If you grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, you probalby went through a 15-year roller coaster that was something like this:
You wished desperately they would make more movies;
You groaned when you heard they were making prequels instead;
You bought a ticket out of cautious optimism;
You realized you were right the first time.
If only they'd made sequels instead, dammit! But here's the thing: they did. The story was continued in novels and comics and video games. Oh, and they were so terrible they actually do more damage to the source material than Jar Jar Binks could have ever hoped to.
We mean it. These are the stories that are guilty of...
As Seen In: The Thrawn Trilogy, X-Wing Series, Jedi Academy Trilogy and many more novels, comics and video games.
Everything had wrapped up nicely at the end of Return of the Jedi. We see the Imperial menace defeated over the forest moon of Endor by the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca the Wookiee and Lando "The Last Black Man in the Galaxy" Calrissian.
He's a collector's item.
The Emperor's plan to recruit Luke to the dark side failed, and Darth Vader redeemed himself by dunking the raisin-faced bastard into the reactor core of the Death Star like Lebron James. Vader, electrocuted and hairless--and decidedly not James Earl Jones--died and the Death Star exploded, effectively wiping out the Sith, releasing their chokehold on the Galaxy and infuriating whoever was the lienholder on the destroyed battle station.
"Bank of America is going to be pissed."
Simultaneous celebrations were held on countless planets because evidently news travels fast through the infinite expanse of fucking space. Our heroes dance with some teddy bears and the credits roll.
Not So Fast...
In the unofficial "sequel" stories, this happens:
That is, the Empire keeps rolling right along, imposing space-tyranny on all who stand in their way.
And the thing is, it's hard to argue with the idea.
Neither the Emperor nor the Death Star had ever been a threat to the Rebellion, so, you know, fuck those first three movies. The Imperials had been able to control the Galaxy without a Death Star for a couple of decades, relying instead on fleet warfare and ground support for good old fashioned genocide. As for the Emperor, does killing the leader of a tyrannical government with a powerful and loyal army immediately end the entire conflict?
According to the majority of the books and comics set after the original trilogy, with the Emperor gone, there were hundreds of Admirals, Generals and Politicians who vied for control of the Galaxy. Without a universally accepted leader, the Empire spiraled into a civil war.
The Rebellion is still, well, a Rebellion, which means it still has to gain victory over the remaining Imperials to win, who are in turn fighting amongst themselves. And so, the Skywalker family, which you may remember as being the entire point of the Star Wars saga, fades into the background as we watch the Rebels continue to fight two different Empires for 20 more years. During that time it's fair to assume billions more people died and trillions more words of poorly written dialog were spoken.
"George, I don't even know what this means..."
"You say what's on the page or I'm leaving you in the fucking desert."
As Seen In: The Dark Empire, Dark Empire II and Empire's End comic series.
Oh, hey, speaking of the dead Emperor, he is dead, right? After all, Darth Vader basically sacrificed himself to kill the man and wipe out this dark threat to The Force for all time.
Yes, that sure was a meaningful sacrifice Anakin made to redeem himself and save countless lives.
Not So Fast...
That is, until in the "sequel" stories Emperor Palpatine is brought back from the dead in a clone body that inexplicably looks like Buck Compton from Band of Brothers.
Or if Billy Zane and Val Kilmer collided at 200 mph.
Once more, you can see why they did it. You need a villain. And if George Lucas had written the sequel stories, it's hard to believe he wouldn't have done the same, after he contorted every prequel storyline to shoehorn in as many OT characters as he could.
In this storyline, Palpatine, secure in his new corporeal digs, proceeds to use a variety of nifty tactics that nearly annihilate the Rebels. The reasons why he waited until after his death to employ these tactics are beyond even the wisest of us.
To make things worse, Luke Skywalker, forgetting absolutely everything about his dad's story arc, thought the best way to deal with this threat was by becoming Palpatine's new apprentice. Although he tries to sabotage the Empire's efforts from the inside, he eventually succumbs to the Dark Side, presumably because the temptation of paid vacation and a dental plan proved to be too great.
He also does convention appearances
After Luke essentially becomes the Sega Genesis to Vader's Master System, Leia comes to her brother's rescue and eventually redeems him (you may remember this as the exact same plot of the original trilogy). Unfortunately it's already too late for most of the galaxy, as the Empire has already managed to decimate entire worlds without a Death Star and is within sight of total victory (evidently "total victory" means "killing every last motherfucker in space").
Palps is eventually killed by Empatojayos Brand, an ancient Jedi better known as Master Desperate Plot Device, thus ending the crisis and allowing the Dark Empire series to stop wasting our goddamn time.
"You mean we just retell the exact same story and sell it as a sequel? Brilliant! Pass the cocaine!"
As Seen In: Dark Empire, Dark Empire II, Empire's End, The Force Unleashed and pretty much every other piece of media.
Pretty much the entire point of the original trilogy was that Luke Skywalker, son of Darth Vader, is the last hope for the Jedi Order and the Galaxy. You know, the other Jedi having been ruthlessly hunted down and destroyed by the Empire and all.
The only exceptions are Obi Wan, whose force powers seem to have degenerated into keeping an immaculately trimmed beard in the middle of the desert, and Yoda, who seems to have gone so batshit insane that all he can do is talk like Super Grover in cryptic nonsensical jibber-jabber and lift shit out of bogs with his mind.
Seriously, we're amazed he didn't start playing the fucking spoons or something.
With only these three superpowered individuals left, the future of the Galaxy seems bleak.
Not So Fast...
One thing the good guys have to do to deal with the post-Death Star Empire is enlist the help of Jedi. Lots of them. In "sequel" comics like Dark Forces, much of the plot involves enlisting the help of these guys that are just hanging around in remote parts of the galaxy.
As it turns out, contrary to popular belief (a term which here means "what the films specifically told us in no uncertain terms"), the Jedi were not entirely wiped out but merely went into hiding. Again, we understand it's not Star Wars without Jedi and you can't wait for an army to be rebuilt from Luke and Leia's inbred children. The writers only had so many options.
But are we really to believe that these characters just sat on their fat asses, doing nothing to help while their Jedi brethren were getting thrown in the dumpster? That seems just a little out of character for the Galaxy's "Protectors of Freedom."
"Hey, we're on break."