Lars Mikkelsen, the Danish actor known for his portrayal of the cunning Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Star Wars universe, is no stranger to bringing complex and enigmatic characters to life on screen. But in his latest performance as Thrawn in the live-action series Ahsoka, Mikkelsen faced a new challenge in bringing an iconic villain to life in a fresh and exciting way.
Speaking in a recent interview, Mikkelsen discussed how his portrayal of Thrawn has evolved over the years, and how his experience working on Ahsoka has allowed him to delve deeper into the character’s psyche and motivations.
“When I first took on the role of Thrawn, it was for the animated series Rebels,” Mikkelsen explained. “At that point, Thrawn was a very mysterious figure – we didn’t know much about him, other than that he was a brilliant strategist and a fierce opponent. So my approach to the character was to try to capture that sense of otherness, that feeling of being in the presence of someone who was both highly intelligent and somewhat alien in his thinking.”
However, as Mikkelsen continued to explore the character through subsequent appearances in books and comics, he began to uncover new facets of Thrawn’s personality that he hadn’t previously considered.
“What I came to realize is that Thrawn is not just a cold, calculating tactician – he’s also a deeply empathetic and compassionate person, with a keen sense of justice and a strong moral code,” Mikkelsen said. “He sees the world in a very particular way, and his actions are always guided by a desire to protect his people and ensure their survival, even if that means making difficult choices.”
This newfound understanding of Thrawn’s character proved invaluable when Mikkelsen was approached to reprise the role in Ahsoka, a series that explores the adventures of fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano after the events of Return of the Jedi.
“In Ahsoka, we’re seeing Thrawn in a completely different context than we have before,” Mikkelsen said. “He’s no longer just a military strategist – he’s also a political figure, with his own agendas and alliances to consider. And he’s facing a very different set of challenges than he did in Rebels, with different enemies and different allies.”
To prepare for the role, Mikkelsen immersed himself in the world of Star Wars, reading up on the latest developments in the canon and re-watching key episodes of Rebels to refresh his memory.
“I wanted to make sure that I was up to date on everything that had happened in the Star Wars universe since we last saw Thrawn,” Mikkelsen said. “I also wanted to make sure that I was approaching the character with fresh eyes, and not just repeating what I had done before. So I tried to think about how Thrawn would have changed and grown since we last saw him, and how he would respond to the challenges he’s facing now.”
One of the biggest challenges for Mikkelsen in bringing Thrawn to life in Ahsoka was navigating the character’s complex relationship with Ahsoka herself. The two characters have a long and storied history together, with Thrawn having previously pursued Ahsoka and her fellow rebels across the galaxy. Now, they find themselves on opposite sides once again, with Ahsoka seeking to uncover the mystery of Thrawn’s whereabouts and Thrawn trying to outmaneuver her at every turn.
“It was really interesting to explore the dynamic between Thrawn and Ahsoka in a new way,” Mikkelsen said. “In Rebels, they were more like adversaries – now, there’s a sense of mutual respect between them, but also a deep sense of distrust. They both know what the other is capable of, and they’re constantly trying to outsmart each other. It was a fun and challenging dynamic to play with.”
Overall, Mikkelsen’s experience working on Ahsoka has allowed him to deepen his understanding of Thrawn as a character, and to explore new aspects of his personality and motivations.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot about Thrawn through this experience,” Mikkelsen said. “I’ve been able to bring a new level of nuance and depth to the character, and to show different sides of him that we haven’t seen before. I’m really excited for fans to see how Thrawn has evolved and grown in Ahsoka, and to see where his story goes next.”
As the Star Wars universe continues to expand and evolve, it’s clear that Lars Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Thrawn will continue to be a highlight for fans of the franchise. With his nuanced performance and deep understanding of the character, Mikkelsen has brought Thrawn to life in a way that is both captivating and unforgettable, and has left audiences eager to see what he’ll do next.