The Thrawn trilogy, also known as the Heir to the Empire trilogy, is a series of science-fiction novels written by Timothy Zahn. They are set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe approximately five years after the events depicted in the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi. The series introduced several notable characters, including Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the more notable villains in the Expanded Universe. The Thrawn trilogy was followed by The Hand of Thrawn, a two-book series (1997 and 1998) also authored by Zahn.
With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon in April 2014.
At the 2016 Star Wars Celebration in London, it was announced that Thrawn would appear in season three of Star Wars Rebels, his first onscreen appearance. A canonical Thrawn trilogy of novels started with Star Wars: Thrawn by Zahn, published in April 2017.
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