Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising makes the Chiss involvement in the ancient Sith wars canon again

Timothy Zahn’s newest Thrawn novel, Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, will release next week!

This book, the beginning of a new Thrawn trilogy, explores the iconic character before he joins the Empire, as we explore the Chiss Ascendancy and Thrawn’s time with it. We’ve gotten a couple of excerpts from this upcoming book already, but recently Syfy released a new excerpt as well. This excerpt sees Thrawn and Ar’alani (who at this point goes by Ziara) going to an art museum, and we actually get a chance to see Thrawn’s process of deducing enemy tactics and backgrounds through studying art. It’s really cool to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at how Thrawn does this, since we’ve seen him do it so many times. Now, we get to see a bit of how he does it.

But that’s not the takeaway I want to mention here. Instead, I want to note a mention that is made to an ancient war the Chiss participated in:

“You said there would be insight, drama, and the excitement of discovery,” she reminded him. 

“There is.” He pointed down a hallway. “The history of the Ascendancy is in these rooms, some of the pieces dating back to Chiss participation in the wars between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.”

“I seem to remember that era not being a particularly glowing time for the Ascendancy.” 

“Agreed,” Thrawn said. “But look at how our tactics and strategies have changed since then.” 

And then a bit later, we read,

“Most were purchased by various merchants and traders and subsequently donated to the gallery,” Thrawn told her. “Some are from species we still have contact with, but the majority are from aliens we encountered during the Sith Wars, before the retreat back to our own borders. Here we go.”

In legends material, the Chiss Ascendancy got involved in an ancient war, the Great Galactic War, between the Republic and the Sith, aligning themselves with the Sith Empire and providing aid to it. These events were explored in The Old Republic, and of course, they are no longer canon. But now, it has been made canon again that the Chiss got involved in wars between the Republic and the Sith, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that it is this war that is in mind.

And really, it just continues a trend we’ve seen in recent years of Lucasfilm hinting in several ways that much of the basic framework of these old wars remains. Those stories haven’t been told in canon (and I’m not sure if they ever will, at least for a while) and so we don’t know any concrete details, but it seems that the framework and the existence of these wars basically remains the same in canon as it was in legends. I think that’s a very cool and smart move. And I’m guessing that we’ll get tons more references as we explore the High Republic beginning next year too, as though that’s set after any of these wars would be, I’m sure there will be mentions of it.

So yes, it is now canon again that the Chiss fought in the wars between the Republic and the Jedi. And I think that’s pretty cool.

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