The big bad was first teased all the way back in The Mandalorian’s second season, when Ahsoka Tano made her live-action debut. After that, over two years later, he was once again name-dropped in the Season 3 of Pedro Pascal’s Star Wars series.
But now, as of the latest episode of the ongoing Ahsoka series, Lars Mikkelsen‘s classic villain is finally here in live-action. But he’s a tad different since the last time fans saw him—which is understandable, given the circumstances.
While this one might seem obvious, there is one clear difference between Thrawn and the last time audiences saw him: he’s older. In fact, he’s been exiled for over ten years.
This means that the infamous villain is estimated to be 70 years old. In part, this is why an older actor like Lars Mikkelsen was perfect for the role (unlike some fan casts, such as Matt Smith).
But is an older Thrawn a good thing for the show’s heroes, or something terrible? Sadly, it’s probably the latter.
Thrawn thrives on experience and knowledge—two things he’s undoubtedly gained in droves thanks to his time in exile. He’s also had plenty of time to plan for what he’ll do when getting back to his home Galaxy.
If there’s one thing everyone in the universe should fear, it’s Thrawn with a plan.
2.) Demeanor/Posture & Physical Features
Thrawn has always had a strong presence in any room he’s ever stood in. But, this time around, he seems far more commanding than normal.
Perhaps it has something to do with the harrowing experience Thrawn, and the remainder of his people had to go through in order to survive their exile. Hopefully, Ahsoka, or an upcoming story in another medium, will shed some light on some of those events.
There are some other physical differences in Thrawn’s appearance as well.
For one, there’s his highly debated shade of blue. In the Disney+ series, he is a tad lighter than many expected. While it’s fairly close to how he was animated in Star Wars: Rebels, other illustrations of the character gave him a far deeper blue.
Thrawn is also a tad more out of shape—though, that makes perfect sense for his character now that he’s much older.
Then there’s a smaller detail: the definition on the Chiss’ forehead is far more V-shaped than before and isn’t so much curving around his eyebrows as seen in previous depictions.
Thankfully, those deep, endlessly disturbing red eyes are just as terrifying as they always have been.
3.) Dependence on the Force
Thrawn’s ultimate weakness is anything he can’t understand or anticipate. In Rebels, his two greatest defeats were because of those very reasons—a giant Force-connected mystery beast named Bendu and hyper-space traveling space whales.
Now, after his long exile in Peridia, it seems the Grand Admiral has opened up a little to the mystical powers of the Force.
While the Chiss race does have its own experience with Force sensitivity, it’s not generally utilized amongst their kind for anything aside from space navigation. Past that, Thrawn’s knowledge of the Force is only secondary, and he’s never used the power himself.
In Ahsoka, not only does Thrawn seem more comfortable with those unknown forces, but he is actively learning how to utilize them, as shown by his alliance with the Great Mothers. While he doesn’t directly control the Force, he’s clearly got the hang of using the witches’ powers to his own benefit.
For one, it’s how he was able to orchestrate Morgan Elsbeth’s big rescue. But there’s also something strange about his new army—almost like they might be held together by the same magic that kept the late Marrok up and running.
How Has Ezra Bridger Changed?
With how Thrawn has changed since his last appearance, it's hard not to wonder what’s new with Ezra Bridger.
Audiences only got to spend a few moments with the Jedi, but hopefully, the next episode will shed some light on who he is after his decade in exile. Will he be the same heroic Ezra fans have known, or did he pick up some flaws along the way?
Like Thrawn, he must have picked up some notable new experiences or talents.
From what it seems now, he seems pretty settled and at peace with his current existence. He’s even gotten pretty close with the native population.
But what happened between him and Thrawn, and how did the two separate after arriving in Peridia?
Fans have a lot of questions—needless to say, these last two episodes can’t get here soon enough.
Ahsoka is now streaming on Disney+.