The Art of War: Thrawn and Sabine’s History in Rebels and Ahsoka

Ahsoka episode 6 features the long-awaited showdown between Grand Admiral Thrawn and Sabine Wren, two characters who have a history that dates back to Star Wars Rebels.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is a fan-favorite villain who was first introduced in the Star Wars Legends continuity, and later became part of the official canon in Star Wars Rebels. He is now poised to become the main antagonist of an upcoming movie set in this era of the Star Wars timeline.

In Ahsoka episode 6, Morgan Elsbeth manages to find Thrawn by following the pathway to Peridea, a planet that is connected to her people, the Nightsisters. The Nightsisters are a clan of Force-sensitive witches who originate from Peridea, and some of them have been sending visions to Morgan.

Morgan is not the only one who is looking for Thrawn; Baylan Skoll, a bounty hunter, has captured Sabine Wren and brought her to Thrawn as a prisoner. Thrawn recognizes Sabine’s name, even though he has never met her in person. So, there’s clearly an interesting backstory to their relationship.

Grand Admiral Thrawn Almost Destroyed Lothal’s Rebels

Grand Admiral Thrawn became the main adversary of the Spectres, a Rebel cell led by Hera Syndulla, after Ahsoka Tano’s apparent death on Malachor. The Spectres were instrumental in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, and had successfully fought against various Imperial threats, including Inquisitors, Darth Maul, and even Darth Vader.

Grand Admiral Thrawn Almost Destroyed Lothal’s Rebels
Grand Admiral Thrawn | Source: IMDb

However, Thrawn proved to be a formidable opponent, who almost annihilated the Spectres on Atollon and Lothal. His downfall was caused by Ezra Bridger, who dragged Thrawn’s flagship into hyperspace with the help of space whales and transported them to Peridea.

Sabine and Admiral Thrawn’s Fight in Star Wars Rebels

Grand Admiral Thrawn is a master strategist who uses his knowledge of art and culture to deduce the strengths and weaknesses of his enemies. He has been compared to Sherlock Holmes by his creator, the renowned author Timothy Zahn.

Thrawn has demonstrated his genius in both canon and Legends, earning a reputation as one of the most brilliant military minds in the galaxy. Thrawn’s signature move was especially effective against the Spectres.

Sabine and Admiral Thrawn’s Fight in Star Wars Rebels
Sabine Wren | Source: IMDb

Sabine Wren is a Mandalorian warrior and an artist, who inherited her passion and skill for the latter from her father, Alrich. Sabine’s artistry is a distinctive trait of hers, as she often paints TIE Fighters and leaves graffiti behind when attacking Imperial targets.

However, this would prove to be a fatal flaw for Sabine in Rebels seasons 3 and 4, as Thrawn studied the artwork she left behind. Thrawn orchestrated Imperial attacks on the Mandalorians in Rebels season 4, using a weapon called The Duchess that targeted beskar armor, which was ironically designed by Sabine herself.

Thrawn and Sabine’s Clash is Personal in Ahsoka

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Sabine Wren have a history of indirect confrontation in Rebels, where Thrawn exploited Sabine’s artwork to target her and the Spectres. However, their enmity becomes more personal in Ahsoka, where they finally face each other.

Thrawn recognizes Sabine’s dedication to finding Ezra Bridger, which is evident even on her armor, which bears the symbol of a purrgil in honor of Ezra. However, Thrawn’s knowledge of Sabine is only intellectual, not emotional. He lacks emotional intelligence, as he views others from a purely academic perspective. 

He can analyze and anticipate Sabine’s actions to some extent in Ahsoka, but he cannot empathize with her or understand her feelings. He sees the bonds of friendship as tools to manipulate, but he does not experience them himself. This is also a weakness that his allies should be aware of; Thrawn will not hesitate to abandon them on Peridea if necessary.

About Ahsoka

Ahsoka is an American limited series developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for Disney+.

It is part of the Star Wars franchise and a spin-off from the series The Mandalorian, taking place in the same timeframe as that series and its other interconnected spin-offs after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983), while also serving as a continuation to the animated series Star Wars Rebels.

The series follows Ahsoka Tano as she investigates an emerging threat to the galaxy following the fall of the Empire.

Pratyasha Sarkar

Pratyasha Sarkar

Officially a student of literature, but unofficially a defence lawyer of fictional characters. I am mostly either feasting on chocolate chip cookies or binge watching sitcoms. Also, I firmly believe mint ice cream tastes like toothpaste.


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