Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni says he only had one choice when it came to casting Grand Admiral Thrawn in live-action after his debut in Star Wars Rebels.
*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Ahsoka episode 6* — After last appearing in the Star Wars franchise in the 2018 finale of the Rebels animated series, Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned to our screens in the ongoing Ahsoka series on Disney+ and the show’s creator, Dave Filoni, has spoken about how he only had one choice when casting Thrawn in live-action.
Grand Admiral Thrawn returns in Ahsoka episode 6
After numerous hints about his return throughout the Ahsoka series, episode 6 finally sees the feared Imperial officer make his live-action debut.
Titled Far, Far Away, the episode largely focuses on Sabine Wren as she and her captors arrive on Peridea, a new planet within the distant galaxy where Thrawn was exiled in the Star Wars Rebels finale.
Despite being marooned on this distant world for around a decade, Thrawn still has a large army under his command, made up of a stormtrooper variant known as Night Troopers, potentially due to them having been resurrected by Nightsister Magick – similar to Marrok – as it’s revealed that Thrawn has been in league with three Nightsisters known as the Great Mothers.
After setting Sabine loose to find Ezra Bridger, Thrawn hopes to set a trap by sending Baylan and Shin after her, although he shows little concern if the Dark Jedi mercenaries die or get left behind on this isolated planet.
Who plays Thrawn in Ahsoka?
Taking on the role of Thrawn in the Ahsoka cast is Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen.
Star Wars Rebels fans will be delighted to know that he is the same actor who voiced the character in the animated series.
The older brother of Mads Mikkelsen, Lars is a veteran of over 80 roles, with notable appearances in Netflix’s The Witcher, House of Cards, Sherlock and numerous Danish productions.
What stands Thrawn out as a much more dangerous threat than typical Imperial officers is his impeccable tactical knowledge, prioritizing the greater war effort over scoring easy victories and delving into the history and culture of his opponents to understand their strategies.
Dave Filoni says he only had one choice when casting Thrawn
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight at Star Wars Celebration, Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni discussed his thought process behind bringing Lars Mikkelsen back to play Grand Admiral Thrawn.
“I think it’s a very considered decision,” he said. “He was in Rebels, obviously, and I loved working with Lars, it was very fun.”
“It was a very big challenge to cast the voice [in Rebels],” he continued. “You know, how do you find a voice for a character that everybody who has read it pictured it, probably in a different, unique way?”
“Eventually, that led me to Lars, and we were all very happy with his performance in Rebels,” Filoni continued.
“Talking to Jon [Favreau], I was like, ‘It’s going to be very hard to beat Lars,’ he said. “Because Lars is in my head. The sound of his voice is kind of what I write to.”
“We do our due diligence and ask ourselves ‘who else?’ but I always come back to Lars,” he continued. “I’m like, ‘No, it’s gotta be Lars’ and Jon’s like ‘Okay.’”
“He [Lars] looks wonderful in blue,” Filoni joked. “Not everybody does, so that’s a factor and we worked on the eyes so it’s a unique thing to bring this character to life.”
“He does it so well… You know, his presence, his stature. There are many factors that he’s able to deliver on and I couldn’t be happier.
Ahsoka is streaming weekly on Disney+ after premiering on August 22, 2023.
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