What if we tell you that almost half of the Galaxy in the Star Wars universe has not even been explored, let alone being featured in Star Wars lore? There is an entire part of the Galaxy that remained elusive and invisible to the Empire and the Republic’s eyes. For decades, fans could only marvel at the mysterious Unknown Regions, a near mythical segment of outer space that was only talked of in the legends of Star Wars. Timothy Zahn, long time Star Wars writer, is about to publish a trilogy of novels titled Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising that will shine some much needed light on the mysterious unknown regions.
Before we dive into the topic head first, let us explain to the uninitiated what the Unknown regions are and why Star Wars setting sail for this location next is so significant for the entire Star Wars Universe.
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The Unknown Region of the Galaxy far, far away is an unexplored region of space that is separated from the known regions via a thick barrier made up of dangerous solar storms, rogue magneto-spheres, devastating gravity wells and anomalies, and a labyrinth of deadly black holes. Strange things and creatures await the people who try to venture into the Unknown Regions. Tales of Wonder and Awe of places and locations that only exist in fairy tales and folk lore in the entire history of the Galaxy actually do exist in this area.
The region is also known to be very dangerous for inexperienced explores. “Everything is rough in the Unknown Regions” – those were the words of General Leia Organa. Multiple exploratory expeditions and Probe Droid Ships were lost trying to find a safe route into the Unknown Regions. The only route traverse-able enough was discovered by the powerful Imperial Computers of Jakku that mapped the stars for decades to find a passage – a series of short hyper-space jumps that would safely land a ship within the Unknown Regions but it would take months to reach the final destination.
The region is home to some powerful empires and dictatorships. The Chiss Ascendancy and their home world of Csilla are located in the Unknown Regions. The Grysk Hegemony, mortal enemies of the Chiss, are a powerful race of warlike Nomads that have their base of operations in this sect of space. The Unknown Region also houses the watery planet of Ahch-To. Eagle eyed Star Wars fans would recognize that name. Ahch-To is the planet which has the Galaxy’s first ever Jedi Temple.
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The area has been shown in the movies too. The Star-Killer base was located in the fringes of the Unknown Regions. As a matter of fact, after the Galactic Concordance ended the fight that had gripped the Galaxy, a group of Imperial Loyalists that did not agree with the terms of the agreement defected from New Republic and settled in the Unknown Regions along with other Imperial Remnants that had managed to escape the new Galactic Government. The First Order and later, the Final Order – under the watchful guidance of a now resurrected Emperor Palpatine, first came into existence within the depths of the Unknown Regions.
The Unknown Regions were one of the best things that came out of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It was used extensively by writers that later published their literary works based on Star Wars lore. Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Empire’s End, it is seen that Darth Sidious had become obsessed with unravelling the secrets of the Unknown Regions, a vast uncertain ocean of infinite possibilities. This revelation was used in full force in The Rise of Skywalker, where it is revealed that Palpatine had discovered a massive Sith Stronghold in the lap of the Unknown Regions. Exegol was the birthplace of the Final Order, an Armada of Xyston Class Planet Destroying Warships.
The new Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising series of novels will be a trilogy by Timothy Zahn, exploring the life and times of Grand Admiral Thrawn before he became a part of the Imperial High Command and a well-known figure in Star Wars Universe. The Lucas Film Publishin Panel at Comic Con @Home had Zahn as one if its panel members. There Zahn explained that most of the trilogy will revolve around the powerful Chiss Ascendancy. The trilogy will show how they work and how the Chiss will be dealing with an Empire destroying threat. Only Thrawn stands in between the Chiss and utter chaos. Thrawn will be the anti-hero protagonist of the novel series.
The Chiss were created by Zahn way back in the 1990’s. First making their debut in 1991, they have never been featured in any live-action or animated Star Wars production. This will be the first time Star Wars will be exploring the Chiss Ascendancy in added detail. The Chiss have actually mapped most of the Unknown Regions. Grand Admiral Thrawn has been pretty vocal about the might of the Empire of the Unknown regions and how they exercise their power to tame the horrors of the Unknown Regions, halting them from spiraling out of control and engulfing the entire galaxy.
The trilogy could be set in one of two points in Star Wars continuity. It is either exploring Thrawn’s time as the Commander of the Expeditionary Fleet of the Chiss Ascendancy before he joined the empire or after he was captured, and transported back to the Unknown Regions at the end of Star Wars: Rebels. If it is the second choice then we could expect that the trilogy will also shed some light on the Emperor’s mysterious venture into the Unknown Regions and establishing a base of operations in the planet of Exegol.
The possibilities are endless here. We have already talked about the Chiss Ascendancy and how their existence changes the entire hierarchy of power within the Galaxy. The fact that Star Wars is finally heading towards the Unknown Regions is a milestone to remember. With the current corona virus pandemic taking its toll on the cinematic world, the weight of keeping the fans engaged falls directly on the shoulders of the authors working round the clock in Lucas Film Publishing. Apart from the Thrawn trilogy, the readers will also get to see the High Republic Era in another novel under works by Lucas Film. If the current projects are of any indication, Lucas Film Publishing is taking its job of acting as torchbearers very seriously. The Unknown Regions are pretty much the future of Star Wars.