Star Wars: The Force Awakens – What Happened After Return of the Jedi?


After the wake of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, it was announced that the Expanded Universe was no more. Many fans feared the worst. What would happen to Mara Jade and Thrawn? What about the struggles and races that had been introduced to the universe? Were they gone forever?

But as the first few comics and novels of the new Star Wars canon trickled out, all anyone could ask was, “What of the era after Return of the Jedi?” We now know more. So, let’s break it down.

Is the new Star Wars canon different from old one?

Yes and no. From what we have been presented so far, the base universe is the same. The same planets exist, the same races, and the same languages. In some instances, such as the book Tarkin, certain small events from the old Expanded Universe have been referenced. As a whole, however, the events seem largely changed and several characters are missing.

Which events and which characters?

For example, the character of Natasi Daala, Tarkin’s mistress in the old EU, was absent from the novel Tarkin. In addition, the same novel did not feature Admiral Ackbar, who in the old EU served as Tarkin’s servant. It is possible that Ackbar and Daala may be introduced in later material. For the moment, however, they are absent. Furthermore, everything after Return of the Jedi seems to be reset.

What happened in the old EU after Return of the Jedi?

In the original Expanded universe, the death of Darth Vader and the Emperor were a significant blow to the Empire, but they were far from defeated. The Rebel Alliance rebranded itself the New Republic, fighting 2-3 years until they captured the Imperial capital of Coruscant.


The Empire had a resurgence of strength a few years later under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who waged a brutal and effective campaign that almost turned the tables on the New Republic. However, they were able to repel Thrawn’s strikes, and after his death the Empire crumbled into chaos. What was once the Empire became the Imperial Remnant, a fractured sect controlled by  ex-Imperial officers who acted as warlords.


Luke Skywalker also established a Jedi Academy on Yavin IV and trained dozens of Jedi during the time he New Republic wore down the Imperial Remnant. Eventually, the New Republic and the Remnant signed a peace treaty 16 years after the Battle of Endor, bringing an end to decades of hostility and bringing peace to the galaxy… for a time anyway.

So, that’s all changed now?

It appears so. While the post Return of the Jedi period seems to be covered in the upcoming novel Star Wars: Aftermath, we can make some conclusions based on the new trailer and the material seen at Star Wars Celebration which we’ll get into next page.


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  1. The “Dark Ages” didn’t get that moniker because of any sort of post-apocalyptic conditions, or because of a plunge into poverty. In fact, standards of living were actually pretty decent.There were several major technological advances during that “unenlightened” time, such as Carolingian minuscule (which revolutionized the written word by standardizing writing, making reading much easier and writing much faster, and therefore made the interchange of ideas much, much easier and faster), eyeglasses, the spinning wheel, the hourglass, the clock, and (of course), one of the most important invention in human history: the printing press. Slavery (popular during the Roman Empire) fell largely out of use, as advances in farming technology and and animal husbandry made it uneconomical. Roman blood sports were replaced by pastimes like bowling and ice skating, and (the really big sport of the day) horseshoe throwing.

    Originally, the term “Dark Ages” was used by a dude pining over the glory days of the Roman Empire. Later on, historians used it to refer to a time that wasn’t dark in the “horrible living conditions” sense but in the “we don’t know a lot about it” sense. Even that isn’t true anymore, however, as the scholars of the “Dark Ages” were actually very prolific writers. Nowadays, the vast majority of historians prefer the term “Early Middle Ages” or the like instead of “Dark Ages”.

    Just so’s you know.

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