Lars Mikkelsen's Thrawn Just Made Star Wars Villain History

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Lars Mikkelsen as Thrawn in Ahsoka, Mikkelsen actor

Lars Mikkelsen's live-action Thrawn debut in Disney+'s Ahsoka is a Star Wars first. 

Leading up to Star Wars Celebration in April, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding Ahsoka was who would play Grand Admiral Thrawn. 

After showing the fan-favorite villain from behind in the series teaser, Lucasfilm later confirmed Lars Mikkelsen - the voice actor of the character in Star Wars Rebels - would bring the blue-skinned Chiss to live-action. 

Five episodes later, he finally arrived; and, in doing so, Mikkelsen made Star Wars history. 

Lars Mikkelsen's Thrawn Makes Historic Star Wars Return

Comparison of Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels and Ahsoka
Star Wars

Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Episode 5 of Ahsoka.

In Episode 6 of Ahsoka, Lars Mikkelsen made his long-awaited appearance as Grand Admiral Thrawn, making him the first actor to physically play a Star Wars villain in live-action after first having portrayed them in the animated medium.

Granted, Mikkelsen is far from the first to play a Star Wars character both in live-action and animation. 

For example, Katee Sackhoff remains the only actor to play Bo-Katan Kryze after voicing her in The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and The Mandalorian

The same can be said for Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand due to her appearances in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Other actors who voiced their characters at times, while also playing them in real-life, include Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, and Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera.

Some actors have only provided the voice of their characters within both mediums, such as Sam Witwer as Darth Maul, James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, and Steve Blum as Zeb

But again, what sets Lars Mikkelsen apart is he's the first to voice a Star Wars animated baddie before physically portraying them in live-action. 

Other Ways Thrawn Made Star Wars History

Lars Mikkelsen as Thrawn in Ahsoka
Star Wars

Lars Mikkelsen's tenure as Grand Admiral Thrawn isn't the first time the villain and his actor shattered preexisting precedents. 

Apart from Dave Filoni as Chopper, Mikkelsen and Clancy Brown are the only other original members of the Star Wars Rebels cast (so far) to cross over into Ahsoka

It's also worth noting that Thrawn is originally from Timothy Zahn's Star Wars book trilogy which Disney deemed as non-canon. Of course, this means Ahsoka and Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni is responsible for bringing the villain from book to animation and now live-action. 

Still, while Mikkelsen's first Thrawn appearance is a huge moment for the Star Wars faithful, Ahsoka Episode 6 is only the beginning.

The character is expected to serve as the primary villain of Dave Filoni's MandoVerse crossover movie and may have a presence in other upcoming Star Wars projects as well. 

New episodes of Ahsoka drop on Tuesdays on Disney+.

- In This Article: Ahsoka
Release Date
August 22, 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.