Is Thrawn’s Master Plan in ‘Ahsoka’ Setting Up Death Troopers: Perhaps there are more dead than alive in Grand Admiral Thrawn’s army. Spoilers for Ahsoka’s sixth episode can be found below.
Is Thrawns Master Plan in Ahsoka Setting Up Death Troopers?
The Big Picture
- Ahsoka‘s latest episode features the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who could be preparing a new legion called the Death Troopers.
- Death Troopers, different from the Stormtrooper bodyguards, are mindless soldiers introduced in a pre-Disney Legends continuity that date back to a 2009 novel.
- The potential introduction of Death Troopers and the Nightsisters’ necromancy could make Thrawn a major threat in the galaxy, as seen in previous Star Wars stories.
The big moment of Ahsoka has finally arrived. Not only were Star Wars fans finally reintroduced to the long-lost Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), but we also got to see the grand return of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). The fearsome and elusive Imperial leader has clearly spent his time well in his time of exile, continuing to sow his ranks of Stormtroopers, all of whom are now outfitted in stitched-up and repaired armor after their long time exile. However, these new “Nighttroopers” may only be just the beginning of Thrawn’s master plan to take over his home galaxy.
Later in the episode, we see that Thrawn’s forces are preparing for their return home by loading up supplies on their Chimera Star Destroyer. That’s what it looks like, at first, but these crates being loaded on board seem oddly humanoid-shaped. Couple that with Thrawn’s alliance with the Nightsister coven, and it looks like there’s a chance that Thrawn’s new legion is unlike anything the galaxy has ever seen: Death Troopers.
What Are Death Troopers?
Just to be clear, the Death Troopers we’re talking about today are not to be confused with the elite Stormtrooper bodyguards that were introduced in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The ones we’re talking about date all the way back to the pre-Disney Legends continuity, and are somehow even more terrifying than the ruthless and unquestioning assassins seen in the Star Wars spin-off. Unlike most ranks in the Imperial military, these mindless soldiers have no allegiance and no qualms with killing everything in their path.
The Death Troopers originate from author Joe Schreiber‘s 2009 novel, which holds the simple title of Death Troopers and is still published and sold to this very day despite no longer being considered canon. Set just one year before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the novel takes things from an interesting approach by telling its horrific tale through the lenses of Imperials. More specifically, it follows the crew and prisoners of a massive Imperial prison vessel known as The Purge. While on a routine transport run, The Purge comes into contact with a seemingly abandoned Star Destroyer. When crew members from The Purge are sent to investigate, they return with a mysterious virus that turns most of the ship’s residents (including the Stormtroopers) into vicious, bloodthirsty monsters. Yup. We’re talking zombies.
In true zombie-survival fashion, the outbreak results in nearly half a thousand Imperials and prisoners being turned into man-eating monsters. Now, a surviving group of both Imperials and prisoners alike are forced to work together to escape this intergalactic nightmare. To summarize, Death Troopers is pretty much the closest thing we’ve ever gotten (and probably ever will get) to an R-rated horror Star Wars story. The book clearly takes heavy inspiration from sci-fi horror classics like Alien and The Thing, and it’s no wonder why the book has maintained the status of a fan-favorite and cult classic.
The Nightsisters Could Be Developing a Death Trooper Legion for Grand Admiral Thrawn in ‘Ahsoka’
So, how could the zombified Death Troopers factor into Ahsoka‘s narrative and Thrawn’s master plan? Well, as we’ve known for a while now, Thrawn has formed an alliance with the Nightsisters of Dathomir. Another concept introduced in Legends that was codified in the current canon through Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Nightsisters are a shadowy organization of Force-users that differ greatly from your average Jedi or Sith.
The Nightsisters are among some of the only people in the galaxy (or other galaxies for that matter) who can use magick. Don’t let the different spelling fool you: Magick is just as mystical, mysterious, and all-powerful as you might expect. Through their mastery of Magick, the Nightsisters of Dathomir are able to utilize a wide variety of unexplainable abilities, such as transmogrifying robotic parts out of thin air and imbuing their servants with powerful defenses.
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Magick also gives the Nightsisters dominion over another concept – necromancy. As seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Magick gives the Nightsisters the ability to reanimate the corpses of their fallen siblings. They usually do this to defend their home of Dathomir from unwanted visitors, such as when General Grievous (Matthew Wood) led an assault on their coven in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and when Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan) attempted to explore the ruins of the cursed planet.
So far in the current Star Wars canon, we’ve only seen the Nightsisters reanimate the corpses of other Nightsisters. We’ve yet to see them use their necromancy on non-Dathomirian corpses, but there isn’t really any reason they couldn’t either. In addition to Thrawn’s fearsome and power-hungry Nighttroopers, the potential introduction of savage Death Troopers could easily make him a new major threat in the galaxy.
Zombies Are Something We’ve Seen Before in Star Wars
Though the general concept of zombies being a part of the Star Wars universe may sound far-fetched to some, it is something that we’ve seen in the franchise before. In addition to the Death Troopers novel, Grievous’ invasion in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Cal Kestis’ expedition in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, we’ve seen another iteration of zombies in Star Wars as well. Not only is it yet another example from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but it’s also a story that goes along with our favorite Togrutan hero, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson).
We see this undead scourge during the Second Battle of Geonosis arc. Here, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) discover an underground society of Geonosian zombies being controlled by some sort of brainworm. They all serve the Geonosian Queen, who seeks to bring all life within her grasp under her hive mind control. Though the Jedi generals defeat the Queen, one of the Clone Troopers (Dee Bradley Baker) is infected by one of the brainworms, leaving Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) trapped on a ship where she has to fight off and hopefully cure her zombified brethren.
New episodes of Ahsoka premiere Tuesdays on Disney+.
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