's vision."
―Timothy Zahn[3]

Timothy Zahn's first book in the Star Wars franchise was Heir to the Empire, which followed the events after Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.[4] He later released Dark Force Rising as a sequel to the former,[5] and later concluded the trilogy with The Last Command.[6] He later wrote a duology which consisted of Specter of the Past[7] and Vision of the Future.[8]

Zahn also wrote various standalone novels, such as Outbound Flight, which told one of Thrawn's first victories, which gained him the respect of Darth Sidious.[9] Scoundrels,[10] Survivor's Quest,[11] Allegiance[12] and Choices of One.[13] He also contributed to the script of several comics and short stories such as Star Wars: Mara Jade – By the Emperor's Hand.[14]


Talon Karrde (portrayed by Zahn, right) with Mara Jade (portrayed by Shannon McRandle) and Corran Horn (portrayed by Michael Stackpole).

Zahn later portrayed Talon Karrde from The Thrawn Trilogy, for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game.[15] As Karrde had much more hair than his creator, Zahn needed to use hair extensions. He was also involved in the writing of Copero flashpoint in Star Wars: The Old Republic.[16]

Planned works[]

Before Zahn was hired to write a ninth Star Wars novel, Zahn had planned a number of ideas including stories of the Skywalker family, more adventures of the Hand of Judgment and more of Thrawn's and Mara Jade Skywalker's backstories.[17] At Celebration III, Zahn said he would like to write a novel set after Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, featuring Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, and a teenager Ben. But the possibility of that novel in that time period vanished when Mara died in Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice. However in a later interview with TheForce.net. Zahn said he still wanted to do a novel about the Skywalker family with Mara, Ben and Luke or to tell more tales. But it would have had to be before Star Wars: Legacy of the Force.[17]

Zahn answered a fan's question at Celebration III, he shared that he would be interested in working more with Thrawn if it involved a new threat that only a clone of the grand admiral could solve. The clone would become unsure of himself due to the people expecting him to be as good as the original Chiss. Zahn stated at a book signing in Philadelphia that he would like the clone of Thrawn to team up with Ben Skywalker.[18] Zahn stated through a Facebook Q&A in 2013, that he had a trilogy project to share with Lucasfilm, with one book featuring Thrawn and the Chiss species, the second involved Jade preventing an assassination attempt on Darth Vader, and the third book would be the third book in the Hand of Judgment series. The proposed title for the trilogy was The Maestro Trilogy.[19]

Rebuilding Thrawn and the Chiss[]

Thrawn Ascendancy Chaos Rising Cover

Timothy Zahn explored the Chiss Ascendancy on a new trilogy

The announcement of the new continuity, Canon, in April 25, 2014 made all of Zahn's works Legends instead of canon.[20] Zahn hadn't been involved in Star Wars, however, as Thrawn was reintroduced into the saga through Star Wars Rebels Season Three, through the episode Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow[21] created by Dave Filoni. He was chosen to write Thrawn, a novel which focused on Mitth'raw'nuruodo, Thrawn's rise through the Galactic Empire's ranks. From Lieutenant Commander to Grand Admiral. Which released on April 11, 2017.[22]

The novel received a follow up, Thrawn: Alliances, which told the story of how Anakin Skywalker and the Chiss defeated the Separatists on Mokivj and how Darth Vader and the Grand Admiral discovered a major threat for the Empire, the Grysk Hegemony.[23] It was released on June 26, 2018.[24] He later released Thrawn: Treason, the final installment in the trilogy, where Thrawn defeated the Grysk Hegemony with the help of Admiral Ar'alani, and where he defeated Balanhai Savit.[25] It was released on July 23, 2019[26]

On September 1, 2020, Zahn released Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising the first book in the Star Wars: The Ascendancy Trilogy which was about Thrawn when he was a member of the Chiss Ascendancy.[27] On April 27, 2021, Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good was released. Being the second book in the Ascendancy Trilogy.[28] Later, on November 16, 2021, Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil was released, which ended the Ascendancy Trilogy.[29]

For Thrawn's appearance in Ahsoka the Disney+ series, Zahn was regularly consulted by Filoni and other creatives[30] to ensure the character was written perfectly.[31]



Year Title Format
1991 Heir to the Empire Novel[4]
1992 Dark Force Rising Novel[5]
1993 The Last Command Novel[6]
1994 "First Contact" Short Story[32]
1995 "Mist Encounter" Short Story[33]
1995 "The Saga Begins" Short Story[34]
1995 "Hammertong: The Tale of the 'Tonnika Sisters'" Short Story[35]
1995 "The Kaal Connection" Short Story[36]
1995 "Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade" Short Story[37]
1996 "Command Decision" Short Story[38]
1997 "Side Trip" Short Story[39]
1997 Specter of the Past Novel[7]
Canceled Specter of Thrawn Comic[40]
1998 Star Wars: Mara Jade – By the Emperor's Hand Comic[14]
1998 Vision of the Future Novel[8]
1999 "Mara Jade: A Night on the Town" Comic[41]
1999 "Interlude at Darkknell" Short Story[42]
1999 "Jade Solitaire" Short Story[43]
2002 "Handoff" Short Story[44]
2003 "Hero of Cartao" Short Story[45]
2003 "Duel" Short Story[46]
2004 Survivor's Quest Novel[11]
2004 "Fool's Bargain" Novella[47]
2004 "Judge's Call" Short Story[48]
2004 "Changing Seasons" Short Story[49]
2006 Outbound Flight Novel[9]
2007 Allegiance Novel[12]
2011 "Buyer's Market" Short Story[50]
2011 Choices of One Novel[13]
2011 "Crisis of Faith" Short Story[51]
2011 Heir to the Empire: The 20th Anniversary Edition Novel[52]
2012 "An Apology" Short Story[53]
2012 "Heist" Short Story[54]
2012 "Winner Lose All" Short Story[55]
2013 Scoundrels Novel[10]
2017 Thrawn Novel[56]
2018 Thrawn: Alliances Novel[23]
2019 Thrawn: Treason Novel[25]
2020 Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising Novel[57]
2021 Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good Novel[58]
2021 Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil Novel[59]


Notes and references[]

  1. This Week in Star Wars logo This Week! in Star Wars The Mandalorian Season 2 Date Announced, A New Look at The High Republic, and More! on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Novelist Timothy Zahn is the man who saved 'Star Wars,' according to fans on Chicago Tribune (archived from the original on December 18, 2021)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
  4. 4.0 4.1 Heir to the Empire
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dark Force Rising
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Last Command
  7. 7.0 7.1 Specter of the Past
  8. 8.0 8.1 Vision of the Future
  9. 9.0 9.1 Outbound Flight
  10. 10.0 10.1 Scoundrels
  11. 11.0 11.1 Survivor's Quest
  12. 12.0 12.1 Allegiance
  13. 13.0 13.1 Choices of One
  14. 14.0 14.1 Star Wars: Mara Jade – By the Emperor's Hand
  15. Swccglogolg Star Wars Customizable Card GameReflections II: Expanding the Galaxy (Card: Talon Karrde) (backup link)
  16. SWTOR mini First Look: 'Traitor Among The Chiss' Teaser on The Old Republic's official website (backup link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jedi Council Interviews - Timothy Zahn on TheForce.net (archived from the original on June 2, 2020)
  18. JCF-favicon Meeting Tim Zahn-Questions on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by Coonsan on 2/5/07 12:20pm; accessed February 27, 2013) (backup link)
  19. Facebook icon Star Wars Books (@starwarsbooks) on Facebook: Timothy Zahn Q&A (January 23, 2013): "(1) If there are to be more books, and if LFL/Del Rey/Disney decide to let me write some of them, I have a trilogy project to pitch where the third book would also be the third book of the Hand of Judgment series (Allegiance and Choices of One). Again, I don't know if that will happen. (2) A Fel or Chiss novel would be fun. As a matter of fact, the trilogy I mentioned above (which I'll pitch if I'm invited to do another book) would have one book heavily involving Thrawn and the Chiss. (The middle book, btw, would feature Mara being sent to stop an assassination...against Vader. Imagine the fun they would *both* have with *that* assignment.) The proposed series title is The Maestro Trilogy, if anyone wants to star nagging Del Rey. (No, seriously, *don't* nag. Just ask politely...)" (backup link)
  20. StarWars The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page on StarWars.com (backup link)
  21. SWYTlogo Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 Live Stream – Day 2 | The Star Wars Show LIVE! on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  22. StarWars Timothy Zahn on His Novel Thrawn, How to Pronounce the Grand Admiral's Full Name, and More on StarWars.com (backup link)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Thrawn: Alliances
  24. PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Thrawn: Treason
  26. PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  27. PenguinRandomHouse Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy (Book I: Chaos Rising) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  28. StarWars The Chiss Fleet Attacks in Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good – Exclusive Excerpt on StarWars.com (backup link)
  29. StarWars The Star Wars: Ascendancy Trilogy Will End With Lesser Evil – Exclusive Reveal on StarWars.com (backup link)
  30. TwitterLogo Empire Magazine (@empiremagazine) on Twitter: "Dave Filoni says they have spoken – and are continuing to speak – with Timothy Zahn about Thrawn's character. “That all starts with Tim Zahn's books,” he says. “When we were all kids, hungry for something else, and Heir To The Empire hit,” he remembers, “it was so unique and so wonderful.” Thrawn is not to be messed with. “He doesn't have the Force, but it doesn't matter. He will outsmart you,” says Filoni. #StarWarsCelebration" (backup link)
  31. TwitterLogo Star Wars Holocron (@sw_holocron) on Twitter: "Dave Filoni consulted with Timothy Zahn on how to bring Grand Admiral Thrawn to life in the Ahsoka series. “We want to make sure we get it right.” #StarWars #StarWarsCelebration #StarWarsCelebration2023" (backup link)
  32. SWAJsmall "First Contact" — Star Wars Adventure Journal 1
  33. SWAJsmall "Missed Chance" — Star Wars Adventure Journal 7
  34. DSCheader "The Saga Begins" — The DarkStryder Campaign
  35. "Hammertong: The Tale of the 'Tonnika Sisters'"
  36. SWAJsmall "The Kaal Connection" — Star Wars Adventure Journal 7
  37. "Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade"
  38. SWAJsmall "Command Decision" — Star Wars Adventure Journal 11
  39. "Side Trip"
  40. Specter of Thrawn
  41. StarWarsTales-Icon "Mara Jade: A Night on the Town" — Star Wars Tales 1
  42. "Interlude at Darkknell"
  43. "Jade Solitaire"
  44. SWGamer-icon "Handoff" — Star Wars Gamer 10
  45. "Hero of Cartao"
  46. "Duel"
  47. "Fool's Bargain"
  48. "Judge's Call"
  49. "Changing Seasons"
  50. SWInsider "Buyer's Market" — Star Wars Insider 126
  51. "Crisis of Faith"
  52. Heir to the Empire: The 20th Anniversary Edition
  53. "An Apology"
  54. SWInsider "Heist" — Star Wars Insider 138
  55. "Winner Lose All"
  56. Thrawn
  57. Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
  58. Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
  59. Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil

External links[]