News has been incredibly slow on the Star Wars film and television front, but books are still going strong. Although the first phase of books in The High Republic was delayed to a January release, an excerpt from the novel Light of the Force was recently dropped and Phase Two news is expected soon. Additionally, From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back is on its way in November, as well as a new line of tie-ins to The Mandalorian coming in the fall, winter, and next spring.
But before we get to these projects, a familiar Grand Admiral must make his return. Author Timothy Zahn is taking us back in time, telling the story of Thrawn's early Chiss military days with the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy. The first novel, Chaos Rising, was initially set for release in May until being delayed to October and finally bumped up to September. After months of patience, fans of Thrawn have now been rewarded with a first look at the new book...
Del Rey and Lucasfilm revealed an exclusive poster for Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, set for release on September 1. The poster, depicting a young Thrawn and the sigils of the Chiss Nine Ruling Families and the Ascendancy, will be available in the Barnes and Noble copies and can be seen below:
Additionally, an excerpt from the prologue of the novel was released:
The attack on the Chiss Ascendancy homeworld of Csilla was sudden, unexpected, and—despite its limited scope—impressively efficient.
The three large warships came out of hyperspace on widely spaced vectors, driving inward toward the planet with spectrum lasers blazing at full power toward the defense platforms and the orbiting Chiss Defense Force warships. The platforms and ships, caught by surprise, nevertheless took less than a minute to begin returning fire. By then the attackers had altered their directions, angling in toward the cluster of lights spread across the icy planetary surface that marked the capital city of Csaplar. Their lasers continued to fire, and as they came within range they added salvos of missiles to their attack.
But ultimately it was all for nothing. The defense platforms easily picked off the incoming missiles while the warships targeted the attacking ships themselves, blasting them into rubble and making sure that any fragments entering the atmosphere were too small to survive the journey. Within fifteen minutes of the attack force’s arrival, it was over.
The threat had ended, Supreme General Ba’kif thought grimly as he strode down the central corridor toward the Cupola where the syndics and other Aristocra were assembling after making their way back from the shelters.
Now came the real sound and fury.
The full excerpt can be read on the official Star Wars website.
WHAT THIS MEANS
There's no doubt that we'll be seeing a side of Thrawn that's been totally unexplored up until this point. For the most part, we've only gotten to know Thrawn as a Grand Admiral in the Imperial navy, both in Legends and the new Canon. The Chiss has been portrayed as cold and cunning, but not necessarily evil. Rather, Thrawn is a man fulfilling his duties at a hyper-competent level, with the best of interests of his people in mind.
Thrawn: Treason provided us with a good look at the Chiss Ascendancy for the first time in the new Canon, and many of the entities introduced will undoubtedly receive exposition in the upcoming trilogy. Fans can expect to learn a great deal about Chiss society, their political structures and military, and the threats they face from external forces.
The last time a new Thrawn trilogy was launched, it accompanied the character's debut in Star Wars Rebels. Could this trilogy similarly be a backdoor into his return in the rumored Rebels sequel? Only time will tell. For now, we can all look forward to the beginning of Thrawn's beginning, and how that will shape into the Grand Admiral he comes to be.