The Empire Strikes Back left viewers in an agonizing cliffhanger that they had to sit with for three years until the next Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi, resolved the many lingering plot threads. For viewers who enjoy comics, the blow of the three-year wait was softened by the Star Wars Marvel comic series, which told exciting stories about rebellious heroes between the films and enriched the Star Wars galaxy, as one of the first properties of the Expanded Universe. Just over a decade later, Lucasfilm started a multimedia project called Shadows of the Empire, which is also established between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi. Without contradicting Marvel canon Star Wars comic books, Shadows of the Empire further extended the six months between the two films, portraying events like Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber building and how Princess Leia got her bounty hunter costume.
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In 2014, in preparation for a new saga film trilogy, Lucasfilm renamed the Expanded Universe the Legends universe and made it an alternate continuity. With time between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi Now somewhat mysterious (and increased from six months to a year), Lucasfilm has gradually filled the void with new content, including animated shorts, novels, and new comics published once again by Marvel.
The original Star Wars Legends universe told a complete story between the two films with the Marvel comic series and Shadows of the Empire, and the current canon is gradually filling this dramatic moment in the Star Wars saga. Both continuities show how the heroes and villains of the original trilogy move from their emotionally vulnerable states at the end of The Empire Strikes Back to his renewed determination at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
Marvel comics from the ’70s cheered audiences on for the next Star Wars movie
Marvel Original Star Wars comic series began in 1977, originally adapting the first Star Wars movie, but starting with issue 7, it began telling original stories that bridged the gap between the movies and added new planets, species, and traditions to the Star Wars canon, becoming one of the first properties of the Expanded Universe. For fans who yearned for more Star Wars stories, Marvel comics allowed them to return to a galaxy far, far away on a monthly basis until the next movie hit theaters. While Star Wars left fans happy, with the exciting promise of more adventures on the way, The Empire Strikes Back ended with grave uncertainties and an urgent need for the heroes to rescue Han Solo and Luke to face their true ancestry. Beginning with issue # 45 in December 1980, fans were able to see what the rogue heroes were up to after The Empire Strikes Back.
Several notable stories were in these Marvel comics, such as the rebels who established a new secret base on Arbra, a forest world populated by small mammalian creatures called Hoojibs, who (in an unintentional call to Return of the Jedi) proved to be valuable allies of the Rebellion. Another unintended similarity to Return of the Jedi was the two-part story arc involving The tarkin, a reduced planetary destruction battle station that was essentially a “Death Star 1.5”.
The comics also told dark and emotional stories that highlighted both the ruthlessness and conflictive nature of Darth Vader. The third annual issue of the series had Vader tapping into the vulnerability of a Force-sensitive young man, exploiting his mother’s death to recruit him for both the Empire and the Sith (reflecting his own tragic past, as the prequels would later show .). Another story saw Vader planting an Imperial double agent, Shira Brie, into Rogue Squad as part of a plan to ruin Luke’s heroic reputation in the Rebellion. The plan almost worked, shaking Luke’s faith in his connection to the Force at a vulnerable time and leading to Brie’s eventual ascension to Dark Lady Lumiya, one of the deadliest Sith adversaries Luke faced after Palpatine.
The expanded universe of Star Wars / Legends saw a revival in the 90s
The Star Wars Expanded Universe had something of a renaissance in the early 1990s with the Thrawn and Dark Horse novel trilogy. Dark empire comic series. In 1996, Lucasfilm released Shadows of the Empire as a novel, comic book series and video game. The multimedia project further filled the gap between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi and it simultaneously filled in some holes in the canon left by Marvel comics.
One of the biggest points of interest was how Luke Skywalker built his lightsaber, which is a vital rite of passage in Jedi training. The novel, which focused more on Luke and the other Rebel heroes, shows the Jedi weapon’s construction in detail, including Luke’s use of a synthetic lightsaber crystal (rather than a traditional naturally-sourced Adegan crystal from Illum ). The novel also shows Leia acquiring clothes from Ubese’s bounty hunter Boushh, who was murdered by the Black Sun crime syndicate after demanding an insultingly high payment for one of his jobs. Also shown was the epic Battle of Kothlis, where many Bothans died to ensure that the Rebellion acquired the Death Star II plans.
the Shadows of the Empire The comic series largely featured Boba Fett’s experiences during this time period, with the resourceful Mandalorian outwitting rival bounty hunters while leading the frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. The video game followed the original character Dash Rendar, a smuggler who supported the rebellious heroes in their fight against the Empire and the Black Sun, nearly preventing Boba Fett from turning Han over to Jabba at one point. Dash Rendar proved to be a popular character, and his ship, the Outrider, appeared in the Star Wars Special edition the following year.
Current Canon novels began with Princess Leia
The first incursion of the current canon in the year between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi I was in the 2015 novel Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. The novel portrays the theft of the imperial shuttle Tydirium (portrayed in the Legends universe by two video games) and the rebel heroes who learn of Han’s location at Jabba’s Palace. Three years later, another notable Leia-centric story set between the two films was an episode of the animated web series. Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. The episode, titled Bounty hunting, gave the new canon version of how Leia stole Boushh’s clothes, with the help of Maz Kanata, a character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion The unique comics include a story of Leia in which she taunts the bounty hunter Bossk in her Boushh costume and an issue in which Luke telepathically fights The Emperor, who stokes the fire of his potential to abandon his ideals and fight him dark side (foreshadowing Luke’s. debatable behavior in the character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Luke’s one-shot also features his lightsaber, the construction of which has yet to be seen in current canon.
The largest amount of content in current canon history between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi can be found in current Marvel comics. The main title, Star Wars (2020) once again portrays Luke Skywalker at an emotional low, following his experience with Darth Vader in Cloud City. However, he returns to Bespin with Leia and Lando in hopes of retrieving his father’s lightsaber and his X-Wing. While recovering his ship, he is unable to find the lightsaber, and the story arc ends when he acquires a new yellow-bladed lightsaber in an ancient Jedi temple after fighting the Grand Inquisitor’s spirit. How and when Luke built his own lightsaber is a story that has yet to be told in current canon.
the Star Wars: Darth Vader comic series differs from Legends in its portrayal of Vader after The Empire Strikes Back. The dealings with the Black Sun and the training of Sith imperial spies are replaced by Vader hunting down anyone who concealed his son’s existence from him, taking him to familiar prequel locations, such as Naboo and Polis Massa. His quest earns the wrath of the Emperor, who violently punishes his apprentice, even putting Vader on the receiving end of his trademark Force choke. To test Vader’s strength, The Emperor leaves him, broken and humiliated, on Mustafar to be hunted down by his personal assassin, Ochi of Bestoon (a character who made his debut in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). Although the story arc is yet to be concluded, Vader and Ochi will survive, and Vader continues on the path to betray his master.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter repeats a key element of the Star Wars Stories of the Expanded Universe between The Empire Strikes Back Y Return of the Jedi, which has a strong focus on the bounty hunters who had been hired to track down the Millennium Falcon. The comic book series sees the return of the infamous cyborg Beilert Valance who originated in Legends and was brought into current canon in the Solo: A Star Wars Story comic adaptation. Unlike Legends, the current canon version of Valance is shown taking on rival hunters, such as Boba Fett and the duo of 4-LOM and Zuckuss.
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