Well, butter my biscuits and call me Jar Jar, it’s about time we talked about Grand Admiral Thrawn of Star Wars fame. The man was more blue than a Smurf on a melancholy Monday, and more cunning than a fox with a PhD in cunningness. And top it off, he had a name that sounded like a sneeze in a windstorm, Mitth’raw’nuruodo. I mean, come on, what parent looks at a newborn and thinks, “You know what name I think fits this tiny, adorable bundle of joy? Mitth’raw’nuruodo.” But hey, who am I to judge?
First appearing in Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel, Heir to the Empire, Thrawn was such a brainiac that Vogue Magazine’s ‘Most Intelligent Villains’ issue might as well have been dedicated solely to him. And let’s not forget that he hailed from the Chiss species – I guess blue is the new black in a galaxy far, far away.
Just to clear things up, our guy Thrawn wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Imperial minion. No, siree. He was “the most brilliant of the Emperor’s minions” and sat chilling in a crisp, white uniform that screamed haute couture. Thrawn had a knack for strategy and cunning that made Napoleon look like a kid playing with toy soldiers, and he earned a reputation as one of the most formidable noggin-scratchers in the Star Wars universe.
Now, unlike the bulk of Imperial desk jockeys, Thrawn wasn’t one for ruling with an iron fist. Instead, he had a soft spot for creativity, innovation, and an open suggestion box. Forget about Darth Vader’s choke-hold management style – Thrawn was all about promoting outside-the-box thinking. You could pretty much imagine him hosting ship-wide brainstorming sessions, complete with free blue milk and space scones for everyone.
As per Timothy Zahn’s words, Thrawn was shaped to be a villain who led through strategy and loyalty, not through fear and manipulation. Think of him as that one boss who actually appreciates your jokes during the Monday morning stand-up meetings, you know?
Now, Thrawn’s version of the Empire was a far cry from that of Palpatine, primarily because Thrawn never ordered two Death Stars on a whim, and he was more xenophile than xenophobe. Who knows? Maybe his version of the Empire would have included more potluck dinners and less planet destroying super weapons.
So, in the words of Thrawn himself, “To defeat an enemy, you must know them. Not simply their battle tactics, but their history, philosophy, art.” And hopefully, now that you know a little more about the grandest of Grand Admirals, Thrawn the blue, you’ll find the potato chip battles in your own back yard a little more interesting. Just remember, strategic placement of that chip can change the course of an entire ant war.