Despite the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader, as well as the destruction of the second Death Star, the Empire continued to fight the Galactic Civil War for another year until their final defeat and retreat at Jakku. This meant that the leaders of the Rebel Alliance were forced into more battles and adventures until peace finally came. With peace, the New Republic would be born and begin to re-establish order in the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa were three completely different types of people with different priorities. Leia was a Senator whose main focus was the New Republic, Luke was a Jedi Knight and only wanted to study the Jedi and be a recluse. Then there was Han, who felt out of place with Leia.
The state of these characters in the first year after Return of The Jedi is what sets the foundation of future events, leading up to the time of The Force Awakens. The entirety of the time gap between Episode 6 & 7 has yet to be revealed - and most likely will never be - but through books, comics, and movies, quite a few important events have been discovered.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know Happened Between Star Wars Episode 6 & 7!
15 Han and Leia were married a day after the ending of Return of The Jedi
Since the release of The Force Awakens, it has become common knowledge that Han and Leia became married after Return of The Jedi.
What's interesting about their marriage, despite the fact that they separated and hadn't seen each other for years in The Force Awakens, is the timing of their wedding ceremony. Their wedding ceremony took place barely a day after the Battle of Endor.
While most members of the Alliance were at the victory celebration on Endor, Han and Leia only allowed a few close people to attend their ceremony. Han also reconfigured the interior of the Millenium Falcon to include a galley to carry his bride through.
Due to the timing, some fans wonder if their marriage was just an act of passion, and they weren't really meant to be together!
14 Han and Chewie split up
One of the most heartwarming parts of Aftermath: Life Debt is when Han and Chewie say farewell to each other.
Following the Liberation of Kashyyyk, Chewbacca decided to stay on the Wookie homeworld, bringing his partnership with Han Solo to an end. While The Force Awakens shows that the duo eventually regroups, but it is never specified when. Chewbacca's decision to stay on Kashyyyk was supported by Han, who said that they both have families now and homes that need their attention.
Han says, "I’ll be back. We’re not done, you and I. We’ll see each other again. I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life."
If they were involved in each other's family, then wouldn't Kylo and Chewbacca have been close at one point? That may come into play in The Last Jedi.
13 The Empire's last stand at the Battle of Jakku
The Battle of Endor did not end the Galactic Civil War.
The Aftermath trilogy reveals that the war continued for another year until the Battle of Jakku. At this time, the Alliance and the New Republic had the remains of the Empire on the run. Under the leadership of Counselor Gallius Rax, the Imperial Fleet was stationed at Jakku when the New Republic attacked. The Imperial Forces were planning to adventure into the Unknown Regions, where they would work to reforge a new Empire.
Little did the Imperial soldiers know that Rax secretly plotted to destroy Jakku, with both sides being wiped out in the process. Luckily for the New Republic, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane killed Gallius Rax before he could complete his mission and prevented the destruction of the planet.
The battle would eventually result in a peace treaty between Mon Mothma and Mas Amedda to end the war!
12 Ben "Kylo Ren" Solo was born a year exactly after the battle of Endor
Not many fans know that Ben Solo was born exactly a year after the end of Return of The Jedi.
The Aftermath trilogy gave readers insight into Leia's pregnancy and the stressful year leading up to Ben's birth. The New Republic found and won many battles in that time and on the day Ben was born, the remnants of the Galactic Empire signed a peace treaty with the New Republic.
The books especially shed light on Leia's connection with Ben. She could see his character as "a living band of light that sometimes dimmed and was sometimes thrust with a vein of darkness" and was disturbed because of a mysterious dark force that surrounds Ben inside her womb. Luke didn't think much of it, saying that everyone has that darkness inside them.
Proof that Snoke targeted Ben as an apprentice before he was even born? Maybe!
11 Luke teamed up with Poe Dameron's mother
Many of the adventures Luke Skywalker had in the thirty years after Return of The Jedi remains a mystery to fans.
However, one of the few that are known, and is pretty interesting comes from the Star Wars comic Shattered Empire Part IV. In this issue, Luke Skywalker teams up with Poe Dameron's mother, who is a pilot for the Alliance. They travel to the planet Vetine, the location of an Imperial research lab that houses two force tree seedlings.
Luke explains to Shara, "These are all that remains of the tree that grew at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The Force is with them." When they heist their way into the Lab and are welcomed by the garrisoned troops, Luke does all the fighting while R2-D2 and Shara retrieve the seedlings.
Luke even gave Shara one of the seedlings which she planted at her family home!
10 The remnants of the Death Star were used to build a new space station
Not all of the Alderaanians were on the planet when it was destroyed by the Death Star.
In fact, there were quite a large number of survivors that quickly regrouped and formed a new colony. Eventually, they were forced to go on the run again and developed the Alderaan Flotilla, which was a collection of the last Alderaanian starships.
After two destroyed Death Star battle stations there was tons of debris left over which the New Republic decided to collect and give to the Alderaanians to use in the construction of a new space station for their people. Senator Leia Organa Solo is the one that spearheaded the coalition and gifted them the debris. It's ironic how the Alderaanians built a home out of what destroyed theirs.
9 Luke started a new Jedi Academy
It was an inevitability after the events of Return of The Jedi that Luke Skywalker would one day start a new Jedi Academy.
From all the Star Wars books and media revolving around the time period between Episode 6 & 7, it is made clear that Luke is a recluse and stays private - almost to a fault. In Claudia Gray's Bloodline, Leia shows her frustration at how uninvolved Luke is, and has been for several years.
Not a whole lot is known about Luke's adventures after Return of The Jedi, other than he poked his head in to check on Leia and Han at first. However, he slowly fell off the map as he studied the ancient Jedi and explored the galaxy.
At some point in the 30-year gap, Luke began teaching the ways of the force at his Jedi Academy.
8 Luke's Jedi academy Was destroyed
Another big revelation that fans discovered from The Force Awakens was what happened to the Jedi Temple that Luke started.
According to Han Solo, a male apprentice turned against Luke and "destroyed it all." Turns out that the male apprentice was actually Ben, Han Solo's son (and Luke's nephew) who turned against Luke. Under the influence of Snoke and now calling himself Kylo Ren, Ben fell to the dark side and destroyed Luke's Temple - and all the Jedi with it, except his uncle.
What happened at the Temple still remains one of the biggest mysteries in Star Wars. The few shots we've seen at the Temple includes Kylo Ren killing somebody in the rain, Luke with his hand on R2-D2 in the rain, and Luke's hand emerging from the debris in the destruction. Hopefully we'll learn more in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
7 Operation Cinder began
Star Wars Battlefront II will be the next level of greatness in the Star Wars mythos.
Beyond the amazing gameplay and features, the game's main character is an Imperial officer who is tasked with the execution of Operation Cinder, the Emperor's contingency plan in case of his death.
The Operation was first mentioned in Shattered Empire and later the Aftermath trilogy and will no doubt be fully explored in the upcoming Battlefront 2 campaign mode. What is known of the Operation is that it was the Emperor's plan to have both sides of the Galactic Civil War destroyed in the event of his death. It would start with the destruction of the Emperor's homeworld, Naboo, along with a handful of others.
Will Iden Versio survive Operation Cinder? Fans can't wait to find out!
6 Han abandoned the military to help Chewie
Han and Chewbacca both sacrificed their positions in the New Republic to free Kashyyyk and save the Wookiees.
In Aftermath: Life Debt, at a time when the New Republic had their forces spread thin, Han and Chewbacca needed the Republic when they found out about the enslavement on Kashyyyk. Unfortunately, the leaders refused to help them, so the duo took matters into their own hands and went to help the Wookiees.
Chewbacca is captured when the two fall for a trap set up by the Empire, but Han manages to escape. Leia shows up piloting the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian, Wedge Antilles, and their troopers to save the day, and together they find Chewbacca and liberate Kashyyyk.
Despite being victorious all the Rebels involved in the liberation were not sanctioned to act and all officers' commissions were revoked. You don't always get rewarded for doing the right thing.
5 Lando Calrissian returned to cloud city
Despite being a war hero and member of the Rebel Alliance, Lando Calrissian had a life to return to after Return of The Jedi.
Before the Imperial takeover of Bespin, Lando served as the Baron of Cloud City. It was a position that Lando wanted to resume after the Civil War ended - but when he was ready to return to Bespin, it was being completely blockaded by a fragment of the Empire that was commanded by Governor Adelhard. Using what troops he had in a last stand against the Rebels, Adelhard blockaded the entire sector - not letting anyone in or out.
Lando and Lobat led the liberation of Cloud City with New Republic forces and the Bespin Wing Guards. They were able to win and forced most of Adelhard's troops to surrender.
Maybe Lando is still the Baron Administrator of Cloud City at the time of The Last Jedi!
4 Mon Mothma became chancellor for the new republic
With the birth of the New Republic came the need of an elected Chancellor to rule. Who better to lead the reborn Republic than the leader of the Rebel Alliance who saw the fall of the Old Republic? Not only that, but she also was part of the Loyalist Committee, along with Padme Amidala, who opposed Chancellor Palpatine's rise to power and planted the seeds for the Rebellion.
These factors make it easy to understand why Mon Mothma was chosen to be the Chancellor of the New Republic. Like her mother before her, Leia worked together with Mothma as a senator to help re-establish order throughout the galaxy.
She must have known what she was doing as her rule would be remembered as the "Golden Years."
3 Ben Solo became Kylo Ren
The big reveal that came to light in The Force Awakens was about the true identity of Kylo Ren, which turned out to be Ben, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa.
This revelation alone brings a whole plethora of questions that fans hope will be answered in the upcoming Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. Why exactly did Ben turn to the dark side? How did Snoke come into the picture and gain Ben's trust so strongly? Why couldn't Luke help Ben see the error in his ways?
All that's known about his turn to the dark side is that somehow during his time in Luke's academy he fell under the influence of Snoke. Eventually, the Knights of Ren and Kylo rebelled and destroyed Luke's academy and all the Jedi with it.
The details behind this tragedy still remain one of the biggest mysteries in Star Wars.
2 Han lost the millennium falcon
A surprise to most long-time Star Wars fans in The Force Awakens was the current location and owner of the Millennium Falcon.
At that point in time, the Falcon was parked at Niima Outpost on Jakku. Its captain had changed multiple times over the years, but it was owned then by Unkar Plutt before it was stolen by Rey and Finn. The last time the Falcon was seen in the canon timeline was during the Aftermath trilogy when Leia flew it to rescue Han Solo.
When Han Solo asked Rey how she acquired the ship, she explained that she stole it from Unkar Plutt who stole it from the Irving Boys, who stole it from Duquesne - who Han says stole it from him.
Will the Millennium Falcon make it through the sequel trilogy?
1 The rise of Snoke and the First Order
The Force Awakens introduced fans to the First Order, as well as its Supreme Leader Snoke.
While many theories revolve around the First Order's unknown origins, there have been many hints and clues dropped in Star Wars media that help to answer that question. Around the time of the Battle of Jakku the Emperor's Super Star Destroyer - the Eclipse - had mysteriously disappeared.
Aftermath: Empire's End reveals that the official reason for the Imperial Fleet being at Jakku was because they were preparing to retreat into the Unknown Regions - perhaps to meet up with the Eclipse? Grand Admiral Rae Sloan became the commander of the Empire after betraying Gallius Rax, did she take the fleet there and help start the First Order?
Fans are hoping The Last Jedi brings about some new revelations concerning the origin of the First Order.