Combined stills of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka and Rukh in Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire: How Rukh Is Connected to Ahsoka’s Thrawn

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: Tales of the Empire.

Recommended Videos

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire Episode 2, “The Path of Anger,” features a memorable appearance by Grand Admiral Thrawn’s minion, Rukh. That said, the episode doesn’t delve into Rukh and Thrawn’s shared history – so, how exactly are the pair connected?

Related: Why Is Barriss Offee in Jail in Star Wars: Tales of the Empire?

Rukh’s Connection Thrawn in Star Wars: Tales of the Empire, Explained

The Rukh/Thrawn dynamic was originally explored in author Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, which now sits under the non-canonical Star Wars Legends banner. As a result, a lot of what we once knew about Rukh’s ties to Thrawn no longer applies. Yet certain aspects of Rukh’s backstory remain intact. Notably, he’s still a Noghri from Honoghr, and he’s still Thrawn’s fanatically loyal bodyguard. Rukh’s appearances in both Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Tales of the Empire establish these facts, as does Zahn’s 2018 novel, Thrawn: Alliances. Neither the cartoons nor the book reveal the exact reason for Rukh’s devotion to Thrawn, however.

Related: Star Wars: Who Is Ahsoka’s Stormtrooper Villain, Enoch?

On the plus side, the revamped Star Wars canon is pretty clear on why Rukh isn’t still by Thrawn’s side in Ahsoka Season 1: because he’s dead. The Noghri assassin meets his end in Star Wars Rebels‘ final episode, “Family Reunion – and Farewell,” following a showdown with Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios. It’s a grisly demise too: Rukh is fried when Lothal’s shield generators come online. So, when Ahsoka Season 1 catches up with Thrawn around a decade later, the Grand Admiral has already replaced Rukh with Captain Enoch and his Night Troopers. And while Enoch and his troops seemingly have little in common with Rukh, like their late predecessor, they’re utterly committed to Thrawn’s cause.

How Are Rukh and Thrawn Connected in Star Wars Legends Canon?

Rukh and Thrawn’s relationship is largely the same in Star Wars Legends material. As in the revised lore, Rukh is Thrawn’s bodyguard and hitman, and is fiercely protective of his boss. The major difference is that the Thrawn Trilogy explains why Rukh and his fellow Noghri go above and beyond for their blue-skinned boss. It turns out that the Empire was rehabilitating Honoghr’s badly damaged environment in exchange for the Noghri’s servitude.

Related: When Does Ahsoka Season 2 Come Out?

Or that’s what the Empire said it was doing. In reality, it was all a big con to keep Noghri enslaved – and Thrawn was in on it. When Rukh finally gets wind of this betrayal, he sneaks up on Thrawn and stabs him through the heart. In doing so, he gets revenge on behalf of all the Noghri, however, he doesn’t savor his victory for long. Rukh runs afoul of a stormtrooper unit making his escape from Thrawn’s command ship and is promptly killed.

All six episodes of Star Wars: Tales of the Empire are currently streaming on Disney+.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article When Is Young Sheldon Season 7 Coming to Netflix?
The Cooper Family in Young Sheldon.
Read Article Is Shōgun Getting a Season 2?
Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga in FX's Shogun
Read Article All Mad Max Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best
Related Content
Read Article When Is Young Sheldon Season 7 Coming to Netflix?
The Cooper Family in Young Sheldon.
Read Article Is Shōgun Getting a Season 2?
Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga in FX's Shogun
Read Article All Mad Max Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best
Author
Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.