The final chapter of Star Wars: Thrawn gives me the distinct impression that something has happened to the Grand Admiral. There's talk of his legacy. And Eli is reading a journal that's never mentioned directly in the book (but is clearly the source of the introductory paragraphs of each chapter). This combined with the talk of legacy, makes me think that Thrawn has passed away, and Eli has received instructions and a journal as part of some sort of last will.

The meeting where Thrawn is promoted to Grand Admiral doesn't bode a quick death for him, but seems to have happened fairly quickly after the defeat of Nightswan. Also, I haven't seen the last season of Star Wars: Rebels yet, but I know he plays a role there. So, if Thrawn has indeed fallen, I think considerable time must have passed between him becoming Grand Admiral and Eli reading that final paragraph.

Is Thrawn still alive then? How much time is likely to have passed since his promotion? Years? Months? Days?

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The new (Disney) canon is very vague about what happened to Thrawn. My impression from the end of the terrible reboot novel is that Zahn left the conclusion deliberately open-ended. I suspect that Disney is giving him a lot less creative control than he used to have, and he may not be allowed to chart Thrawn's future destiny yet.

Another advantage of the vague ending that Zahn used is that it allows readers familiar with his older Legends novels to fill in details from the Legends universe. For the most part, the new Thrawn novel stays away from Disney canon enough that you could plug it back into Legends and it would work as-is. There are a few references to Luceno's terrible Tarkin novel, and what I assume are a few references to the Clone Wars television series, but nothing particularly incompatible with Legends (the prologue is in fact a retelling of one of his Legends-era short stories from a different perspective). So when Eli comments that Thrawn has gone away (I forget his exact phrasing), a reader familiar with Legends could fill in that Thrawn has been sent to the Unknown Regions by Palpatine to explore and expand Imperial space. Indeed, the new Disney canon holds that the remnants of the Empire fled into the Unknown Regions after ROTJ. Perhaps they met up with Thrawn there.

  • This novel definitely seems designed to fit around the Thrawn trilogy. The only real incompatibility with those is the birth of Jacen and Jaina instead of Ben, and the references to the Clone Wars like Leia saying that she remembered them (although that was a problem ever since the Prequel Trilogy came out). But yeah, for the time being that trilogy, especially the parts involving Thrawn, fit pretty well with Disney canon, and the events of this novel. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 5:17

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