Following Grand Admiral Thrawn’s live-action debut in Star Wars: Ahsoka on Disney+, Star Wars is re-releasing Thrawn’s original origin story in a new form. Timothy Zahn’s classic Star Trek Legends novels Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight joined Random House Worlds’ Star Wars: The Essential Legends Collection line. On December 19th, Random House Worlds will release new audiobook editions of both stories, which tell the original version of how the brilliant Chiss strategist and warrior Mitth’raw’nuruodo became Thrawn, the only alien Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy. Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight have had audiobooks previously, but they were each abridged. These new audiobooks, told by veteran Star Wars narrator Marc Thompson, will be unabridged, telling the novels’ entire stories in audiobook format for the first time.

Zahn designed the narratives of Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight to mirror Star Wars’ releases of the original trilogy and prequel trilogy into theaters. Survivor’s Quest debuted in 2004 and saw Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade on a mission that would lead them to the wreckage of the Outbound Flight project. Outbound Flight followed in 2006, flashing back to reveal the story of that project and serving as a prequel to Zahn’s beloved original Thrawn trilogy of novels (1991’s Heir to Empire, 1992’s Dark Force Rising, and 1993’s The Last Command) by revealing the origin of Thrawn and the history of Jedi Master Jorus C’Baoth. Despite their loose connection, the two novels can be read entirely independently of one another. Because of this, Survivor’s Quest is looked at by some fans as somewhat dispensable since it ultimately feels like a frame story for Outbound Flight, which is more directly tied to Zahn’s previous novels.

(Photo: Random House Worlds)

Zahn had thought himself finished with Thrawn’s story when he wrote Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Duology (1997’s Specter of the Past and 1998’s Vision of the Future), which concluded the arc of the early years of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which he kicked off with Heir to Empire. He was drawn back when Del Rey began pushing books set during the Star Wars prequel trilogy era and suggested that Zahn write a Thrawn novel set around that time.

What are Star Wars Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight about?

Random House Worlds’ official synopsis for Outbound Flight reads, “In Outbound Flight, The Clone Wars have yet to erupt when Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth petitions the Senate for support of a singularly ambitious undertaking. Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and fifty thousand men, women, and children will embark on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. Unknown to the famed Jedi Master, the successful launch of the mission is secretly being orchestrated by an unlikely ally: the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.”

(Photo: Random House Worlds)

The synopsis for Survivor’s Quest reads, “In Survivor’s Quest, despite the bond they share in the Force, Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker are still learning the ropes of being a couple–and struggling to find time together between the constant demands of duty. But all that will change when they’re united on an unexpected mission: They must pool their exceptional skills to combat an insidious enemy and salvage a part of Jedi history. The ultimate test will be surviving the deathtrap carefully laid by foes who are legendary for their ruthlessness . . . and determined to complete the job Thrawn began: exterminating the Jedi.”

Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight are available now as part of the Star Wars: Essential Legends Collection. The new audiobook versions of the novels will go on sale on December 19th.



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