The Star Wars story didn't end with Return of the Jedi. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the rest lived on and were no doubt instrumental in shaping the new status quo of that galaxy far, far away.
But what happened, exactly? What are the stories that tell of what came next? For decades, this timeframe has been the holy grail for Star Wars fans, once thought of as a story that would never be told. After all, that celebration scene on Endor with Vader dead, the Emperor dead and the Death Star destroyed, seemed like a fine place for closure. It was the Star Wars version of "happily ever after."
Yet in reality, that would never be the case. The destruction of a space station and one ruler would not wipe out an entire armada full of military leaders and regional governors. It would be a major milestone that could turn the tide of war, but the war would be far from over.
That's the starting point we're going to learn about in Star Wars: Shattered Empire, an comic book coming from Marvel in September. It's just one chapter from Lucasfilm's "Journey to The Force Awakens" initiative, and it happens to be the very first chapter — the one that tells of what happened immediately after Return of the Jedi. And like all Star Wars comics, books, and other materials released since Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, Shattered Empire is 100% canon.
StarWars.com has published a new interview with Greg Rucka, veteran comic book writer and the scribe behind this four-issue comic miniseries, in which he gives insights into what Star Wars' brave new galaxy is like.
"The Empire still has resources," explained Rucka. "The Empire still has an enormous fleet. They may be in disarray after the Battle of Endor, but to think that in that vacuum, people aren't stepping up [is shortsighted]."
So Shattered Empire finds the galaxy in disarray, with a burgeoning "New Republic" trying to establish order while liberating the planets that are still under Imperial rule. Rucka said that clashes between the vast remaining forces of the Empire who refuse to flinch or give in, versus our Rebel heroes with a crushing victory under their belt, are going to get ugly.
The biggest revelation from the StarWars.com interview is that Shattered Empire does not center on familiar Star Wars characters. Luke, Leia, Han and the rest may weave in and out of the miniseries, but the story is not really about them. The story is about a pair of new characters created by Rucka named Kes and Shara Bey. They're Rebels — Kes a foot soldier and Shara a pilot — who are married, who are quick to discover that despite all the celebrating after Jedi, the war continues.
With the Empire still in control of the airwaves, Rucka estimates that "70 percent of the galaxy" have not yet heard about the fall of the Emperor. Rucka also shared his thoughts on the mental and emotional states of Han, Leia and Luke following all of the things they learned about and did in Jedi. There's some fascinating insights into the Lucasfilm Story Group, with whom the writer worked closely while crafting his tale. The entire interview is worth a read, and includes some stunning new artwork from the first issue's interior by Marco Chechetto.
Rucka estimates that his four-issue mini will cover "three to six months" total in story time. But Shattered Empire is not the only story to cover the time period immediately after Return of the Jedi.
An upcoming novel tells of another side of that same time period, only from the perspective of different characters. Star Wars: Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig, follows another group of new characters on a completely different kind of journey that involves Wedge Antilles.
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 goes on sale on September 2, with new issues following every two weeks. Star Wars: Aftermath will be in available September 4.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the big movie that all of this is leading up to, will be in theaters on December 18, 2015.