Star Wars: Why Is Thrawn So Dangerous? Is He the Smartest Character?

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One of the characters that fans are excited to see making his live-action debut in the Ahsoka series is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has always been a thorn in the side of the Rebels since the start of the entire Star Wars: Rebels storyline. He is set to become the next great threat to the New Republic during the events of the Ahsoka series as the Imperial remnants await his return. So, why is Thrawn so dangerous?

Thrawn is dangerous because he is arguably the smartest character in the entire storyline. He is incredible at predicting the movements of his enemies and can put himself in his opponents’ shoes to tell what they are thinking and planning. This allows him to stay steps ahead of his enemies.

Unlike some of the most dangerous enemies in Star Wars, Thrawn wouldn’t try to overpower his opponents using his fighting skills and combat abilities. Instead, he uses his brain and incredible mind to defeat his opponents. That is why he is so dangerous as a character. Now, let’s look at what we know about Thrawn’s danger factor.

What Makes Thrawn Dangerous?

We’ve seen our fair share of dangerous enemies in Star Wars. But out of all of them, the one man that has always been a lot more dangerous than most of the other villains is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was first introduced in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and was the “heir to the Empire” years after the fall of Emperor Palpatine. Thrawn, however, only became canon in 2016 during the events of Star Wars: Rebels, where he became the main antagonist of seasons 3 and 4.


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In the Rebels storyline, many Star Wars characters got to see just how dangerous Thrawn is and how he became the greatest threat to the lives of the Spectres that not even Darth Vader and the Inquisitors were able to successfully hunt down. So, why is it that Thrawn is so dangerous? That’s something that we’ll discuss in this article. 

He Is a Strategic Genius

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Like many of the different military commanders in Star Wars, Thrawn is a strategic genius. He is great at developing different tactics and strategies to gain an edge over opponents. Thrawn was trained in the fundamentals of war and command tactics, and that’s why he understands how to use different strategies to his advantage whenever he finds himself in all sorts of situations.

However, Thrawn is more logical than many of the other commanders we’ve seen in Star Wars. He looks at all of the information he has on the table and uses them to understand what he has and needs to do to overcome a certain opponent. Thrawn is extremely cold and calculating when it comes to the way that he handles his post as a commander. As such, he can use pure logic and objective knowledge to develop some of the best strategies we’ve seen in Star Wars.

Because of Thrawn’s ability to use pure logic when it comes to his strategies, he can easily outsmart and outthink any character in Star Wars. He uses all the information and pieces on the chess table to devise brilliant strategies. In short, he uses every bit of information to understand what needs to be done to win a fight.

He Is a Mental Chameleon

Arguably the greatest asset that Grand Admiral Thrawn has is his ability to put himself in the shoes of his opponents and think like them. Most of the commanders we’ve seen in Star Wars tend to focus more on logic and intellect, but Thrawn not only uses his incredible brain. Instead, he also has a knack for understanding how his opponents think so that he can use their way of thinking against them.


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It’s like Thrawn understands how to mirror how a person’s mind works so that he can deduce the enemy’s next move. He doesn’t restrict himself to his logic but also uses his enemy’s logic to predict their next step. This allows him to play chess while everyone else plays checkers.

We’ve seen Thrawn do this several times in Star Wars: Rebels when he could repeatedly deduce his opponent’s movements. That was why the Rebels struggled to evade Thrawn’s forces, as he seemingly understood how the Spectres think. As such, Ezra and the Spectres were facing someone that knew how to think like a true Rebel.

He Connects the Dots

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Unlike some of the other commanders in Star Wars, Thrawn sees different dots that other tacticians might want to ignore. There are certain dots that the ordinary military commander might see as irrelevant to the plan and the enemy’s movements. Still, Thrawn would not ignore any information he has on the table.

In that regard, he uses whatever dots he can see on the playing field. He knows how to connect the dots to understand the relationship between the different events and actions related to the Rebels. He can deduce a person’s next step by connecting different dots pointing to the person’s next action.

Thrawn can also see connections that some people can’t see. His mind is so powerful that he understands that certain connections might not seem relevant to other people but are incredibly important to determine the opponent’s next move. As such, he can deduce a person’s next step by using whatever dot he has and by connecting the dots to see a hidden connection that others might overlook.

Is Thrawn the Smartest Star Wars Character?

With all that said, it is easy to see Thrawn as the smartest character in Star Wars because he can use his head in a way that allows him to outsmart any character there is. But is he the smartest Star Wars character?


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Thrawn is smart, but a familiar name is also just as smart. We are talking about Darth Sidious, who has always been the puppet master of the entire Skywalker Saga because he manipulated the events from Star Wars Episode I to Star Wars Episode IX. But the way that Palpatine thinks is different from the way that Thrawn does.

In Palpatine’s case, he is more of a manipulator that knows how to control the chess master instead of acting as the one pushing the chess pieces. He may not be as logical and as calculating, but he is better at manipulating people and events to his favor. For instance, he was behind the entire Clone Wars and led both sides from the shadows. So, even if the Separatists had won the Clone Wars, he would have still succeeded in his plan of dominating the entire galaxy.


We also saw in The Bad Batch how Palpatine manipulated the events surrounding the destruction of Kamino to his favor. While he supported the arrest of Vice Admiral Rampart to win the favor of the senators against the destruction of Kamino, he manipulated the events to push for the creation of the Stormtroopers and the phasing out of the clones. In a sense, he knows how to manipulate all of the events to his advantage instead of predicting the outcome of an event using logic.

Nevertheless, while he may be incredibly logical and calculating, Thrawn can also use subjectivity to his advantage, especially when understanding how certain dots connect. Any Tactical Droid can plan the same battle strategies that Thrawn uses, but they don’t know how to place themselves in the enemy’s shoes or connect the dots that may be invisible to other people.

So, while Sidious may be the best at manipulating people and events to his advantage, Thrawn is the best at creating advantages by predicting an enemy’s movement and outmaneuvering them with his actions. As such, Thrawn is arguably the smartest in pure logic and strategy but isn’t the same kind of manipulator Sidious is. Thrawn would win you a battle and even a war, but Palpatine would put you in the best position to come out on top regardless of who wins the war.

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