The entire storyline of ‘Ahsoka’ has an overarching plot that includes the search for Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger, who both disappeared around ten years prior to the series’ events. Of course, the Imperial remnants are looking for Thrawn because they believe he is set to become the “heir to the Empire” and will lead them against the New Republic. But the thing is that Thrawn is not a Sith Lord, unlike Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. So, why isn’t Thrawn a Sith?
Grand Admiral Thrawn is not a Sith because he wasn’t even proven to be sensitive to the Force. In fact, Thrawn admitted that he never truly understood the Force and the mysteries behind it. And even if Thrawn could wield the Force, he could never be a Sith because of the Rule of Two.
One of the most important things fans need to know about Star Wars is that an antagonist doesn’t need to be a Sith or a Force wielder to be threatening. Thrawn has always been about that, as he can threaten the entire galaxy just by using his intelligent mind. So, with that said, let’s look at why Thrawn was never a Sith Lord.
There were only two Sith
When Grand Admiral Thrawn was finally made canon after being introduced as the main villain of seasons 3 and 4 of ‘Star Wars: Rebels,’ fans were excited. That’s because Thrawn was an icon of the 90s when he was introduced as the main villain of the original Thrawn Trilogy novels, which sparked the entire Legends storyline of Star Wars. While those books are no longer canon, Thrawn was reintroduced as a canon character in ‘Rebels’ and in the canon novels that Timothy Zahn wrote.
The most remarkable thing about Thrawn in all of his appearances in the books and in ‘Rebels’ was that he was “ordinary” and didn’t have to be a dreaded Sith Lord to threaten the Rebellion. In fact, he was always simply reliant on his advanced way of seeing strategies and tactics.
This was why he was so dangerous as a leader and why Emperor Palpatine trusted him well enough to allow him to enter his inner circle of trust.
Of course, when Thrawn was introduced, it was clear that there were already two Sith Lords at that time. The first is Emperor Palpatine. The second one is Darth Vader, whom Thrawn was able to work with during the events of the ‘Thrawn: Alliances’ novel, wherein he and Vader had to join forces in a reluctant partnership between the two characters. And because there were already two Sith Lords, no one else could be a Sith due to the Rule of Two.
As such, assuming Thrawn could use the Force, he could never be a Sith because Palpatine, the master, already had an apprentice under the Rule of Two. That is why none of the Inquisitors were ever considered Sith Lords even though they used the dark side of the Force. Of course, even someone as reliable as Thrawn would have never been a Sith Lord even though the Imperial remnants now call him the heir to the Empire during the events of the ‘Ahsoka’ series.
Can Thrawn use the Force?
While we all know that the Rule of Two exists to limit the number of Sith Lords to only two, the biggest reason Grand Admiral Thrawn was never a Sith Lord was that he was never strong in the Force. There was never a point in the books or in ‘Rebels’ wherein Thrawn showcased any sensitivity to the Force at all.
Of course, there’s also the fact that Thrawn himself admitted that he never truly understood the Force. He always studied different cultures, religions, and beliefs so that he could understand his enemies and the way that they think. But Thrawn never understood the nature of the Force and how it works. Nevertheless, he admitted that he thought the Jedi didn’t use the Force effectively as a weapon.
In that regard, Thrawn admitted that he didn’t even know the very nature of what the Force was, as he even called it a “weapon” even though it was never a weapon. This leads to the conclusion that he was never sensitive to the Force as he would have actually known what it was and how to use it if he was strong in it. And that is why Thrawn could never have been a Sith Lord, as the Sith have to be strong in the Force.
Then again, the revelation that Sabine Thrawn could be Force-sensitive doesn’t close off the possibility that even Grand Admiral Thrawn could also use the Force. It is important to remember that the Force resides in every living being. In ‘Rebels,’ Kanan even said everyone is sensitive to the Force. But only those who are truly strong in the Force can effectively wield this power, and that’s why not all people in the galaxy are worthy enough to be Jedi or Sith.
In other words, Thrawn could be sensitive to the Force but isn’t sensitive enough to use or even understand it. Of course, his highly logical way of thinking could be one of the things that hindered him from ever using the Force. After all, Kanan once said that Sabine’s stubbornness and Mandalorian upbringing prevented her from connecting with the Force. Thrawn’s approach of trying to understand the Force logically may be what is preventing him from ever using it.
Then, in the events of ‘Ahsoka,’ a mysterious scene surprised many fans. After operating the contraption that opened the starmap that revealed the location of Peridea, Morgan Elsbeth said that Thrawn was speaking to him through time and space. This sounds ridiculous when you think that Thrawn never showed the ability to use the Force. But this only raises questions regarding Thrawn and whoever was calling Morgan Elsbeth across time and space.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!