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  • Colleen McMillan

Thrawn Book Order Reading Guide

So, you’ve heard his name and now you’re ready to learn more. Who’s that Chiss? It’s Thrawn! Okay, joking aside, if you’re curious about the mysterious Grand Admiral and why people might be after him, you’re only canon visual source is Rebels Season 3-4. But there’s a mountain of material in the SW book world about him. So I wanted to give y’all a reading guide. I will include both canon and Legends novels and a novella, but if you’d rather just stick to Disney canon, please let the Legends books wait in the wings. But you won’t let them wait too long. Once you’ve gotten into Thrawn, there’s no turning back.

I’ve put them in my suggested reading order. You DO NOT have to go in this order, but it is mostly in chronological order unless specified.

DISNEY CANON - all written by Timothy Zahn

1. The canon Thrawn trilogy takes place before the season finale of Rebels:

Thrawn (2017) & Thrawn comic, which is the illustrated version of the novel.

Thrawn Alliances (2018)

Thrawn Treason (2019)

2. The Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy - not all books published yet

Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising (2020) - although technically a prequel to the first three canon books, do NOT read this one first. It’s more fun to go back in time and see the younger Thrawn after you’ve met his calculating older self.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good (May 4, 2021) - yup, it’s not out yet, but getting that publication date was fantastic.

LEGENDS/EXPANDED UNIVERSE - also all written by Timothy Zahn

3. The Heir to the Empire trilogy takes place after Return of the Jedi:

Heir to the Empire (1991)

Dark Force Rising (1992)

The Last Command (1993)

4. The Hand of Thrawn Duology is set after the Heir to the Empire trilogy:

Spectre of the Past (1997)

Vision of the Future (1998)

5. The Outbound Flight “collection”

Survivor’s Quest (2004) - Set after the Heir to the Empire Trilogy.

Outbound Flight (2006) - Takes place before Survivor’s Quest, so you COULD read it before Survivor’s Quest. Some of the surprises might be spoiled though...

6. The Mara Jade “collection” is set before Empire Strikes Back:

Allegiance (2007) - More Mara Jade-focused, but it’s good to read before Choices of One.

Choices of One (2011) - Thrawn in more of a secondary role, but some great character development for him here.


“Crisis of Faith” (2011) - Short Story set before Heir to the Empire, but you don’t have to read it first.

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