With the impending release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, we review the characters, timelines, and parallel universes that spanned the Star Wars galaxy
A universe created after the destruction of the Death Star, born from the imagination—and denial—of Star Wars fans all over, the Star Wars Expanded Universe filled in the blanks left by the movies, gave depth to the franchise’s characters, and ultimately stretched the whole Star Wars ride when people thought it was over. George Lucas considers the Expanded Universe material as a parallel universe; one that tries its best to maintain consistency with the main canon, Episode I to VI. The announcement of Episode VII, however, meant the Expanded Universe had to be wiped clean. It was renamed “Legends” to give way to JJ Abrams’s take on Star Wars. So before all is lost, let’s take a look at what happened after Return of the Jedi according to the biggest geek pick-me-up in the galaxy.
Book Count: 10
Long Story Short: Wedge Antilles creates Rogue Squadron, tasked with recapturing Coruscant after the war, and Wraith Squadron, tasked with stopping Warlord Zsinj after acquiring a Super Star Destroyer. It’s the Expanded Universe’s version of Top Gun.
Geek Fact: The novels were apparently based on the X-Wing and Tie Fighter video games and, aside from Episode VII, a Rogue Squadron movie is also in the works.
Heir to the Empire (The Thrawn Trilogy)
Book Count: 3
Long Story Short: The rebellion faces Admiral Thrawn, leader of the remaining Imperial Forces on the other side of the galaxy and a master tactician that’s equally feared as Vader. Thrawn aligns with a Sith who wishes to turn Luke, Leia, and her twins to the Dark Side.
Geek Fact: The series introduces Mara Jade, the Emperor’s servant and Luke’s love interest, as well as the Ysalamiri, a small creature that is able to repel Force energies. Thrawn has one, just so you know.
The Jedi Academy Trilogy
Book Count: 3
Long Story Short: Luke reestablishes the Jedi Order on Yavin 4. There he trains Leia and Han’s twins, Jaina and Jacen Solo, and eventually their younger brother, Anakin. However, Luke’s most promising student, Kyp Durron, is turned to the Dark Side by the trapped spirit of the Sith, Exar Kun, who exploits his hatred for the Empire.
Geek Fact: Kyp recovers the Sun Crusher on Yavin 4, a small starfighter deadlier than the Death Star. It can destroy entire star systems by causing its sun to go supernova.
Young Jedi Knights
Book Count: 14
Long Story Short: Geared towards a younger audience, the series takes on the training of Jaina and Jacen Solo in Luke’s Jedi Academy.
Geek Fact: One of the twins’ classmates is Lowbacca, Chewbacca’s nephew. There, a Wookie Jedi.
New Jedi Order
Book Count: 19
Long Story Short: The new Republic, together with Luke’s Jedi Academy, face the Yuuzhan Vong, a race bent on conquering the galaxy. These invaders carry a unique trait in that they exist outside of the Force—they cannot be sensed nor are they affected by Force powers.
Geek Fact: An estimated 365 trillion lives were lost in the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, along with it, Chewbacca, while saving Anakin Solo. The series, being so massive, was actually overseen by Lucasfilm and their continuity advisors.
Legacy of the Force
Book Count: 9
Long Story Short: The series has parallels to the first three Episodes in that a civil war sets the stage, the Corellia system rebelling against the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. Jacen Solo, in his dream to unify the galaxy, falls to the dark side—mentored by the female Sith, Lumiya—and becomes Darth Caedus.
Geek Fact: Though shorter, this series has more character deaths than New Jedi Order. The series also brings back Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian.
Fate of the Jedi
Book Count: 9
Long Story Short: With the death of Darth Caedus, the Galactic Federation holds Luke responsible for his fall and orders the Jedi to either disband or fall under the government. Luke accepts exile and, accompanied by his son Ben, attempts to discover the cause of Jacen’s fall to the Dark Side.
Geek Fact: The series introduces Abeloth, an extremely powerful Dark Side entity. Once mortal, she served the Ones, a family of force wielders seen as gods consisting of the Father, the Son who is the embodiment of the Dark Side, and the Daughter, the embodiment of the light.