Lars Mikkelsen first played Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels, bringing one of the most iconic Expanded Universe characters into the current canon.
Since then, we've seen how this Thrawn differs from his predecessor both on the screen and in Timothy Zahn's newer novels, though there are undeniable similarities between the two as well. In Ahsoka, Mikkelsen gets to play a live-action Thrawn and Entertainment Weekly asked him which version of this villain we're getting.
"In many ways, it's the same character. He's based on the same material. But we needed to think: Do this right," the actor explains, noting that he didn't feel the need to revisit his work in Rebels as he "wanted to create something new."
As for how he views the Chiss warrior also known as Mitth'raw'nuruodo, Mikkelsen adds, "He's a top strategist. He's always seven paces ahead of anybody else. And ruthless, of course. But only when it's needed, actually. I think he thrives also with the creativity of the surroundings. I mean, he's not using people in a bad way. He's using their creativity to reach his goals."
In the same interview, Mikkelsen would reflect on how it felt to be announced as Thrawn at Star Wars Celebration, admitting it was an "emotional" experience which left him having a "hard time actually keeping my tears back."
"When David finally asked me if I wanted to do it, there were no doubts," he said of his long-waited live-action debut as the Grand Admiral. "Of course, I wanted to do that, so I'm very excited. But [as far as] the transition between Rebels and the actual live-action character? I hope it works!"
While many other names have been suggested for Thrawn over the years (Benedict Cumberbatch, for example), it always made sense to have Mikkelsen play the villain, particularly as he did such a fantastic job bringing him to life with his chilling performance in Rebels.
As for how much of what we once saw on the page we're getting, that remains to be seen. However, Dave Filoni's movie is rumoured to be titled Heir to the Empire, so take from that what you will...