Mitth’raw’nuruodo, more commonly known as Thrawn, was first seen in Heir to the Empire, but has come a long way since then. He was the villain in the Thrawn Trilogy, Outbound Flight, and now Star Wars: Rebels Season 3. How Disney convinced Timothy Zahn to sell Thrawn to them after having trashed his life’s work, the expanded universe that he started–his expanded universe–by replacing it with the Force Awakens is a mystery, and a kinda pointless one. The point is that Thrawn’s here, and he’s awesome.
But why? Why is he such a good villain when he’s just another colorful alien who thinks he has a right to rule every other being in the galaxy? We’ve seen plenty of those (I’m looking at you, Jabba.)
- He’s a “friendly face.” And I don’t mean that he has a friendly-looking face. I mean that we’ve seen him before, and he’s proven himself. He has an instant reputation the second he walks onto the screen.
- He’s a capable commander. This one’s pretty simple. He’s been in one army or another since before the Clone Wars. He knows what he’s doing.
- He’s a genius. It’s obvious, but it’s important. He always seems to figure things out early. He’s always a step ahead of the rebels, as well as other Imperials.
- He keeps his head. Really, who prefers a bad guy who smashes machinery when he’s mad over one who can keep his head and tear his enemies apart piece by piece, even when all seems lost?
- He can see the bigger picture. When it comes to military tactics, he can focus on the entire war, not only the battle at hand. He takes everything into consideration, not just what he can see.
- He can fight. He took down two assassin droids with his bear hands, and beat Agent Kallus in seconds. Understanding strategies is one thing, but being able to fight hand-to-hand is always good.
- He has a really cool voice. Seriously. Watch the show and you’ll see.
- He knows more than just battle tactics. He understands his enemies before he attacks them, and can use that to predict their movements and take them down more effectively.
- He’s original. He invents his own strategies. He comes up with new and interesting ways to crush the rebellion instead of the old “shoot and charge” approach everyone else seems to enjoy–and fail at.
- He knows his place. Sometimes, it’s nice to see a villain who’s not a hot-headed glory-seeker who wants to dethrone the Emperor and rule the galaxy.