Del Rey has unveiled the cover, title, and release date for Timothy Zahn’s next Star Wars novel, Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, the first installment of a new trilogy about his infamous villain.
The publisher announced the trilogy at this year’s New York Comic Con, and that the first installment would drop in May 2020. In a tweet, Del Rey revealed that the book would take place in the Unknown Regions, and confirmed that the story would be set prior to “Thrawn’s ‘exile’ to the Empire.”
A long time ago, beyond a galaxy far, far away….
(cover by Sarofsky design) pic.twitter.com/cxbiFJCF00
— Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) November 26, 2019
Zahn initially introduced the character in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, the first major Star Wars tie-in novel. Thrawn proved to be a fan favorite over the course of that trilogy (which included Dark Force Rising and The Last Command), and he later loomed large in another pair of novels, Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, it rendered the Expanded Universe tie-in stories non-canon, to pave the way for the sequel film trilogy. Thrawn, and other fan-favorite characters were wiped from the universe.
But in 2016, Clone Wars creator Dave Filoni announced that Thrawn would be brought back into the canon in Star Wars Rebels, and that Zahn would be writing a book to tie in with the series, Thrawn. That novel proved to be a long-awaited origin story for how the character joined the Empire and rose up through the ranks. The character remained in Rebels to the end, and Zahn penned two additional stories, Thrawn Alliances, and Thrawn: Treason, which followed the character’s adventures.
The timing of this new trilogy shows that it’s an origin story to that origin story, tracking Thrawn’s early days within the Unknown Regions and within the ranks of The Chiss Ascendancy.
The book will hit stores on May 5th, 2020.