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Star Wars Rebels is bringing back one of the Expanded Universe's greatest villains

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The character will also get his own novel in April 2017

One of the most famous villains of the Star Wars universe is coming back: Grand Admiral Thrawn. At the Star Wars Rebels panel today at Star Wars Celebration, executive producer Dave Filoni announced that the character would be the next major villain for the show.

This is exciting news for fans of the franchise's Expanded Universe, which was removed from Star Wars canon as The Force Awakens was developed. While new canon does incorporate a number of elements and characters from the Expanded Universe, Thrawn’s reintroduction potentially opens the door for other fan favorite characters, such as Mara Jade, to return in some form.

The character was revealed in a trailer for the upcoming third season and will be voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, brother of Madds Mikkelsen, who will be portraying Jyn Erso's father Galen in Rogue One.

Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced to the Star Wars universe in Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel Heir to the Empire. The character was a strategic mastermind who attempted to engineer the fall of the New Republic. In the years since the book was released, he has become a major fan favorite character.

Thrawn's creator Timothy Zahn joined the panel via video link announcing that while he was sorry that he couldn’t attend the panel, he had a good excuse: he is finishing up a new novel featuring the character. The book, titled Thrawn, is due to be released April 2017.

Thrawn "was one of the most challenging characters we ever had to cast," Filoni said during the panel. "We knew you wanted it and we wanted it too. Thrawn is back!"

Filoni teased the return of the character in a tweet back in April, stating, "there's always a bit of truth in legends."


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