Thrawn is actually one of the oldest characters in Star Wars, first debuting in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. That post-Return of the Jedi novel (the first of its kind) kicked off a whole new era of Star Wars stories on the page that propelled two decades of storytelling about the further adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, and all of their friends. Although that novel is no longer canon, it’s clearly inspired Ahsoka and its story about an Imperial Remnant secretly plotting to strike back at the New Republic.
It was actually Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni who brought Thrawn back to Star Wars canon, this time as a major threat to the characters on Rebels. Known as a master tactician who is always 10 steps ahead of his enemies, Thrawn is one of the scariest and most unpredictable Star Wars villains in the galaxy, and he doesn’t even need the dark side of the Force to take the heroes down!
Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger
Ezra Bridger is mentioned a few times in the first two episodes of Ahsoka, and you also get to see Eman Esfandi bring the character to life as a hologram message to Sabine. The message is actually an expanded version of the one featured in Rebels, where Ezra first debuted as the main protagonist. On the animated series, Ezra was the youngest member of the Spectres, and also the Jedi Padawan of Kanan Jarrus, Hera’s partner in crime on the show and later romantic partner.
What you need to know to understand what’s going on in Ahsoka is that Ezra disappeared during the Liberation of Lothal, the battle in which the Rebellion freed the planet from the Empire. With the help of some purrgil (in essence, space whales that can travel at lightspeed), Ezra sent himself, along with everyone on Thrawn’s Star Destroyer, including the Grand Admiral, hurtling into hyperspace, away from the battle, never to be seen again. But Ahsoka and Sabine believe Ezra might still be out there, and the key to finding their lost friend is locating Thrawn.
Ezra was first voiced by Taylor Gray.
David Tennant as Huyang
One of the nicest surprises of Ahsoka is the return of David Tennant as the voice of Huyang, the droid professor who first appeared in The Clone Wars animated series. Before the Jedi Purge, it was Huyang’s job to guide younglings through the construction of their first lightsabers, including Yoda and Mace Windu! In fact, Huyang has been in operation for about 25,000 years, which is why Ahsoka turns to Huyang when she needs info on Baylan Skoll, a former student at the Jedi Temple. This droid has basically trained every generation of Jedi to ever exist. But now that the Jedi Order is no more, he serves as Ahsoka’s travel companion and advisor, and it’s charming as hell.