On April 25, 2014, much to the dismay of fans across the galaxy, Lucasfilm announced that the countless Star Wars novels, comics, video games, and other forms of media in the Expanded Universe were no longer part of official Star Wars canon. Instead, those stories would be rebranded under the Star Wars Legends banner and moving forward, the Disney-owned Lucasfilm would only recognize the (then) six existing live-action films, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and film, and all future material as being canonical.
Naturally, this news was met with very mixed reactions. For some, it was nothing to bat an eye at because, even if they were non-canon, the old EU stories still existed for them to enjoy whenever they pleased. For others, it felt as though Disney and Lucasfilm were telling them, “Hey, you know those 30 years worth of stories you love so much? Well, now they don’t matter!”
Regardless of which side of that fence you fall on, there’s no denying that Legends is full of amazing Star Wars content, and even though some of it has since found its way into the new continuity, it’s highly likely that a good portion of that material will never resurface in new media. With that in mind, here are 9 things from Star Wars history that no longer ‘exist’:
The Emperor’s New Clones
In both canon and Legends, Emperor Palpatine is killed when Darth Vader throws him down the core reactor shaft of the second Death Star. However, while Palpatine may never return in-canon, he did manage to cheat death in the EU.
Prior to his demise, Palpatine sought to increase his lifespan because, unlike the Sith before him, he had no intention of being usurped by his apprentice. Instead of increasing his lifespan, though, he instead learned to master the art of spirit transference, which would allow him to preserve his life force after death.
Palpatine created a near-endless supply of clones for his spirit to possess, and not long after his first death, he returned to once again plague Luke Skywalker. His spirit would continue to move on to a new clone body each time the old one deteriorated, right up until the very last one was shot in the back by Han Solo. Palpatine’s now-bodiless spirit then attempted to possess Han and Leia’s son Anakin, but before he could reach the boy’s body, the dying Jedi Empatojayos Brand jumped in the way, binding the soul to his own and taking it with him as he became one with the Force.Advertisement
Palpatine And Plagueis
First referenced by Chancellor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Plagueis’ canonical Star Wars history is quite limited. It’s established that he was Palpatine’s apprentice and that he was killed by him, but aside from some additional, posthumous references in the Tarkin novel, that’s really all there is. In the Darth Plagueis novel, though, the eponymous Dark Lord of the Sith’s backstory is fully fleshed out.
Beginning just after he’s killed by Palpatine, the novel immediately cuts back 35 years to when Plagueis kills his Master, Darth Tenebrous, which marks the start of his ongoing attempts to manipulate midi-chlorians and make himself immortal. However, it also explores the full tenure of Palpatine’s apprenticeship under Plagueis, right up until the events of The Phantom Menace.
Perhaps most interesting, though, is that the novel implies Shmi Skywalker’s immaculate conception of Anakin, who was born of the Force, was the result of Plagueis’ experiments with midi-chlorians. Many fans theorize this is Anakin’s canonical origin, as well, but to date, no canon materials have either confirmed or denied this hypothesis.
As it stands, Chewbacca may very well be our only remaining, non-droid tie to the original trilogy by the time Episode IX comes around. Coincidentally, in 1999, he also became the first major Star Wars character to be killed off in the Expanded Universe.
In The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime, the first novel in the New Jedi Order series, Chewie accompanies Han and his youngest son Anakin on a mission to Sernpidal to pick up a shipment. Upon arriving, though, they learn that one of the planet’s moons, Dobido, is on a collision course with the planet’s surface. Han and Chewie quickly began evacuating as many people as they could on the Millennium Falcon.
Unfortunately, Anakin was knocked into the distance by the strong winds of Sernpidal, prompting Chewie to go after him and bring him to safety. However, the Wookiee was unable to safely return to the Falcon, himself, and while Han and Anakin were forced to flee, Chewie was crushed to death by the moon – an event that caused a longstanding rift between Han and Anakin, with the former blaming his son for the death of his oldest and dearest friend.
…But Boba Fett Lives!
We all know the story. One of the most enigmatic, visually striking Star Wars characters of all time accompanies Jabba the Hutt to the Great Pit of Carkoon, where he’s subsequently knocked into the mouth of the dreaded Sarlacc by a visually impaired Han Solo… But that wasn’t always the end of Boba Fett’s journey.
In the Dark Empire miniseries, it was revealed that thanks to his Mandalorian armor, Boba Fett managed to survive being swallowed by the Sarlacc. Fett fought his way out of the pit and then promptly resumed his bounty hunter activities, though the damage to his reputation was immense.
Nevertheless, Fett would eventually redeem his name in the eyes of the galaxy, and despite his longstanding rivalry with Han Solo, the two managed to become frenemies later in life. In fact, Fett even went on to train Han’s daughter Jaina in preparation for her impending confrontation with her brother Jacen, who turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Caedus. (More on him, later.)
Luke’s Turn To The Dark Side
Luke Skywalker’s ability to resist the temptation of the Dark Side is one of the most inspirational elements of the original trilogy. However, in the aforementioned Dark Empire, we would learn that even Luke wasn’t entirely incorruptible.
Six years after the Battle of Endor, Luke discovered that the man his father killed in his final act, Emperor Palpatine, was still very much alive, thanks to his spirit transference into a clone body. Believing Palpatine to be omnipotent, the Jedi succumbed to the Sith Lord’s order to kneel before him. In actuality, Luke’s plan was to try and defeat the Dark Side from within, but he underestimated its power and found himself unable to resist its pull.
It was only through Leia’s Light that Luke was able to break free of the Dark Side. Still, even with everything he learned under Palpatine’s tutelage, he still failed to best the Sith Lord in their ensuing battle, setting the stage for future encounters.
Much like Darth Plagueis, Darth Bane’s canonical Star Wars history is a mere fraction of what it is in Legends. In both continuities, he’s credited for establishing the Rule of Two, which dictates that there can only be two Sith at any given time – a Master and an apprentice. That’s largely the full extent of his in-canon accolades, though, aside from a one-time appearance, in spirit-form, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The bulk of Bane’s backstory is contained in the aptly titled Darth Bane Trilogy, which consists of Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil. These books recount Bane’s elimination of the current Sith, believing their constant infighting to be their undoing. He then takes on an apprentice named Rain, who is dubbed Darth Zannah, thereby establishing his new Order of the Sith Lords, which would adhere to the Rule of Two.
In the final novel, Zannah successfully bests Bane in battle, killing him and becoming the new Master. A small remnant of Bane remained in her after the fight, but nevertheless, she would quickly take on an apprentice of her own and continue her former Master’s legacy.
Luke’s New Jedi Order
In The Force Awakens, we learn that Luke Skywalker attempted to build a new Jedi Order, but it was all destroyed when his nephew, Ben Solo, turned to the Dark Side. His efforts to restore the Jedi were far more successful off-camera, though.
Luke dabbled with the idea of taking on an apprentice for several years after the Battle of Endor, and received plenty of requests from eager pupils, but he refused out of fear that he might create the next Darth Vader. Ironically, this actually causes one of the would-be pupils, Flint, to resent Luke and embrace the Dark Side.
Realizing that he shouldn’t give in to his fear of failure, Luke continued to hone his skills in the Force, and in the year 11 ABY, after his own brush with the Dark Side, he established the New Jedi Order, complete with a Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 and 12 new students.
The New Jedi Order thrived until 130 ABY, though not without its fair share of setbacks along the way, and was later restored once again in 138 ABY with the formation of the Galactic Federation Triumvirate.
Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus
The premise of Han Solo and Leia’s son turning to the Dark Side has roots that lie firmly in Legends. His name in the former EU wasn’t Ben, though, but rather Jacen.
Trained by his uncle Luke, Jacen was highly skilled in the ways of the Force. Eventually, though, he underwent a year-long descent to the Dark Side after becoming the Sith apprentice of Lumiya – a former protégé of his grandfather, Darth Vader. She convinced Jacen that under her teachings, he would remain uncorrupted, allowing him to use his Sith abilities for good. Soon, though, she told her new apprentice that in order to become a Sith, he needed to sacrifice someone he loved.
That person ended up being Jacen’s aunt, Mara Jade Skywalker, whom he stabbed with a poisonous dart. It was then that he officially dubbed himself Darth Caedus, and he would continuously attempt to lure his cousin, Ben Skywalker, to the Dark Side as his apprentice, reverting to torture as a means of “motivating” him.
He would ultimately fail to turn his cousin, and after a significant reign of terror over the galaxy, Caedus was eventually struck down by his twin sister Jaina.
Considered by many to be one of the most fascinating characters created in the EU, Mara Jade was taken from her parents at a very young age by Emperor Palpatine and trained in the ways of the Force. As the Emperor’s Hand, Jade acted as both a spy and an assassin for Palpatine, aiding in hunting down any Jedi who survived Order 66.
Upon Palpatine’s death, Jade received one final command, by way of the Force, ordering her to kill Luke Skywalker. However, after being forced to work with Luke on several occasions, the Jedi was able to help relieve Jade of this telepathic command.
Experiencing a change of heart, Jade began training as a Jedi, and also as a smuggler, working with Lando Calrissian on a number of occasions. However, she always found herself drawn back to Luke, and the two soon fell in love and were subsequently married.
They had a son named Ben, and they remained very close with Han, Leia, and their three children. Unfortunately, Jade began to sense Jacen’s fall to the Dark Side, prompting her to hunt him down in order to protect Ben. After ambushing Jacen, though, Jade was killed when her nephew stabbed her in the thigh with a poisonous dart.