'Star Wars: Shattered Empire': 14 Things We Learned About The Post-'Return Of The Jedi' World

The second Death Star has been destroyed. The Emperor is dead. The galaxy celebrates. What happens next?

That's exactly what the forthcoming comic book Star Wars: Shattered Empire will set out to answer as one of many new stories coming this fall as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing program. The comic book picks up immediately after the Battle of Endor, showing that the destruction of the second Death Star wasn't exactly an easy happy ending, and it certainly wasn't the absolute end of the Empire either.

Find out what we learned about Star Wars Shattered Empire from an interview with series writer Greg Rucka that we break down after the jump!

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

First of all, here's the official synopsis of the four-issue comic series arriving on September 2nd:

Emperor Palpatine's twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire's Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!

Shattered Empire was written in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, the new group of Lucasfilm employees, headed up by Kiri Hart and created by President Kathleen Kennedy, whose job is to make sure every single Star Wars movie, TV show, book, comic book and video game tell one, big Star Wars story. This group also included Rayne Roberts, Pablo Hidalgo, and Leland Chee.

The Two Main Characters

The two main characters are Kes and Shara Bey, husband and wife Rebels. Shara is a pilot and Kes is part of the ground troops, so during the rebellion they've spent more time apart than they have together.

According to Rucka (via StarWars.com), at least in his mind, Kes and Shara joined the Rebellion after the first victory at Yavin in A New Hope, and they joined because they wanted to make sure they believed in and helped shape the future that their then-newborn child would be living in. This backstory is subject to change, but that was the emotional core in mind at the time of the writing.

The Time Period

The time period covered by Shattered Empire will be about three to six months following the Battle of Endor.

Kes and Shara think that the fight is over once the Battle of Endor is over, but they quickly learn that's not the case. Rucka explains, "They're both very tired veterans, and they come out of [the Battle of] Endor with the elation that we see in [Return of the Jedi]. 'We've won. It's over.' — only to discover that, no it's not. The Empire was huge."

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The Empire Doesn't Give Up

The Empire doesn't just give up after the second Death Star is destroyed. Rucka says, "The Empire still has resources. The Empire still has an enormous fleet. They may be in disarray post the Battle of Endor, but to think that in that vacuum people aren't stepping up [is shortsighted]."

In fact, some of the Empire may be even more aggressive now that they're backed into a corner by the Rebels. Rucka says that while there may be some Imperials who just bail at this crucial point in the fight, but "for every Moff who does that, there are five who say, 'Like hell am I leaving this post. We've got stormtroopers for a reason. You get out there and you shoot every last one of these upstart insurgents, these terrorists, and you make clear to them that the rule of law still stands.' So it does get ugly."

The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire variant cover from Mike Deodato for Comic*Pop Collectibles

The Galaxy Doesn't Know

A huge part of the galaxy hasn't even heard that Emperor Palaptine is dead. Illustrator Marco Chechetto says:

"Who controls the airwaves? The Empire does. So, the Rebellion can be jumping up and down, and screaming at the top their lungs, 'Palpatine is dead!' But I guarantee you, that message didn't reach 70 percent of the galaxy. It's a rumor. It's a whisper."

The word seemed to spread pretty quickly to Naboo, Corsucant, Bespin and Tatooine in the victory montage in Return of the Jedi, but there's a whole galaxy out there, so this is an interesting piece of information in how the Empire continues to incite fear and thrive in other parts of the galaxy.

Star Wars Shattered Empire

We Visit New Worlds

As much as the Empire may be reinvigorated to fight until the last man, there's also an increase in support for the Rebels too. Rucka explains:

We see, at the beginning of issue 2, the Alliance aiding in the liberation of a capitol city on a new world. Not a world we've visited in the films. We see there, a hint that the Empire has no intention of going quietly into that dark night. One assumes that there's an uptick in support for the Alliance: people who are now willing to take up arms with the news that they [blew up the Death Star], the Emperor's gone. 'This is our chance.' But by the same token, the Empire now has to double down. They cannot risk not defending what they hold with all their power, because they've got to know how tenuous their position is in these first couple of weeks after Endor.

Shattered Empire is the beginning of the end of the Rebellion, almost like an inverse of Star Wars Rebels in some way, "Rebels shows a canon tonality to the beginning of the beginning of the Rebellion. And if we look at Endor as the end of the beginning of the Rebellion, which, I think, is probably the smarter way to look at it, then that is a natural progression."

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Luke Skywalker's Power

The extent of Luke Skywalker's power after Return of the Jedi has been discussed, and we might see him show some new strength in Shattered Empire. Again, it was Star Wars Rebels that brought the Story Group to ask and answer some questions:

"We were having a discussion about what's Luke's power level post-Jedi, and is it comparable to Vader kicking the snot out of Kanan and Ezra? You drop these proto-chicken walkers on him, and he's like, 'Yeah, that's not gonna work, either.' [Laughs] Can Luke do that? Is Luke at that power level? The Story Group is incredible. They are really smart, passionate people, and have clearly put thought into it. So, we're talking about it, and [they said] 'Well, maybe this, but not that. We've never seen this — maybe you can do this with Luke.'"

Star Wars Shattered Empire

Familiar Faces and Old Friends

The series will focus on Shara and Kes, but we'll see familiar faces popping up, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. But they won't be in starring roles. Rucka says:

"This could never be, as much as I wish I could've written, and would've loved to have written, the story of, 'We're gonna follow Luke for four issues after Return of the Jedi.' That was never what my mandate here was. But, with that in mind, we see Luke, we see Leia, we see Lando, we see Han, we see Chewie. We see what they are doing, and while the stories are not about them — they're about Shara Bey — the stories link."

Sometimes we'll follow Shara and Kes as they're "only incidentally in the path of the principals" but then other times they'll work closely with some of the characters we love.

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Leia's Mommy and Daddy Issues

Some things have happened between characters that we may not necessarily know about, but the writers have assumed have already happened in the Star Wars universe. For example, Leia has some knowledge of who her mother, Padme Amidala, was in the past, by way of Mon Mothma. As Leia begins to come to terms with the fact that Darth Vader is her father, she starts questioning people who have been around since the beginning of the Empire. Rucka explains:

"That leads, inevitably, and it doesn't have to be a big moment, to her going, 'Wait a second,' and that scene where she's got to turn [to Mon Mothma] and say, 'You were there. She was your friend. Who was she? I want to know.' That's a hidden scene. Someday, somebody will write that scene. That scene is not in Shattered Empire. There is an insinuation that that scene has occurred. I tried very hard to respect the canon and the logical extrapolations of it."

And More

There's some pretty good details here on what we can expect from this new series, and how it will begin to fill the 30-year gap that exists between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. It's just the beginning of the stories that can be told in this time period, but we're going to get plenty more as the Star Wars universe begins to expand exponentially and quickly.

For more information on other events in the Star Wars universe following Return of the Jedi, head over here to find out what we know about another Journey to The Force Awakens installment, the novel Star Wars Aftermath. Stay tuned for more soon.