How Are Thrawn & Anakin Connected? Relationship Explained

thrawn anakin vader

Two Star Wars characters who fans think aren’t connected to one another are Grand Admiral Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker. That’s because we’ve never seen them onscreen together simultaneously, as Thrawn was the one chasing the Rebels during the events of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ after Darth Vader had other things to do. But the thing is that Thrawn actually has a connection with Anakin. So, how are Thrawn and Anakin connected?

Grand Admiral Thrawn once worked with Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. Then, after Thrawn became part of the Empire, he went on a mission with Darth Vader. That was when he deduced that Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were actually the same people.

The fact that Thrawn once worked together with Anakin Skywalker is why he was able to quickly put the pieces together to conclude that Darth Vader was actually Anakin the entire time. In that regard, he was one of the few people aware of this deep, dark secret that Darth Vader had kept his entire life. Now, let’s look at the connection between Thrawn and Vader.

Does Thrawn know Anakin?

We know that the world of Star Wars is full of many different characters due to how vast the galaxy is. While that may be true, two characters often stand out when it comes to their fans. Grand Admiral Thrawn has always been a favorite among different fans because he was known for his ability to think of plans that allowed the Empire to win against the Rebels and other enemies. On the other hand, Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One and was basically the main character of the first six Star Wars movies.

anakikn clone wars

But the thing that most fans don’t actually know is that Thrawn and Anakin actually knew each other. We know Anakin turned his back on his name and became Darth Vader. Before he did so, he was one of the greatest Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars, as he was basically the hero who inspired many people with his bravery and boldness in the Republic’s fight against the Separatists.

Of course, because Anakin participated in many missions during the Clone Wars, he met someone fans think he had never met in his life. In Timothy Zahn’s ‘Thrawn: Alliances’ novel, Anakin and Thrawn actually met face-to-face before Anakin became Vader. That’s because this event took place during the Clone Wars.

This was also the first time in history that the Republic came into contact with Thrawn and the entire Chiss Ascendency, which exists in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Anakin and Thrawn were both working on separate missions but met in the space near Batuu, where Anakin was searching for Padmé Amidala after the Republic lost contact with her. Thrawn, meanwhile, was searching for allies that could help him in their upcoming conflict with the unidentified enemies of the Chiss.

Did Anakin work with Thrawn?

As mentioned, Thrawn and Anakin met one another during the Clone Wars. This was a surprising meeting for both of them because neither the Republic nor the Chiss were aware of each other’s existence then. That’s because the Chiss were isolated in the Unknown Regions.


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At that time, Thrawn and Anakin couldn’t understand one another because the Chiss didn’t speak the Galactic Basic Standard (English in our world). Nevertheless, they found common ground using a translator, who helped Anakin explain the nature of the Clone Wars and the Republic. Anakin also asked Thrawn for aid in locating Padmé. They both ended up working together and succeeded before going their separate ways.

The fact that Anakin and Thrawn worked together on the mission to locate Padmé ultimately allowed Thrawn’s life to have a different direction. Years later, he started working for the Empire, which transitioned from the Republic Anakin introduced. And this also set the table for a future reunion with the man once called Anakin Skywalker.

Did Thrawn know Vader was Anakin?

Eventually, Thrawn ended up serving the Empire and swearing his allegiance to Emperor Palpatine. His rise to the top of the Imperial military ladder was quick and very impressive because his knowledge and intelligence surprised Palpatine. And it was during his time with the Empire he came into contact with Darth Vader.

thrawn and palpatine

Of course, Vader’s true identity was always a secret the Empire tried to keep because no one wanted to know that a former Jedi Knight became a dreaded Sith Lord. As such, only a few people in the Empire knew who Vader was. And those who knew who he was were people who could be trusted with that secret.

The thing is that Thrawn eventually started working with Darth Vader in ‘Alliances’ and was able to deduce who this masked Sith Lord was. He put together the pieces while making sense of Vader’s strategies and mindset to understand that this man was familiar to him. Thrawn drew connections between Vader’s habits and Anakin’s personality and tactics, and that was when he deduced that they were the same person.


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Of course, fate would have it that their mission together involved a return to Batuu, where Palpatine could sense a disturbance in the Force. Nevertheless, the partnership wasn’t easy initially, as Thrawn teased Vader about being Anakin. Vader rejected the notion that he was Anakin because he insisted that Anakin was already dead. There was also the fact that Vader often questioned Thrawn’s loyalty to the emperor while also wondering about his true intentions.

Eventually, the pair learned to respect one another because they realized how formidable they were. They established a good working relationship with one another, and that was when Vader learned that Thrawn could be trusted. Meanwhile, Thrawn accepted the fact that Anakin Skywalker was truly gone. This partnership with Vader was one of the events that helped him earn the trust of Emperor Palpatine, who had a very small circle of trust.

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