We all know what the events at the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith lead to in the end. After Anakin Skywalker descends into Darth Vader the Empire begins to rise and we start to see the world in Star Wars: A New Hope.
What we don't know is all of the events that happen between the rise of Darth Vader and the beginning of A New Hope. In the time period, Leia and Luke went from being infants to adults, Han Solo became the smuggler we all know and love, and Jyn Erso headed away from Saw Gerrera into where we see her in Rogue One.
It's these middle spaces where the general public doesn't know what happened that is VERY interesting to people who love the Star Wars franchise. From books to comics, this information can be found, but you have to consume a LOT of various kinds of media.
This article is going to take the craziest and most important things to happen and condense it for you. That way, you can know all of the most vital parts of what happened between Episode 3 and 4 without having to absorb every single piece of media about it.
So, let's get started!
20 Anakin Has His First Test As Darth Vader
A sith is nothing without a crystal for their lightsaber, and Vader’s first mission was exactly that. In the Dark Lord of The Sith comic, Anakin, now Vader, is made to begin a hunt for a jedi that is still alive and steal their lightsaber crystal from them.
Vader tracks a former Jedi Master named Kirak Infil’a to a moon named Al’Doleem.
Infil’a actually almost defeats Vader in this mission, which would have drastically changed the entire arc of the Star Wars franchise. But we all know that Vader makes it to episode 4, so he obviously doesn’t perish in this first mission.
As if he wanted to solidify his tendency to create chaos, his way of defeating Infil’a and getting his crystal was to flood a city….so pretty dramatic.
19 Ahsoka Tano Comes Out Of Exile
Ahsoka Tano was incredibly close to her Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker as she was a padawan trying to become a full Jedi herself.
She was incredibly skilled in the force, and was absolutely heartbroken when Skywalker turned to the dark side. So devastated that she went completely into exile and was very difficult to find, this exile also meant that she could continue to avoid the Order 66 which ordered the execution of all Jedi.
Ahsoka eventually joined the Rebels after speaking with Bail Organa, and also eventually faced off against her former Master Anakin Skywalker in Rebels.
During their final battle, the two were evenly matched and exhausted each other. At a moment where she could escape, she chose not to leave believing she saw something left of Anakin. After the battle, Vader leaves and no trace of Tano is seen.
18 Vader And The Emperor Crash?
In the book Lords of The Sith, readers get a very rare occurrence of Darth Vader and the Emperor fighting side by side.
The Emperor is not generally the type to jump into the action himself, but in this case, the two sith got trapped on a Twi’lek planet called Ryloth.
Vader and the Emperor were heading to Ryloth to stop a rebellion, but fell into a trap that the Twi’leks set for them. After crash landing the two sith had to fight their way out of the forest they crashed into, battling both Twi’lek rebels and some very predatory creatures native to the planet.
I mean, we all know what happened, obviously the two VERY powerful sith ended up winning, but seeing the two fight together is not only a rare occurrence but a crazy one to see.
17 Princess Leia Meets Amilyn Holdo
If you’ve seen the new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, then you will have met Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo. No spoilers about the plot of the film, but she is a totally amazing and powerful Vice Admiral who has a history with General Leia Organa.
Leia, when she was still the Princess of Alderaan, spent a lot of time in apprentice Legislature, which is where she met Holdo. During their time together, as they got to know each other, they went on many pathfinding missions together and developed a bond.
On one of those missions, Holdo discovered that Leia was a part of the Rebellion, and wanted to join her. This lead the two of them to develop the long term relationship that we see in The Last Jedi
16 R2D2 Completes His Very First Mission As A Rebel
R2D2 played a huge role in The Clone Wars television show, and has been a reliable droid for nearly every character in the Star Wars universe. After Anakin became Vader, R2D2 was put into the service of Captain Antilles and then Bail Organa.
Bail had heard about some Jedi activity, and R2D2 had a feeling it was his old friend Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan that went into exile after he turned to the dark side.
Organa decided he would send R2D2 alongside two other rebels to go and investigate the signal. Tano was nearly captured by them, but knocked out the other rebels and greeted R2D2 with excitement. Ahsoka, however, wasn’t ready to come back and asked R2 to let her leave. Obviously, R2 did and told everyone that he had short-circuited allowing Tano to get away.
15 Han Solo Marries Someone That Isn't Leia?
Everyone loves Han Solo and Leia Organa as a couple. Their iconic, “I love you” and “I know” interaction is easily one of the most recognizable romances in modern day film.
But, how would you react if you knew that Han Solo had actually married someone before the events of A New Hope? Solo tried to keep this a secret but Sana Solo was not prepared to let him keep it one.
Back before Solo joined up with the Skywalkers he was a smuggler, and met a woman named Sana Starros. Sana was also a smuggler, and wanted to get revenge on a bad boss. Part of that revenge plot included her and Han getting married.
So no, not a marriage out of love, but definitely one that wasn’t to Leia Organa.
14 Cassian Begins His Path with K2S0
Cassian is one of the major characters in Rogue One, and while we know how he dies, we never really knew how Cassian and his partnership with K2S0 began.
In the comic aptly titled Cassian & K2S0, we discover their origin story. Much to no one’s surprise, the sarcastic droid was actually a part of the Imperial Fleet and was actually a direct threat to Cassian during a mission he took with the rebels to the planet Wecacoe.
Cassian and the rebels came into a conflict while on the planet where they were attempting to extract information, and somehow managed to avoid death by short circuiting K2S0 before he could do any damage to Cassian and his crew. After that, Cassian decided that he could probably reprogram the droid, and thus, a partnership was born.
13 Leia Joins The Senate
When Princess Leia Organa was young she was certain that she wanted to pursue the royal pathway, and become the next Queen of Alderaan. But she quickly decided that her path actually lay in the same one as her fathers, that being the path of the Senate and politics.
When she was barely a teenager, aged 14, she began her time in the Junior Legislation.
After that, and not very long at that, she was officially elected as a part of the Senate and replaced her father.
In her role in the senate she met her father Darth Vader, his relation unbeknownst to her, as well as the Emperor. It was here that she realized how corrupt the Senate was during this time of the Empire.
12 Jyn Has Another Family?
Jyn Erso has lived a tumultuous life, and at the age of sixteen spent some time with a family that she really grew attached to. While on the planet Skuhl, a woman named Ponta allowed Jyn to stay with her and her family while she got back on her feet from events that we’ll talk about a little later in this article.
Jyn grew to love the place, and Ponta’s son Hadder. Jyn helped Ponta with her business, forging papers and trying to stay away from the Imperial Fleet, but Jyn still had plenty of time to build relationships.
The two slowly grew closer together, but we all know Jyn’s story leads to other places, so clearly this is just a portion of her timeline and not a permanent one.
11 Who Did Saw Gerrera Abandon?
If you’ve seen Rogue One you know that Jyn Erso is violently separated from her mother and father and is rescued, and subsequently brought up, by Saw Gerrera.
Saw Gerrera, however, is a pretty loose canon which showed in a few events that led to him abandoning her in a moment where she could have truly needed his help.
When Jyn was 16 she decided to join Gerrera on a mission to Tamsye Prime with his Partisans. They were looking for intel, but chaos struck when the Partisans were betrayed by one of their own as a result of Jyn’s real identity.
Gerrera told Jyn to hide until daylight, and presuming he would come back for her, she obliged.
This time, however, Gerrera didn’t come back for Jyn Erso, and she was left to fight her way off the planet alone.
10 Obi-Wan And Darth Maul Have A Rematch
We all know and love the final fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, and when you’re watching the film it seems like a PRETTY clear victory for Kenobi.
What if I told you that Maul survived the battle?
And that he came back with CYBORG LEGS?? Yes, it’s true. During Rebels, Maul discovers that Kenobi is still alive on Tatooine and decides that he MUST have his revenge.
Darth Maul made his trek out to the desert planet and attempted to best the iconic Jedi in battle. The two had their rematch in the sands of Tatooine, and clearly Kenobi came out as the victor. The best part though? Kenobi obliterated Maul in the same way Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn.
9 The Emperor Committed Genocide
Geonosis is a planet that we often see in the Star Wars universe, and the first time we saw it was in Attack of the Clones during the creation of the droid army.
The Death Star needed to be built according to the Empire, and they decided to do it in the skies of Geonosis, meaning that all of the citizens of the planet would be able to see what was going on during the creation of the massive superweapon.
Also obviously, the Death Star took a lot of resources to create. This meant that, rather quickly, the resources around Geonosis were depleted.
The Imperial Army moved the Death Star, and in a stroke of horror, the Emperor decided to gas the entire population of the planet to ensure that no one will have been able to see what they were creating.
8 Bail Told Mon Mothma About Obi-Wan
When Obi-Wan Kenobi went into exile he only told one person about his whereabouts on the desert planet of Tatooine. It’s smart, ensuring that no one knows where you are is absolutely an effective way of maintaining your exile and secrecy. However, Kenobi did find it valuable to let Bail Organa know, as Organa was the leader of the Rebels, and had one of Anakin Skywalker’s children.
Obi-Wan Kenobi clearly wanted to stay close to Luke Skywalker as he grew older to not only make sure he would be safe, but also to ensure that Darth Vader would not be able to find him.
When Mon Mothma became an important part of the Rebellion, Organa obviously thought it was important to divulge who and where his Jedi friend was.
7 The Inquisitors Are Born
In the wake of the rise of Darth Vader, the Emperor decided that all Jedi needed to die and that the Jedi Order itself needed to end.
The Inquisitors were a group of elite force sensitive warriors whose sole job was to completely wipe out the Jedi Order. Whether it was turning them to the Dark side or killing them, the Inquisitors were meant to completely end every single Jedi in the galaxy.
They were some of the fiercest warriors and were highly feared during their time working for the Empire.
They were under the supervision of Darth Vader who would step in during important missions when the Grand Inquisitor was killed.
As we know from episodes 4, 5, and 6 the Inquisitors clearly didn’t completely do their job, but that was definitely good!
6 Obi-Wan SAVED Luke
Luke Skywalker wasn’t the most responsible kid, and got into a lot of trouble as he was growing up on Tatooine.
As we know, Luke was adopted by his extended family who were moisture farmers on Tatooine. Jabba the Hutt was the horrible mob leader of the planet, and always was trying to get more money from the citizens in almost always non-legal ways.
When Jabba’s lackeys were sent to impose “water taxes” on the Moisture Farmers, the small but feisty 8-year-old Luke decided that he would challenge them and defend his family.
Obviously Luke had no chance as he was a literal child, and they were adults. But before they could kill him Obi-Wan Kenobi swooped in and ensured Skywalker’s safety.
5 A Jedi Librarian Is The Most Sought After Jedi?
The only Jedi that The Emperor wanted to ensure was kept alive was Jocasta Nu. As the librarian for the original Jedi texts and the Jedi Temple, she was the only person who was able to access the texts after the fall of the Jedi.
Palpatine believed that the archives would provide him with information that would keep the Empire continuing forever, and obviously needed Nu in order to make sure he could have access.
While she was on the list of Jedi that the Inquisitors had to track down, the Emperor made it clear she was not to be killed. This story is still being told, so let’s hope that Nu doesn’t find her way into the clutches of the Empire.
4 Tarkin Rises To Power
Grand Moff Tarkin is well known in the Star Wars universe. But like anyone else joining a military force, he started out as nothing.
After growing through the ranks and having a few missions with Darth Vader, Tarkin found himself promoted to Grand Moff. It was in this role that he truly developed his style of leadership and began to rule in the way that he knew best.
He was given management of the Death Star, and in an effort to keep the peace throughout the galaxy, began to rule with an iron fist.
What became known as the Tarkin Doctrine was broadcast throughout the entire galaxy, and prefaced a new way of rule which involved even more oppression and even more enslavement.
3 Chirrut And Baze Fall Out With The Partisans
Two of the characters we know from Rogue One are Chirrut and Baze, two men that worked together seamlessly and joined the rebels for their mission to Scarif.
However, before their time with the Rebels, they were actually a part of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. As we mentioned before, Gerrera was sort of a loose cannon, and as a result, his Partisan groups were also very tumultuous.
The two men wanted to save orphans from the Empire, and were led to believe that Gerrera wanted to do the same thing. Unfortunately, Gerrera decided he wanted to use the escape shuttle as a bomb, and nearly convinced the Partisans to do it. Chirrut and Baze eventually won out, and the orphans were saved, but their relationship with Gerrera was never the same.
2 Thrawn Infiltrates The Empire
Thrawn is known as a very famous member of the Empire, but his backstory is far more interesting than many of the other high ranking members of the Imperial Army.
Thrawn actually started as a double agent, and had no intention of becoming an actual part of the Empire. The Chiss, Thrawn’s race, were actually looking to discover ways that they could either bring down the empire, or become their allies.
He was such a genius that he managed to get himself in front of Emperor Palpatine himself, where he was given a place in the Imperial Army. After that, he continued to grow through the ranks, all the way up to Grand Admiral. The only question is: Did he ever actually turn his back on the Chiss? We don’t know.
1 Ezra Becomes An Illegal Jedi?
Ezra Bridger was born on the day of the inception of the Galactic Empire, and was raised in one of the darkest times in the Galactic Universe. When he was only 14 he met up with Kanan Jarrus and joined the Spectres, a group that was trying to fight against the Empire. In his first mission with them, he fought against the Empire to save Wookies, and stole Jarrus' lightsaber.
Jarrus, seeing that he had the ability to use the force and was sensitive to it, asked him to join him and become his Padawan as Jarrus was a Jedi that had survived Order 66.
Ezra agreed and decided to join up with Jarrus, learning the ways of the force as he fought against the Empire!