In Formula 1 Racing, we call this the “silly season”: that period of time when nothing is going on so pundits sit around speculating about what will happen when the action finally does resume. We are definitely in the Star Wars silly season now, which (un)officially kicked off with Disney’s Star Wars: Episode IX casting announcement last Friday. On that casting sheet was British actor Richard E. Grant, who stirred up the rumor mill by subtly hinting at a live-action Thrawn appearance.
While we know Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as Lando Calrissian, it may just be guessing and wishful thinking with respect to who Grant will portray in Episode IX , but the actor certainly hasn’t done anything to quash the rumors that he might bring Timothy Zahn’s Imperial strategist to life; to the contrary, he seems to be fanning the flames.
Someone with a keen eye at We Got This Covered noticed that Grant himself ventured into the Twitter fray, liking a Star Wars fan’s gif response to the rumor that Grant might play the blue-skinned Chiss on film.
Now this could just be Grant acknowledging fans’ excitement over his casting in general… or it could be a bit of cheeky British humor, a subtle wink and nudge that just maybe he might play Thrawn after all. He certainly has the acting chops for it; best known for his turn in Gosford Park in 2001, Richard E. Grant more recently appeared on screen as Dr. Rice, director of the Weapon X program in Marvel’s Logan.
The possibility of Thrawn appearing as a villainous threat in Episode IX is certainly there. Thrawn was last seen in the series finale of Star Wars: Rebels being dragged off into hyperspace with Ezra Bridger. If the Chiss warlord made it back to the Uncharted Regions alive, there’s no telling what he could have been up to in the thirty-plus years between his disappearance and the events of Episode IX. We’ll just have to wait until December, 2019 to find out whether or note we’ll be getting a live-action Thrawn.