The popular character has been left in limbo for too long.

In the Rebels animated series and previous outings he is one of the most important Imperial figures alongside Palpatine, Vader and Tarkin, but he has been kept outside canon until now.

Many had hoped to see him appear in Rogue One, but Disney is making a strong move to please fans by releasing a new novel dedicated to the mysterious alien.

The first official extract from the book reveals that Thrawn and Vader have a long history and that the Grand Admiral knows something almost no-one else in the galaxy does.

The new book will be released  next month and is written by the man who created the Chiss warrior character in the first place. Zahn wrote the original Thrawn trilogy which opened with 1991’s Heir To The Empire.

The upcoming release officially confirms Thrawns place in Star Wars canon, which only includes the main films, plus any other books, comics and cartoons released after April 2014.

The preview extracts reveal a scene between Thrawn and Palpatine talking about Darth Vader and powerful threats to the Empire which lurk in Unknown Space.

The full exclusive extract runs in . At the start, a young Thrawn is brought before the Emperor for the first time, who dismissively refers to him as “a gift.”

EXTRACT 1: “If I may, Your Majesty,” Thrawn spoke up before Parck could answer. “I am not merely a gift. I am also a resource. One you have never seen the like of before, and may never see again. You would do well to utilize me.”

“Would I?” the Emperor said, sounding amused. “Certainly you’re a resource of unlimited confidence. What exactly do you offer, Chiss?”

“As a start, I offer information,” Thrawn said. If he was offended, Eli couldn’t hear it in his voice.

“There are threats lurking in the Unknown Regions, threats that will someday find your Empire. I am familiar with many of them.”

Immediately we are reminded how all the new canon novels, including the Aftermath trilogy, are constantly referrring to Unknown Space. Many theories currently speculate that Snoke is an alien whose origins lie in Unknown Space, which is where the remnants of the Imperial forces flee after the death of Palpatine.

Scroll down for Extract 2.

EXTRACT 2: There was a short pause. “If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”

“What guarantee do you offer?”

“My word is my guarantee,” Thrawn said. “Perhaps your servant can speak to the strength of that vow.”

“My servant?” the Emperor asked, his eyes flicking to Parck.

“I do not refer to Captain Parck,” Thrawn said.

“I speak of another. Perhaps I assumed incorrectly that he was your servant. Yet, he always spoke highly of Chancellor Palpatine.”

The Emperor leaned forward a little, his yellowish eyes glittering. “And his name?”

“Skywalker,” Thrawn said. “Anakin Skywalker.”

By the time of this exchange, Anakin has not been seen for years and is presumed missing or dead by the galaxy. Very few know that he has become the Emperor’s feared servant, Darth Vader, except the wily Chiss.

This passage emphasises Thrawn’s connections and early links to Anakin when he was a Jedi in the Republic, his vast knowledge of the galaxy and beyond and his ruthless ability to know what to say and do to advance himself. This alien is going places…

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn ( Century) is out on April 6.

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