Writing at the Official Site, James Floyd catches up with Timothy Zahn to discuss Thrawn Alliances. Beware, spoilers ahead!

StarWars.com: During their mission to discover the disturbance of the Force that the Emperor sensed, Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn try to sort out their mutual distrust, and nearly come to wrecking the mission over their differences in opinion. What do you think Vader’s frustrations regarding Thrawn are most about? Thrawn’s true loyalties, or his personality? Or their shared past?

Timothy Zahn: I would say it’s a mixture. There is certainly a suspicion of whether Thrawn is truly loyal to the Emperor. There’s probably a bit of jealousy that Thrawn has come as close to the Emperor as he has, or as Vader thinks he has. How accurate that is, we don’t know. There’s certainly a bit of personality and style — Thrawn likes to play his cards close to the chest. He doesn’t like to give out partial information and so there’s a matter of wanting people to trust him. Vader’s not that good at trusting. And of course, there will be certain memories of their past together, the one mission they had — though it was successful, it was not an unqualified success. All of these things mix into it.

StarWars.com: And I’m sure Vader’s not used to Thrawn, who can come off a bit condescending at times when people can’t keep up with him. Vader needs to know what’s going on.

Timothy Zahn: Yeah, and at this point, both of them are used to being pretty much in control, and at the moment, neither of them is. Thrawn is constrained by his loyalty to the Emperor, while Vader is constrained in that he can’t simply off this guy if he’s being a problem because he is so clearly useful to the Emperor. So Vader has constraints on him, and I can see Thrawn’s point of view: if you give partial information, it biases people, and if you’re wrong, it’s going to be harder for people to come up with the correct explanation. For example, I will be looking for a name, and Anna [Tim’s wife] will suggest something and I will get locked onto that one and now I can’t search my memory for the real name. Similar with any kind of tactical or puzzle-box mystery. If Thrawn gives out information that is not complete, it biases everyone else, which diminishes their usefulness to him for the problem. Vader is not going to like that sort of thing, especially coming from someone who he considers not his equal, certainly not his equal in loyalty as a Sith apprentice would be to his master.

Read the full article here.