Ahsoka's 'Heir to the Empire' Storyline Explained

Ahsoka's 'Heir to the Empire' Storyline Explained
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Ahsoka's 'Heir to the Empire' Storyline Explained
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Ahsoka's trailer teased the line "Heir to the Empire", but what is the story behind Timothy Zahn's Star Wars Legends novel series?

RELATED: Where Does Ahsoka Fit in the Star Wars Canon?

Is Ahsoka Based on a Book?

Is Ahsoka Based on a Book
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Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

The Ahsoka tv series isn't based on a Star Wars book per se but it does seem to draw inspiration from a 1991 Star Wars novel focusing on Thrawn, who will be Ahsoka's main villain.

Like many Star Wars characters and concepts, Ahsoka's character was originally created by George Lucas and Dave Filoni so she wasn't originally adapted from a book.

After her original appearance in the Clone Wars animated movie and tv series, Ahsoka also appeared in the Rebels series.

While not based on a book per se, Rebels does draw inspiration from previous materials from the Star Wars Expanded Universe (also known as Star Wars Legends).

The most notable example would be Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy (1991-1993).

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Credit: Timothy Zahn/ Del Rey books

Rebels didn't adapt Zahn's trilogy. The show did, however, use the character of Thrawn as the main (and arguably the best) villain of Seasons 3 and 4.

Book 1 of the Thrawn trilogy is titled Heir to the Empire which is also a quote on the Ahsoka trailer.

This cannot be a coincidence. We expect the tv show to incorporate at least a few book elements, even if it isn't an outright adaptation.

All You Need to Know About the Heir to the Empire Storyline

'Heir to the Empire' Storyline Explained
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Credit: Disney/ Lucasfilm

The Ahsoka trailers mention a rumor of Thrawn returning as "heir to the empire."

This line refers to both the title and the storyline of Book 1 in Zahn's Thrawn trilogy.

The book follows Thrawn's attempts to destroy the New Republic and re-establish the Empire.

Despite the Empire's now slim chances at rebirth, Thrawn is a genius mastermind who still poses a serious threat.

The new tv series is set in the New Republic. We can totally see why Ahsoka would choose Thrawn as its villain, and his heir to the empire storyline as its main conflict.

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However, we don't expect the book's actual story to be replicated. Ashoka's character, for one, hadn't been created yet, nor her Rebels associates.

Moreover, Heir of the Empire features Mara Jade -- Luke's love interest from the Star Wars Expanded Universe -- and Thrawn's attempt to kidnap Luke and Leia.

We think that the return of these characters is a bit unlikely. In the Star Wars current canon, overthrowing Thrawn has been hyped as Ahsoka and the rebels' battle.

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Is Heir to the Empire Canon?

Is Heir to the Empire Canon
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Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Like all non-movie materials from before 2014 (minus the Clone Wars tv series) Heir of the Empire is no longer considered part of the Star Wars canon.

Instead, it's treated as a part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, also known as Star Wars Legends.

However, the creators of Rebels liked Thrawn as an antagonist so much that they used him in the animated tv show, making him a part of the canon.

The 1991-1993 trilogy's storyline, however, isn't canon, which means that we can enjoy it but cannot expect it to impact future Star Wars movies or shows.

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