Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner
The future of The Mandalorian can be found in the books; one in particular, Heir to the Empire, will be influencing the Disney+ TV series going forward.
Written by Timothy Zahn, 1991’s Heir to the Empire was the introduction to Grand Admiral Thrawn, the highly intelligent, strategic, and blue-skinned villain that stalked the Rebels animated series and was name-dropped in The Mandalorian this season. When I scooped Thrawn appearing on The Mandalorian on May 9, it was met with the usual skepticism from some, especially by those who still believe the Star Wars Expanded Universe was tossed into Garbage Compactor 3263827, never to be seen again.
Those days are over.
Whatever issues Kathleen Kennedy had with the EU and letting the past die are tossed aside by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni on The Mandalorian. (In fact, Kennedy’s rules are what probably ended up in Garbage Compactor 3263827.) As Marvel Studios does with adapting their comic books, past and present, into MCU blockbusters, mixing and matching various parts of Star Wars is the new Lucasfilm ideal in their Disney+ programs. (More on the MCU connection in the second scoop.)
Heir to the Empire won’t be interpreted exactly how it is on the printed page, but it’s shadow will be looming over the show. I am told that Mara Jade will be appearing, but how much of her origins remain the same is currently unknown to me. I initially scooped Jade on 3 Buck Theater in 2019. Sources indicate that Karen Gillan is a favorite to play her but no talks have started yet.
Filoni is a massive fan of the Thrawn books, and a war between Thrawn and the New Republic is gradually being built up. Given that Carrie Fisher has passed away, Princess Leia’s role in the book is among the challenges ahead they have in tweaking the story. But nobody is talking on how much of the original plot they will keep in.
One insider said he wouldn’t be surprised if the endgame of the Mandalorian putting together his team of galatic, ragtag cosmic Avengers will result in a theatrical film named after Heir to the Empire. It may not follow the story as it was initially told; however, its spirit will be intact and whatever parts they can repurpose.