Live-action Star Wars is on the way back to Disney+ with The Mandalorian returning for Season 3 in March, but more questions surround the upcoming series Ahsoka. The show seems to be a live-action successor to Star Wars Rebels, which is the project set in the galaxy far, far away that brought Grand Admiral Thrawn to the screen. Now, Rebels voice actor Lars Mikkelsen has responded to rumors that he’ll play the character in Ahsoka.
Rumors about Lars Mikkelsen reprising his animated character in live-action have been circulating as far back as July of 2021. With the reveal not too long ago that Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Hera Syndulla, it seemed possible that Mikkelsen was portraying Thrawn and the news simply hadn’t been announced yet. Unfortunately for hopeful fans, however, the actor’s recent comments to Express.co.uk debunk those rumors. Regarding the fan campaign for him to come back as Thrawn, he said:
The silver lining is that it sounds like he’d consider playing Thrawn again if given the opportunity, but he simply hasn’t gotten the offer. Of course, there’s the slim chance that he’s following the example of Tatiana Maslany, who responded to rumors that she’d been cast as She-Hulk with an explicit denial, only to go on to play the character in her own solo Disney+ series. Thrawn was Ahsoka’s target when Rosario Dawson brought the character to live-action in The Mandalorian, so it seems inevitable that the Star Wars Rebels villain would appear in her series. Who better to play him than the voice actor?
Wishful thinking aside, a fan campaign for him to play Thrawn isn’t nearly on the scale of the She-Hulk rumors that Maslany “debunked,” and none of the Star Wars Rebels characters confirmed to be coming to Ahsoka so far will be played by their voice actors. In addition to Ahsoka Tano being played by Rosario Dawson and Hera being played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eman Esfandi will portray the lost Jedi-in-training Ezra Bridger and and Natasha Liu Bordizzo will portray Sabine Wren, despite voice actress Tiya Sircar previously hoping to reprise the role in live-action.
Thrawn as a member of the Chiss species means that any actor portraying him would require some serious makeup and/or special effects prosthetics to pull off the look, so it was reasonable to think that Lars Mikkelsen could be transformed into the former Grand Admiral for Ahsoka and look close to how he appeared in Rebels.
The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett already showed that makeup and prosthetics could transform Rosario Dawson into an Ahsoka who might as well have stepped out of The Clone Wars-style animation, so it’s hard to fault any fans who were holding out hope for Mikkelsen to land the Thrawn role for the upcoming series. Plus, after brother Mads Mikkelsen was a key part of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Galen Erso, it would have been fun to have another Mikkelsen as a part of the franchise beyond animation.
Even with Lars Mikkelsen’s comments, fans shouldn’t rule out seeing Thrawn played by somebody when Ahsoka premieres. Between her goal of finding Thrawn (and presumably Ezra) from The Mandalorian and the reports that the World Between Worlds will have a part to play, there seem to be plenty of openings for the Rebels villain to appear. Ahsoka is expected to premiere at some point in 2023; with no date just yet, you can always revisit Mikkelsen’s work as Thrawn with a Disney+ subscription to stream all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels.