Want to dive right into The Force Awakens without having to catch up on 32 years worth of post-Return of the Jedi history? You’re in luck! Skip the books, comics, video games and random backstory pulled together by fans across the Web. Here are the top 10 things you need to know going into the new Star Wars film.
The Battle of Endor left the Galactic Empire leaderless and in chaos, and the Rebel Alliance pressed its advantage with more victories to follow. Following a posthumous order from the Emperor himself, the Empire launched Operation: Cinder on numerous worlds. They first targeted Naboo and used satellites to manipulate the planet’s weather in an attempt to render the world uninhabitable, but the plan was stopped by Princess Leia, Lieutenant Shara Bey, and Queen Sosha Soruna. The Rebels fought back against Operation: Cinder on other planets for months.
Luke Reclaims the Ancient Tree
Three months after the Battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker and Shara Bey infiltrated an Imperial base on Vetine and recovered the remains of an ancient Jedi tree that once dwelled in the Jedi Temple’s training grounds, which the Emperor removed after he converted the temple into the Imperial Palace. Luke kept one of the relics for himself and gifted the second to Shara, who planted it on Yavin 4 after settling there with her husband, Kes Dameron.
The Iron Blockade
Fearing what would happen if the galaxy found out that the Emperor was dead, the Empire dismissed the Rebellion’s claims of an Endor victory as treasonous propaganda. Governor Adelhard of the Anoat sector locked down his entire region behind the Iron Blockade to keep order. A group of civilians, criminals, assassins, and more banded together to form an uprising against Adelhard’s iron-fisted rule.
Rise of the New Republic
TheNew Republic was founded under the leadership of Chancellor Mon Mothma and formed a new Galactic Senate on the planet Chandrila. Once the war with the Empire was over, the chancellor intended to give up much of her power and decentralize the New Republic military. She would never allow the Republic to become an empire again, but, for the time being, the fight against tyranny continued.
The Imperial Summit on Akiva
Reeling from their defeat on Endor and the many failures that followed, the surviving Imperial military commanders met for an emergency summit on the planet Akiva. The ambitions of the fleet commanders led the summit into chaos and many of the commanders were killed. This was all according to the designs of a mysterious fleet admiral, who knew that the Empire would need to cull the weak from their ranks if it were to survive. That strengthening of Imperial resolve would one day lead to the rise of the First Order
The Battle of Jakku
One year after the Battle of Endor, the Empire launched a massive assault against the New Republic on Jakku. The Empire expected to deliver a crushing blow to the Republic, but instead the battle was a victory for the Republic and Jakku was left a starship graveyard ripe for scavengers. After the battle ended, the Republic and the Empire signed a treaty that forced the Empire to remain inside predetermined boundaries. The war, it seemed, was coming to a close.
The Legacy of Luke Skywalker
During the Galactic Civil War, Luke Skywalker became one of the greatest Jedi in galactic history. As the years went on, however, many circles of the galaxy regarded him as mythic and legendary. Entire new generations of beings were born who had never been witness to the events carried out by Luke and the Rebellion, and even the Jedi were regarded by some as a myth from the past. But that legacy would soon return.
Rise of the First Order
Though the Empire lost the Galactic Civil War, their ideals lived on. The First Order was a junta formed to carry on the Empire’s ideals, while more ruthlessly and efficiently pushing for galactic order. Wielding Starkiller Base, a superweapon of unspeakable power that could destroy entire star systems, the First Order began its march into the galaxy to continue the work that the Empire began. Allied with the First Order were the Knights of Ren, a mysterious group that included Kylo Ren, a devoted follower of Darth Vader’s legacy.
Combating the First Order was the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa. Operating out of a secret base, the Resistance carried on the work of the Rebel Alliance and was a critical check against the designs of the First Order. One of its best pilots was Poe Dameorn, son of Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, who flew a T-70 X-wing fighter. He was sent by General Organa on an important mission to Jakku to meet Lor San Tekka, who had a plan that threatened the First Order.
New Heroes Emerge
Inheriting the legacy of their predecessors, new heroes emerge in the form of Rey, a scavenger on Jakku; Finn, a stormtrooper who defected from the First Order; and Poe Dameron, a Resistance pilot. Only by banding together can these heroes and the Resistance stop the First Order from unleashing their terrible weapon upon the galaxy.
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