Born Mitth'raw'nuruodo in the Chiss Ascendancy, but known as Thrawn on the Core Worlds controlled by the Empire, the brilliant tactician used his natural abilities for strategy and warfare to excel at the Imperial Academy and climb the rank to become a Grand Admiral during Emperor Palpatine’s reign.
Thrawn had a deep fascination for art and culture, believing the study of both could reveal more about his enemies than battle alone. During his assignment to help quash rebel activity on the world of Ryloth, Thrawn set up headquarters in the childhood home of Hera Syndulla, baiting her and her father, Cham, to return for some of the family’s treasured heirlooms, including her kalikori.
Later, Thrawn was dispatched to an Imperial factory on the world of Lothal, where local officials were struggling with a rogue faction that was sabotaging Imperial production lines. The assignment gave Thrawn the chance to demonstrate his ruthless pursuit of perfection, tasking workers with personally testing out the vehicles they produced and killing one employee before the assembled crew. While his tactics were largely effective, they also helped inspire some Imperials to defect.
In time, Thrawn developed a fascination with the rebels known as the Ghost crew, as their unity as a rebel cell and part of Phoenix Squadron repeatedly interrupted the Empire’s plans. After discovering a spy among his ranks in Agent Kallus, Thrawn was able to locate the hidden rebel hideout known as Chopper Base. In the ensuing Battle of Atollon, the rebel agents fled for the stars, but Thrawn was victorious in driving them from their base.
As forces gathered on Lothal, the TIE Defender factory was endangered by the continuing efforts of Hera Syndulla and the Ghost crew, Thrawn dispatched his assassin, Rukh, to aid him on his quest for domination. Although Thrawn was able to capture Syndulla after her ship crashed behind enemy lines, she was rescued by her team. The fuel depot was destroyed in the ensuing battle that took Kanan Jarrus’ life, and with the factories shut down, the mission to liberate Lothal began in earnest.
During the battle, Ezra Bridger voluntarily surrendered to Thrawn and the Empire as part of a larger plot. Bridger was aboard Thrawn’s ship, the Chimaera, as the bombardment of Lothal’s capital began, but thanks to shields protecting the city and the arrival of a pod of purrgil eliminating the Imperial blockade, Thrawn was unsuccessful in his mission. However, Thrawn, Ezra, and the Imperial starship vanished into deep space soon after, taken into parts unknown by the migrating purrgil.
Exiled on Peridea, Thrawn found the Great Mother’s fortress and woke up the witches dwelling there. The captain of his guard, Enoch, and his Night Troopers aided his quest to rebuild the Chimaera, while his disciple Morgan Elsbeth was hard at work building a hyperspace ring capable of bringing him back home. Despite the intervention of Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren, Thrawn succeeded in his plan and returned to Dathomir with the Great Mothers and his small army.