This weekend Star Wars fans are rejoicing that one of the most popular villains of the Expanded Universe of Star Wars will be made canon in Season Three of Star Wars Rebels. Except this “new” canon Thrawn is going to be better than the old Legends Thrawn ever was or ever could be for one major reason.
This is a thing that the Legends adherents don’t want to hear or even acknowledge as the truth, but the original Thrawn was never fully canon. Oh he was a sort of canon, but it was at a canon level that could be overwritten by George Lucas at any moment. Before Lucasfilm reset the canon to one set level across all medium, Star Wars fans were shackled with a confusing and convoluted canon hierarchy.
At the top was G-canon, which was basically all the movies and stuff George Lucas was directly involved with. Then there was T-canon for the TV shows, followed by C-canon for the Expanded Universe. The old Legends “canon” was two canon levels below the movies. If George had made his version of Episode VII and put a line in saying “there was never a Chiss Grand Admiral”, basically erasing Thrawn, he could’ve. The Thrawn that the Legends crowd worships could’ve been wiped away very simply due to the old canon levels that Lucasfilm previously operated under.
But with the canon reset, everything is basically G-canon now. There are no canon levels. The Story Group that the Legends group likes to call horrible names are the ones making sure everything fits together in the giant spider web that Star Wars continuity could become. Because of the Story Group that the “Bring Back Legends” group directs their ire to, the canon Thrawn doesn’t have the blaster pointed to his head that the original Legends Thrawn did.
As the Thrawn that will be appearing in Rebels and Zahn’s new book is 100% pure canon now, he’s much better than the previous C-canon Thrawn ever was. Thanks to the new canon system Lucasfilm operates under, Thrawn no longer faces the threat of being over-written by a decision made on the G-canon level. And that’s something that Thrawn fans should be thankful for, instead of swearing off the “Nu” Thrawn or calling Zahn a betrayer to Legends fans.