Altogether, it’s a pretty great time to be a Star Wars fan. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a hit, showing that the ongoing Skywalker saga is in very good hands. Rogue One showed that there was room to tell “side stories” that help flesh out this galaxy far, far away. If that’s not enough, Star Wars: Rebels has been absolutely killing it on the small screen, even as Marvel Comics puts out exciting new Star Wars tales every month.
If there is one downside to all of this new goodness, it’s the death of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. For decades, Star Wars comics, games, and books expanded the Star Wars canon. However, before Force Awakens debuted, Lucasfilm wiped the slate clean and stated that all of these previous stories were no longer canon, becoming Star Wars Legends instead.
Many fans were understandably upset at the decision to pave over the old canon in order to tell stories. However, in an interesting twist, much of the modern Star Wars canon seems to be secretly built on successful Legends stories from the past. Like Luke on his own journey, fans can now meditate on the past in order to get a glimpse of their favorite franchise’s future.
Fortunately, you don’t need a Jedi Holocron or a grumpy green alien to unpack these secrets. Just check out this handy guide to 15 Ways Star Wars Legends Predicted The New Movies.
15. Siths and Solos
For many audiences watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time, the revelation that Kylo Ren was the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa was truly shocking. However, veteran fans of the classic Star Wars Expanded Universe saw this coming from miles (or as Han Solo might say, parsecs) away, as Kylo Ren is very similar to the character of Jacen Solo.
In the Legends books and comics, Jacen was one of three children of Han and Leia. They are all trained to be Jedi by Luke Skywalker. However, Jacen is influenced by outside Sith teachings and eventually kills some of those closest to him, including his aunt, Mara Jade. Jacen eventually takes on a Sith name, Darth Caedus, and tries to take over the galaxy before being killed in a duel with Jaina Solo.
The similarities between Jacen and Kylo Ren (Han and Leia’s kid receiving outside Sith training, taking on a Sith name, and going on a galaxy-conquering killing spree) are striking. They are so striking, in fact, that many fans hold onto the hope that Rey may be Kylo Ren’s sister, with her early memories conveniently wiped by a grieving Luke Skywalker.
14. Disenchanted Luke Skywalker
When the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped, fans were stunned to hear what Luke, who was silent at the end of Force Awakens, had to say: “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi… to end.” The notion of a dark and disenchanted Luke was shocking to many, but Legends predicted this before the Special Editions were even a twinkle in the eyes of George Lucas.
For instance, the first Dark Empire comic series showed Luke surrendering himself to the resurrected Emperor Palpatine. His goal was to learn the secrets of the Emperor and the Dark Side and to ultimately overcome great evil by learning its darkest secrets. He’s eventually redeemed back to the Light Side by Leia, but the Luke who wants the whole story of the Force in these comics can be seen again in the Last Jedi trailer, telling Rey that the Force is “so much bigger” than the “light” and “darkness” that she imagines.
13. Solar Super Weapon
The reveal of the big superweapon in Force Awakens ended up being a mixed bag for many Star Wars fans. It ended up being a lot like a bigger Death Star, complete with X-wings blowing it up by finding its weak spot. However, it was suitably frightening for the Resistance, as it had the ability to blow up entire star systems instead of planets. As cool as this was, however, it was nothing that Legends fans had not seen before.
One of the more interesting book series in Star Wars Legends was the Jedi Academy series by Kevin J. Anderson. As the name implies, these books follow Luke Skywalker’s attempts to recruit and train other Force-sensitive beings. Eventually, one of Luke’s students, Kyp Durron, turned to the Dark Side and retrieved an Imperial superweapon called the Sun Crusher. It was much smaller than the Starkiller Base (it was a one-man ship), but it had a similar function, using torpedoes to initiate a supernova in a star system and destroy all of its planets.
Kyp was eventually redeemed by Luke in Legends, but only time will tell if Luke can redeem Kylo Ren.
12. Luke as failed teacher
Speaking of Kylo Ren, one of the saddest revelations in Force Awakens was that Luke had failed so spectacularly as a teacher (part of a lifetime of bad things happening to him). Not only did Kylo Ren get recruited to the Dark Side by Snoke behind Luke’s back, but he returned with the Knights of Ren and slaughtered Luke’s other students. While all of this seemed like a surprising fate for Luke, the Star Wars Legends books and comics foretold this many times.
In fact, the entire Star Wars Legends series is littered with former students of Luke who turned to the Dark Side and became villains. We already mentioned Kyp Durron and Jacen Solo up above. In addition to them, there was Brakiss, a kind of secret Imperial agent who Luke kept on despite knowing his secret. Luke wanted to redeem him, but he ended up becoming a galactic terrorist alongside another former student, Kueller.
11. Return of Thrawn
The Star Wars Rebels cartoon reached new heights in its third season for many different reasons, and one of them was the inclusion of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This blue-skinned, red-eyed tactician has an uncanny ability to learn about his enemies by studying both their actions and their artwork, and it looks like Thrawn will continue to be the primary antagonist as Rebels goes into its fourth and final season. While he was a cool new alien and villain for many fans of the show, he was actually a reason for Legends fans to squeal in delight.
Grand Admiral Thrawn was the primary villain in what was arguably the most beloved Legends series of books. Three books written by Timothy Zahn formed the “Thrawn trilogy,” and they were so good that Thrawn’s exile out of canon and into Legend angered many diehard fans of the character.
However, Disney heard these fans’ cries and brought the character back into canon with his appearances on Rebels, which dovetails nicely with a new, canonical book by Zahn entitled Thrawn. Many Legends fans hope this will be part of a trend of the modern canon reviving their favorite characters and events.
10. The Hammerhead Corvette
Rogue One was a movie filled with action, including an exciting ground and space conflict at the end. However, even in a movie littered with awesome action sequences, everyone remembers the devastating scene where a “Hammerhead Corvette” comes out of hyperspace and rams into a Star Destroyer, forcing it to crash into the shield generator around Scarif.
Legends fans had seen this ship before, and on several different occasions! The design of this ship was first seen in the groundbreaking Knights of the Old Republic game and its sequel. Like all other Legends material, this game was removed from the canon, but ships with this same design later popped up in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon (with Princess Leia, no less), making it canon once more.
It then made its dramatic appearance in Rogue One, a movie which also features other Rebels mainstays such as Chopper, the Ghost (the Rebels’ ship), and a reference to Hera’s character when a “General Syndulla” is mentioned in the background of a scene. With the Hammerhead’s appearance, KOTOR fans are hoping that game characters, such as Darth Revan, may eventually be resurrected in a future movie or episode.
9. Return of Darth Maul
There was arguably never a more wasted Star Wars character than Darth Maul. He has a scary design and badass moves, but he barely speaks and he gets taken out like a chump. The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni brought the character back, giving him robotic spider legs. Later, he got two normal cybernetic legs, but a consistent part of his character was his ongoing hatred of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the Star Wars Rebels cartoon, Maul finally finds the elder Kenobi on Tattooine, and they have a final duel in which Obi-Wan kills him. It’s an awesome, fan-satisfying moment… and it just happened to be predicted by an old Star Wars comic.
Back in the day, the Star Wars Tales comics were a constant treat for fans. They were a non-canonical anthology series, with each long comic featuring several different stories. One of those stories was called “Old Wounds,” and it involved Maul, complete with cybernetic legs, dueling Obi-Wan on Tattooine. Interestingly, Maul nearly wins this fight before being unexpectedly shot and killed by Owen Lars. It’s a weirdly cool comic in the finest Star Wars tradition, and the onscreen homage to was a delight for fans of Darth Maul.
8. The Mandalorian War
One of the coolest Legends additions to the Star Wars mythology came from the Knights of the Old Republic video games. In these games, the Jedi faced a schism when the Mandalorians attacked the Old Republic. The Jedi Council wanted to stay out of the war, but other Jedi were eager for combat and helped the Old Republic out. This war turned honorable Jedi into villains like Darth Malak and Darth Revan, and the end of the war (involving the detonation of a doomsday device) changed the face of the galaxy.
Understandably, fans were sad to lose a corner of canon that both fleshed out the Mandalorians and added some crunchy texture to the Jedi. However, with a single line of dialogue, Star Wars Rebels seems to have brought it back once again. Addressing Mandalorian Sabine Wren about her battle tactics, the Jedi Kanan Jarrus says, somewhat arrogantly, “History lesson: The Jedi won the war with Mandalore. Your tricks and tactics may save you from time to time, but not in the long run.” This onscreen confirmation of a Jedi/Mandalorian war means we are one step closer to all of KOTOR being canon once again.
7. Mysterious Malachor
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the creators of Star Wars Rebels really like Knights of the Old Republic, making those games an excellent way to predict future canon. This remains true with the planet Malachor V. In the second Knights of the Old Republic game, it is revealed that the war with the Mandalorians only ended when the protagonist of the second game set off a Mass Shadow Generator that used the gravity of the planet to kill everyone on and everyone around it— friend and foe alike. It ended the war and mysteriously severed her connection to the Force. Eventually, the remains of the planet served as home to a Sith academy and is where your character has her final confrontation at the end of the game.
Apparently, the lore of Malachor is too interesting to stay hidden forever, so it has been brought back in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon. Yoda actually sends young Ezra Bridger and his friends to Malachor (referred to in the cartoon with no number in its name) to find some clues to defeating the Dark Side, and Ahsoka ends up having an amazing duel with her former master, Darth Vader. The design of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber also hails from something called “The Scourge of Malachor.”
6. The Emperor’s Hand
While Grand Admiral Thrawn was arguably the most popular new character in Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars books, Mara Jade was a very close second. She was once a Force-sensitive Imperial Agent who worked for Emperor Palpatine himself. Because of this, she had a really cool title: The Emperor’s Hand. Unfortunately, her role was so secret that when the Emperor died, no Imperial knew who she really was, forcing her to wander the galaxy.
So far, Mara Jade has not popped back up in the Star Wars canon. This is understandable, as later stories had her marrying Luke Skywalker, and Disney understandably wants Luke’s background to be somewhat mysterious. However, an episode of Star Wars Rebels made a kind of allusion to Mara Jade. When discussing Gar Saxon, the man who is currently the governor of Mandalore, the mother of rebel Sabine Wren casually referred to him as “the Emperor’s Hand.”
The show didn’t go into what he does as the Hand, but it made many Mara Jade fans excited at the prospect that they may one day see their favorite Imperial agent with a heart of gold take Saxon’s place by Palpatine’s side.
From a design standpoint, Rogue One faced some unique challenges. The movie served as a direct prequel to Star Wars: A New Hope, which meant that many of the characters, sets, and ships had to be highly recognizable. At the same time, though, the movie needed to introduce new designs to help set itself apart. The best of these designs were the mysterious Death Troopers, who were the black-clad elite Stormtroopers who helped guard Director Krennic. Interestingly, their name and design were predicted by Star Wars Legends via two very different sources.
Regarding the name “Deathtroopers,” Legends fans had seen this before. This was the name of a Star Wars book by Joe Schreiber, and it was a horror novel in which a mysterious virus brings the dead back to life as zombies, including creepy zombie Stormtroopers.
While Rogue One‘s Death Troopers may have borrowed their name from these zombies, their design is very similar to those found in the old Dark Forces video game. The game featured special, all-black Stormtrooper suits that were extra powerful who were designed by a science-minded general who must impress Vader, all features later shared by Director Krennic.
4. Death star plans
Another challenge when it came to Rogue One was that they had to find an exciting way to tell a story that everyone knew the ending of. Specifically, audiences were already aware that the Rebels successfully get the plans to the Death Star, which would later help Luke Skywalker and friends blow it up. Nonetheless, the Battle of Scarif was still quite exciting, blending harrowing ground combat and exciting space battles. However, Star Wars Legends fans had seen this all before with the Battle of Toprawa.
In the old Star Wars Legends stories, there was a ridiculously complicated, two-year series of missions involved with fully retrieving the Death Star plans. It all culminated in the Battle of Toprawa, which involved rebels on the planet having to take control of an Imperial communications center in a desperate bid to transmit the plans to Princess Leia’s ship.
Ultimately, they succeed in getting the plans to Leia’s ship before they all get killed, and Leia’s ship escapes, which leads directly to the beginning of A New Hope. Sounds a bit familiar, right? At least Rogue One added a wiseass droid.
3. Sarcastic killer droids
One of the true highlight performances of Rogue One was the character of K-2SO. Voiced by sci-fi and animation veteran Alan Tudyk, K-2SO was a reprogrammed Imperial droid who was violent and sarcastic. He had no problem telling humans how much he disliked them, and he wasn’t afraid to backhand his friend Cassian to try to trick some Imperials. While it was truly a great performance from Tudyk, the truth is that this character is shockingly similar to a fan-favorite Legends character.
In addition to Darth Revan, the other standout character from Knights of the Old Republic was HK-47. The character was an assassination droid built by Darth Revan, but due to a memory wipe, he couldn’t fully remember his master or his mission. Eventually, he developed a truly cantankerous personality, often referring to humans and other living beings as “meat bags” and relishing any chance he had to dispense some violence.
2. Legends of the Hidden Temple
After getting his students killed, Force Awakens explains that Luke didn’t go into just any exile. Instead, he went on a quest to find the first Jedi temple. This temple was hidden from most of the galaxy, which is part of what made Luke hard to find as he sought it. And while the movie is pretty cagey about what Luke was hoping to find there, it seems to hint that he was looking for special knowledge or power that had been previously hidden away.
There are several parallels to this in the assorted Star Wars Legends books, comics, and games. For instance, the Jedi Knight games featured a hidden Valley of the Lost Jedi, and when Kyle Katarn finds it, the Valley unlocks his latent Jedi abilities. Games such as Knights of the Old Republic featured a number of Sith temples that were hidden, and those who could find them and survive the trials inside received special weapons, powers, and knowledge.
1. Female imperials
Even though she was criminally underutilized in The Force Awakens, that movie was notable for featuring Captain Phasma. She was our first onscreen female Imperial. Rather than try to explain why the First Order was suddenly cool with women serving and the Empire was not, Disney went in the other direction.
Through retcons, it was revealed that the Empire has had women all along and we just never saw them onscreen. Rebels started including female Imperial governors, the official novelization of Rogue One mentioned female Stormtroopers, etc. Overall, it was a progressive step for the Star Wars canon, but the Star Wars Legends books had made this step many years before.
Star Wars Legends walked a fine line. These stories explained the Emperor did not allow women to serve, but assorted women nonetheless impressed the Empire and made achieved positions of power. Characters like Admiral Daala, who was the first female Admiral, and Ysanne Isard, the Director of Imperial Intelligence. We’ve already mentioned Mara Jade, the woman trained by the Emperor who was one of the most powerful women in the entire galaxy.
Compared to these badass women, Captain Phasma getting captured and thrown in a garbage chute is downright laughable.
Be sure to see what other Legends ideas get borrowed when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on December 15th, 2017!