The Thrawn trilogy, also known as the Heir to the Empire trilogy, is a series of best-selling novels written by Timothy Zahn. The novels are set in the Expanded Universe (EU) of the Star Wars galaxy approximately five years after the events depicted in the film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
It was followed by the The Hand of Thrawn two-book series (1997 and 1998), also authored by Zahn.
As the first book opens, the Rebellion, now known as the New Republic, is still fighting to mop up final Imperial resistance and set up a functional government. Out in the fringes of the galaxy, the most brilliant of all the hand-picked Grand Admirals is gaining strength and preparing to attack the New Republic. After convincing a Dark Jedi to join his side, Grand Admiral Thrawn is confident of his victory.
Books in the series 
- Heir to the Empire, 1991 (ISBN 0-553-40471-7)
- Dark Force Rising, 1992 (ISBN 0-553-08574-3)
- The Last Command, 1993 (ISBN 0-553-56492-7)
Reception, sales and influence 
The trilogy sold a combined total of 15 million copies. The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski credits the Thrawn trilogy with rekindling public interest in the Star Wars franchise after it had faded following the release of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in 1983. According to Kaminski, it is possible that this renewed interest was a factor in George Lucas' decision to create the prequel trilogy.
All three books were later adapted as comic books by Dark Horse Comics. The series was divided into six separate issues per book, and re-released in 2009 as a single hardcover graphic novel for the trilogy. A soundtrack of the trilogy had been in discussions by Robert Townson, the vice president of Varèse Sarabande Records, but did not go any further than that.
Role-playing game adaptations 
Each novel in the trilogy had its own Star Wars role-playing game sourcebook created for it by West End Games. When the rules for the Star Wars RPG changed the three volumes were collected into one book for the entire Thrawn trilogy which also served as a second edition to the original three source books. According to Zahn, the writing of the trilogy was coordinated with preexisting West End Games materials (at the behest of Lucasfilm), and that "They filled in a bunch of gaps I hadn't got around to filling in."
- Kaminski, Michael The Secret History of Star Wars (3rd edition), pp. 289-291
- "Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books". Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- Vaz, Mark Cotta (2009-04-25). The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. Star Wars. Del Rey. p. 256. ISBN 0-345-40236-7. "...had earlier discussed with Wilson the possibility of a sound track based on author Timothy Zahn's trilogy of Star Wars novels."