Timothy Zahn (born September 1, 1951) is a ScienceFiction, {{Fantasy}} and SpaceOpera author, best known for writing Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy, one of the founding contributions to the old Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse (now Franchise/StarWarsLegends). Among fans, he's often considered to be among the best, if not ''the'' best, of the ''Star Wars'' authors. There are a number of factors involved in that, including his respect for Imperial characters as multidimensional beings, his ability to write immensely complicated and detailed plots, the fact that he reads and uses the other books in the EU, and his habit of foreshadowing things that will be revisited years later in different books.

In the Thrawn trilogy, he [[JustifiedTrope justified]] or filled in almost all of the original three movies' {{Technobabble}}, [[LeftHanging Loose Ends]], {{Hand Wave}}s, and {{Plot Hole}}s, resulting in a [[MagicAIsMagicA consistent universe]] with [[MinovskyPhysics coherent rules]]. Notably, the Thrawn trilogy also [[OlderThanTheyThink named Coruscant]]. Years later, he wrote the ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' duology, renowned for [[FixFic fixing]] a lot of [[CharacterDerailment odd details]] that had appeared in [[RoundRobin subsequent novels]], pairing up Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker, and having the New Republic finally sign a [[PeaceConference peace treaty]] with the Imperial Remnant.

Zahn has written a number of short stories, two of them in collaboration with Creator/MichaelStackpole of the ComicBook/XWingSeries. The two authors seem to get along pretty well, and while Zahn freely involves characters introduced by other authors, he uses Stackpole's characters more specifically--all of the Rogues have at least one line, though most of them aren't directly named. He and Stackpole also wrote ''The Reenlistment of Baron Fel'' but, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen agonizingly]], this hasn't been published.

And when the fandom takes an author and promotes him as the example of [[FixFic how to fix messes made by other authors]], you ''know'' he's good.

In the final years of the Legends canon, a lot of his characters were killed off unceremoniously. Reputedly, he knows that although he created them he doesn't have a say in how they die, but he's still a bit annoyed that none of the authors doing so bothered contacting him. However, with Disney's acquisition of the ''Star Wars'' franchise and the development of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', his most iconic character Grand Admiral Thrawn [[SchrodingersCanon is being indicted into the "official" canon,]] with Zahn himself not only [[ApprovalOfGod approving of his character's true-to-form interpretation]] but ''also'' writing a new Thrawn novel released in April 2017. One wonders how many more of Timothy Zahn's concepts will be introduced alongside Thrawn, but it would be safe to leave that with those who indulge in WildMassGuessing.

No relation to actor and comedian Steve Zahn.

!! Works with a page on this wiki:
* Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse
** ''Literature/{{Thrawn}}''
** ''Literature/ThrawnAlliances''
* Franchise/StarWarsLegends:
** ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy''
** ''Literature/TalesFromTheMosEisleyCantina'' (the short story "Hammertong: The Tale of the 'Tonnika Sisters'")
** ''Literature/HandOfThrawn''
** ''Literature/OutboundFlight'' (also covers ''Survivor's Quest'')
** ''Literature/{{Scoundrels}}''
** ''Literature/{{Allegiance}}''
** ''Literature/ChoicesOfOne''
* ''Literature/{{Blackcollar}}'' trilogy
* ''Literature/TheCobraTrilogy''
* ''Literature/TheConquerorsTrilogy''
* ''Literature/{{Dragonback}}'' series
* ''Literature/TheIcarusHunt''
* ''Literature/QuadrailSeries''
* ''Literature/{{Spinneret}}''
* ''ComicBook/StarLord''[[note]]A 3 issue mini-series back in the Nineties, long before his incarnation of the Comicbook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy even formed.[[/note]]
!!Other works include:
* ''Angelmass''
* ''The Green and the Grey''
* ''Manta's Gift''
* ''Franchise/{{StarCraft}}: Evolution''

He's also written several short stories set in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' setting, and is co-author, with Creator/DavidWeber, of the ''Literature/ManticoreAscendant'' prequel trilogy about the early days of the Royal Manticoran Navy. The introductory short story, "A Call to Arms", was published in the ''Beginnings'' anthology.
!!Tropes in Timothy Zahn's work (only include if they appear in at least two of his works, or if the work doesn't have its own page):
* BadassFamily: The Moreaus in ''Literature/TheCobraTrilogy'', the Cavanaghs in ''Literature/TheConquerorsTrilogy'', the Skywalker/Solos in his ''[[Franchise/StarWarsLegends Star Wars]]'' books.
* TheChessmaster: Often both sides have them, leading to a GambitPileup.
* LesCollaborateurs and LaResistance: Most prominent in ''Blackcollar'', but also appear in ''Cobra'' and others.
* DeathWorld: Specifically, jungle planets where the death factor stems from the ecosystem consisting of EverythingTryingToKillYou. Examples include Granparra in ''Conquerors'', Caelian in ''Cobra'' and to a lesser extent Myrkr in his ''Star Wars'' books.
* FantasticRacism
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Both within a book and between books in a series. Rereading a Zahn book will inevitably provoke a series of "oh, ''right''!"s from the reader as the significance of apparently meaningless points and enigmatic hints is now known.
* HeartIsAnAwesomePower: How an apparently inconsequential ability can prove vital in the right place at the right time. Particularly prominent in his short stories.
* MagicAIsMagicA: Defining rules for how FantasticScience elements work, and then coming up with clever ways to get around those rules. Did this for the Franchise/StarWarsLegends as well as featuring it in his own universes.
* MagnificentBastard: Grand Admiral Thrawn in his ''Star Wars'' books, Damon Lathe in ''Blackcollar''. Tends to overlap with MilitaryMaverick.
* MindManipulation: A major part of many of Zahn's works: [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy C'baoth]], [[Literature/QuadrailSeries the Modhri]], ''Angelmass'', the ''Blackcollar'' books, [[Literature/TheCobraTrilogy telepathic animals]], etc. The forms of it shown range from beneficent to nightmarish, but Zahn's characters tend to be very suspicious of any kind of mental influence, even in its most benign forms.
* {{Precursors}}: Often NeglectfulPrecursors.
* PunctuationShaker / TheUnpronounceable: His alien names. However, they also generally work on internally consistent rules specific to a species (which, in the case of the Franchise/StarWarsLegends, pretty much every other author fails to get right when writing about a Zahn-created species).
* PunnyName: A trademark.
* TheReveal, RedHerring, TomatoInTheMirror, and similar (no examples to avoid spoilers)
* RousseauWasRight: There are some truly evil characters in his works, but many more examples of characters who consider themselves bad people but turn out to be [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold anything but]].
* SealedBadassInACan: Usually in the form of some technology or military materiel that could be used by either side to tip the balance in a war, and they race to be the first to get it.
* ShoutOut: In particular allusions to mythology and those in the form of [[PunnyName puns]].
* SpaceOpera
* SuperSoldier: In particular [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructing]] the concept and examining the BlessedWithSuck aspects. The Cobras from ''Cobra'', the Blackcollars from ''Blackcollar'', the Copperheads from ''Conquerors''.
* {{Xenofiction}} and HumansThroughAlienEyes