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In my opinion, Thrawn is an under-utilized character. Where is he and what is he doing in 5 BBY?

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As Valorum mentioned in their comment, the Thrawn novel covers events up to 2 BBY. He was chasing down pirates, smugglers and arms dealers. The book covers most of his exploits leading up to the 3rd season of Rebels where he is the primary antagonist.

While this explains where he was during this time, I believe there is a logical reason as to why he was not involved in the events of Andor, at least as of season 1.

Thrawn (Either Captain or Commander around this time) was part of the Imperial Navy. While his command lead him into dealings on planets, a large amount of his work was done in space commanding ships and later fleets. The events of Andor, specifically in the season finale, seem to involve only the ISB and Imperial Army. This is evident by the large number of Imperial soldiers on Ferrix and by the fact there was no visible blockade around the planet. Since there was no involvement of the Imperial Navy, Thrawn would have not called to assist in any of the events seen in the show.

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    And even if the Imperial Navy were involved, Thrawn's absence is still perfectly justifiable. The galaxy's a big place and the navy has a lot of officers - not every plot-relevant rebel activity needs to be dealt with by the same guy.
    – Withad
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 22:49
  • @Withad It's odd to me that in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka begins looking for Thrawn. Yet, a few months later, she's hanging out with Luke Skywalker and Grogu on the planet where the New Jedi Order is established. I would think that Ahsoka would be relentless in her pursuit of Thrawn. Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 21:03

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