Here’s Why Thrawn Was Exiled: Grand Admiral’s Rise Explained!

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Grand Admiral Thrawn was one of the popular characters from the Legends Lore that was brought into the canon. While in Legends, Thrawn didn’t appear until after the Empire was defeated, in canon, he was introduced as one of the main villains in ‘Star Wars Rebels.’ One of the key things about Thrawn’s backstory was his exile from the rest of his species, the Chiss.  Why was one of the Chiss’s most intellectual members exiled from their planet? Here’s why Thrawn was exiled!

The truth is that Thrawn’s exile was a ruse. The Chiss were in immediate danger, and Thrawn had to think fast to save his people. He decided to stage an Exile to be found by the Empire. This was so that he could work his way up the ranks in the Empire and then use his position to ensure he could protect his people.

Now that we have briefly discussed Thrawn’s exile, let’s analyze it in more detail! If you’re interested in how Thrawn climbed the ranks of the Empire, more about his species, the Chiss, and how he staged his exile, stay with us and keep reading!

What are the Chiss?


The Chiss are a humanoid alien species that are distinguishable by their blue hair and red eyes and originate from Csilla. Their planet was located in the unknown regions of the galaxy, and not many other species know that much about them. It was very rare for any Chiss to have any type of Force Sensitivity.

However, some were skilled in precognition and telepathy. They are a species that highly believes in respect and staying true to your word, which they take very seriously. They were known for being great warriors with exceptional planning and combat skills, which is true for Grand Admiral Thrawn.

How did Thrawn rise through the ranks of the Empire?

Thrawn is one of the Star Wars canon’s most intellectual and methodical characters. Everything he does involves extreme thought and strategy to ensure the odds are always in his favor.


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When the Empire found Thrawn in the unknown regions, he staged his exile to lure the Empire in. He used the world around him while also stealing the Empire’s equipment to work his way onto their ship and join them in their ranks. Despite the Empire’s disdain for non-human species, the Emperor was impressed with Thrawn single-handedly overpowering his men and allowed him to join the Empire. 

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While going through the academy, Thrawn and his translator, Eli Vanto, faced hatred and mistreatment because he was a Chiss. Against all the odds, however, Thrawn impressed the higher-ups of the Empire with his impeccable strategic skills, which won the Empire countless battles and worked his way up to Grand Admiral. Thrawn climbed the ranks the fastest out of anyone in the Empire’s history. This caused him to be both respected and hated within the Empire.

How and why did Thrawn fake his Exile?

Thrawn’s species, the Chiss, realized their planet and people were in danger and had to act quickly to deal with it. Due to the Empire’s rapid growth in the galaxy, the Chiss knew they would need help from them, so they decided the best way to do this was to gain their trust.

They sent Thrawn to a planet in the Unknown Regions, who lied to the Empire about his exile. When the Empire landed on the planet, Thrawn used his combat and strategy skills to overpower and scare the Stormtroopers.

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Amidst the chaos, he snuck onto their ship and explained why he was exiled from his people. The Emperor was impressed by Thrawn’s strategic skills, allowed him to overpower his men, and granted him training from the Empire. Throughout his entire time in the Empire, he never revealed that his exile was faked or that everything he did was for his people. 

Is Thrawn evil?

While Thrawn is a powerful villain in ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ the books have him in more of a morally grey area. Throughout the books, everything Thrawn does is for the good of his people and is the key motivation to get into the Empire.

He has been shown to try to protect innocent lives when he can and will avoid unnecessary death if he can. Nothing he ever does in the books is out of evil or malicious intent, and anytime he commits an act that can be considered cruel, it’s only if it is absolutely necessary or benefits the Chiss people.

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In ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ Thrawn is seen as more of a villain than in the books. He is a major villain in the series and seems to commit more cruel and malicious acts. However, he still respects his enemies, which is shown constantly in his interactions with Hera Syndulla. We never did know his true motivations in ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ and even though he was slightly different from the books, he was still a fantastic villain. 

What’s next for Thrawn?

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We are due to see Thrawn in the ‘Ahsoka’ series, where he will be making his live-action debut. He is also set to be the villain for the upcoming Dave Filoni Star Wars film. Whether he is more like his book counterpart or ‘Star Wars Rebels’ counterpart is yet to be seen, but we know he will be a major presence in future projects!


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What do you think about Thrawn’s return? Let us know in the comments! 

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