‘Ahsoka’: Thrawn Feared Anakin Skywalker & Here’s Why

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Careful preparation and understanding of everything there is to know about the enemy allowed Grand Admiral Thrawn to rise through the ranks as the brightest military commander in the entire Empire. Of course, it is the fact that Thrawn is one of the most astute minds in the entire Star Wars lore that made him the perfect candidate to become the heir to the Empire, as the Imperial remnants are only awaiting his return. But Thrawn somehow changed his approach against Ahsoka Tano upon learning that she was Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice. So, why was Thrawn afraid of Anakin?

It was not that Thrawn was afraid of Anakin Skywalker. Instead, it was because he knew and understood Anakin’s unpredictability, which was always Thrawn’s biggest weakness. Upon learning that Anakin was Ahsoka Tano’s master, he concluded that she could be just as unpredictable as he was.

The most important part of Thrawn’s game plan is controlling every single variable in front of him, which is why those who are unpredictable tend to be the most challenging adversaries to the Grand Admiral. He struggles to control any variable associated with the unpredictability of an enemy, and that’s why he respects Anakin Skywalker. Now, let’s talk more about this topic.

Thrawn met Anakin Skywalker

Two people whom some Star Wars fans aren’t actually aware were familiar with one another were Grand Admiral Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker. That’s because Thrawn was yet to be part of the Republic/Empire during the time of the Clone Wars. Of course, when Thrawn joined the Empire, Anakin was already Darth Vader. And there were hardly any instances wherein we saw them interacting in any Star Wars show.

But in Timothy Zahn’s ‘Thrawn: Alliances’ novel, it was made clear that Thrawn and Anakin once met one another. This was when Thrawn went on a secret mission to explore space outside the Unknown Regions to find a worthy ally that could help the Chiss Ascendancy against their mysterious enemy. The Clone Wars were happening then, and Anakin had to go on a secret mission in the space near Batuu to find out what happened to his wife, Senator Padmé Amidala.

That was when their paths crossed, as they were both in the same star system. While this was the first time a Chiss Ascendancy member interacted with a Republic official, Thrawn decided to assist Anakin on his mission so that he could learn more about the Clone Wars and what was happening in the Galactic Republic.

During that time, Thrawn learned to admire Anakin for his courage and bravery but also realized that this Jedi tended to use unpredictable and unconventional methods that were beyond his understanding. Nevertheless, Thrawn respected Anakin and eventually parted ways with him.

The two reunited during the era of the Empire when Anakin was now Darth Vader. While Vader’s true identity was a secret to the galaxy, Thrawn quickly realized that he was actually Anakin. And he saw many parallels in how Vader and Anakin operated, as they were both unpredictable risk-takers willing to use dangerous yet highly effective methods to earn their victories.

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In short, Grand Admiral Thrawn was very familiar with how Anakin Skywalker operated. Of course, Anakin’s unpredictable nature was never a secret during the Clone Wars, as both the Jedi Order and the Separatists feared his unpredictable nature because they didn’t know whether or not he would do something reckless all of a sudden. And Thrawn, being a student of history, was likely aware of everything that Anakin did during the Clone Wars.

Unpredictability is Thrawn’s weakness

Ever since he was first introduced in the canon side of Star Wars, Thrawn was most feared for his ability to develop strategies and tactics based on whatever information and resources were available to him. He can see connections and understand how his enemies think and act simply by using any information he has on the table.

And that was why he could predict the different movements of the Rebels during the events of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ as he was willing to learn everything there is to know about them.

In fact, Thrawn’s modus operandi is based almost entirely on predicting enemy movements and controlling every single variable that he could control. Doing so allowed him to collect victory after victory for the Empire. But while that may be true, Ezra Bridger ultimately defeated him in the finale of ‘Rebels’ simply because he lacked information on one vital asset that Ezra had—the Purrgil.

That means that Thrawn can be beaten whenever there is an unpredictable variable or if the information he has is incomplete. Unpredictability has always been his biggest waterloo because an opponent that he cannot figure out or predict will always have the upper hand against him. That was the same case for Ezra when he used the power of the Purrgil, who Thrawn was unaware were on the Rebels’ side, to defeat the Grand Admiral.

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So, upon learning that Ahsoka Tano was Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, Thrawn had to rethink his strategy instead of going all-out on her. He realized that Ahsoka may have the same unpredictable nature that made Anakin a war hero during the Clone Wars. That explains why Thrawn withdrew his starfighters and waited for Ahsoka to move instead of rushing into things.

As Thrawn told Morgan Elsbeth, the best way to approach Ahsoka or someone unpredictable was to find a way to control the variables and ensure they were on their side. By doing so, he pushed Ahsoka into a corner while also putting both Ezra and Sabine in a tough situation. He changed his approach because he understood that Ahsoka could be unpredictable and was willing to use unconventional and risky tactics to achieve her goals, similar to Anakin’s.

So, in short, Thrawn didn’t exactly fear Anakin. Instead, he feared his unpredictability as he knew that an unpredictable person would always be a tough opponent for anyone who spends time trying to predict their enemy’s movements. Luckily for Thrawn, he learned from his past mistakes with Ezra Bridger, as this was clear when he decided to take a step back against Ahsoka.

Still, it was made clear that unpredictability was still Thrawn’s weakness when he failed to destroy Ahsoka, Ezra, and Sabine due to Baylan Skoll’s departure from the battlefield. As such, there is a good chance that similar unpredictable factors would eventually spell Thrawn’s doom in the future, especially if he is set to become the big bad guy of the upcoming Mando-verse movie.

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