A lot of crazy things have happened in the Star Wars universe thus far, whether it's the fall of the Republic, the rise of the Empire, the creation of the rule of two, and/or the destruction of various civilizations at the hands of the Death Star. Even now, in the current iterations, characters are introduced left right and center, shifts in character dynamic have fans discouraged with their once-favorite heroes, and the balance of the force seems all the more relevant. New powers are displayed, planets are shown, and plot lines can unexpectedly sweep you off your feet and leave you questioning the entire foundations of the Star Wars saga.
But what were the craziest things that happened in between Episodes I and IV (throughout the prequels, the cartoon shows, and the spin-offs) how did the stable, peace yearning Republic end up as the ruthless Empire we know from the original movie? We’re here to attempt to discern some of the events which led us to the beginning of A New Hope and detail some of the craziest things to have happened between the climax of the Republic and the dawn of the Empire.
So, read on, and leave your comments in the section below. From the construction of the monolithic Death Star and the creation of the iconic villain we now know as Darth Vader, to the slightly less well-known inclusion of his various apprentices, here are 25 of the craziest things that happened in the time between Star Wars Episodes I through IV.
Starting things off with a bang, the Death Star, an intergalactic space station with the power to destroy entire planets, was designed and built between Episodes II and IV with the intention of being the ultimate super-weapon. Originally conceived by the Geonosians during the Clone Wars, the weapon’s construction was then assumed by the Galactic Empire after the events of Episode III. Director of Advanced Weapons Research, Orson Callan Krennic, took over the role and forcibly enlisted weapons designer Galen Erso to complete the design. To his dismay, however, Erso also implemented its signature weak spot. How cunning.
Shortly after the completion of the Death Star, its blueprint, which detailed the very weak spot as implemented by Galen Erso (check above), were stolen by the Rogue One outfit during the battle of Scarif. Codenamed Stardust, after Erso’s daughter, Jin, the plans were then transported to the hands of Princess Leia Organa who hid them inside R2-D2, a small astromech droid with a potty mouth and a talent for troublemaking. Thus, prompting the events of A New Hope and initiating a series of repetitive design errors made by the Empire.
For those Clone Wars fans out there, this one’s for you. Ashoka Tano, the brilliant but reckless apprentice to Anakin Skywalker was introduced during the Clone Wars movie back in 2008. Nicknamed “Snips” by her master, Tano quickly gained traction as a gifted Jedi and was assigned numerous missions which had her face off against such opponents as General Grievous, Asaj Ventress, and Cad Bane. She ultimately left the Jedi Order after a lapse of faith but ended up joining Bail Organa’s growing rebel movement and coming into contact with her once master, now Sith, for a final battle.
Originating from Dathomir, the same planet as famed Sith Lord, Darth Maul, Asaj Ventress was at one time a slave, a Jedi Padawan, a nightsister, a bounty hunter, but indeed, most famously, an ender of the Sith. Discovered by Count Dooku on the planet of Rattatak after the fall of her Jedi Master, Ventress’ grief made her susceptible to the power of the dark side and thus her conversion, a short one. Under his tutelage, she became a violent and powerful apprentice, sparring with the likes of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Count Dooku himself during the Clone Wars.
Saw Gerrera was a human resistance fighter in both The Clone Wars and Rogue One. A broken man with a breathing apparatus akin to that of Darth Vader, Gerrera was, as at one time, a devoted leader of the Onderon rebels, enlisting Anakin Skywalker and company to train his soldiers in the art of battle. Sadly, his tactics became increasingly extreme and the rebellion decided to distance themselves from his violent approach, seeing him more a threat than a friend. Yet, after successfully getting vital knowledge of the Death Star to Jin Erso, his redemption was somewhat attained.
Everyone’s favorite intergalactic scoundrel finally got the spin-off he deserved in 2018 with the titular Solo: A Star Wars Story. Taking place between Episodes III and IV, the movie sets to answer any and all questions one might’ve had about Solo’s past, like where he got his iconic name, for instance.
Turns out it was given to him by an Imperial Officer who took the fact that Han works alone a little too literally. It doesn’t explain, however, why Han would adopt it so fervently; surely a name given by a tyrannical superpower would be a no-go?
That’s right, folks; Darth Maul’s back and crazier than ever. After his initial defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi during The Phantom Menace, Maul was picked up and transported to the junkyard planet of Lotho Minor, where he gains a freaky new set of robot spider legs. Fuelled by his lust for revenge against Obi-Wan, Maul is taken by his brother, Savage Opress, to Mother Talzinon his home planet of Dathomir in order to “fully” recover and receive a fancy pair of robot legs to boot.
Revealed during Obi-Wan's visit to the aquatic planet of Kamino, the Clone Army was originally commissioned by Jedi Master Sifo-Diyas as a source of protection for the Republic. Created using the DNA of infamous bounty hunter, Jango Fett, the Kaminoans established an army that would prove vital in the Republic’s victory over the Separatist Droid Army, while giving us such fan-favorite characters as Commander Cody and Captain Rex. Only, it was all for naught as, by order of the Supreme Chancellor, the clones were secretly programmed to turn on the Jedi at a moment's notice.
Sheev Palpatine, a Galactic Senator from Naboo, is the secret dark lord of the Sith intent on destroying the Jedi Order and establishing rule over the Republic. Through his appearances in The Phantom Menace through Revenge of the Sith, we see Palpatine’s rise to power through cunning insight and deceptive actions. He uses the newfound emergence of the Sith (executed by his sending of Darth Maul to capture Queen Padmé Amidala) to attain the title of Chancellor after using the Queen herself to enact a motion of no confidence against Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum.
During his reign as Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine used his power to continue his venture to attain complete control over the Republic, and during the events of The Attack of the Clones, implored the Senate to allow him emergency powers to combat the Separatist Droid Army. After the secret creation of the Clone Army (check example 8), Palpatine used his influence to achieve power over the troops in order to enact a full-scale war against the Separatists, while secretly preparing to overthrow the Jedi at a moment's notice. AND IT WAS JAR JAR WHO FINALISED THE VOTE.
Shortly after naming Darth Vader, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, now revealed as Darth Sidious, activated the final orders of the vast Clone Army... to betray and defeat their Jedi officers without question. Secretly programmed prior to the events of Episode III, and alluded to in The Clone Wars TV show, Order 66 was the catalyst which caused the near-extinction of the Jedi Order, sending the once peaceful protectors of the Republic into obscurity. Some of the Clones were able to reject said programming in order to show up in Rebels; however, for most, it was an exigent order.
Shmi Skywalker was a slave woman trapped on the desert planet of Tatooine for most of her life. During this time, she mothered a child, Anakin, who turned out to be a gifted Jedi (and the monstrous villain we know as Darth Vader). After the events of Episode I, Anakin was having nightmares of his mother, deciding to travel to Tatooine in search of her. After finding out that she had been sold and married to Cliegg Lars (yes, the father of Owen Lars), Anakin learned of her capturing by Tuskan Raiders just in time to hear her last words.
Just as with the force, when one side grows, the other rises to meet it. That’s surely the case with Count Dooku, who, fresh after The Clone Wars, was defeated at the hands of Anakin Skywalker.
In a pretty gross affair, Skywalker was able to single-handedly battle Dooku and best him using his skills with a lightsaber.
Yet, it wasn’t his intention to end the dark master, but that of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who used Anakin’s lust for vengeance to off his current apprentice so as to make room for a new one, a more powerful one.
Speaking of Sith demises, lest we forget the short-lived inclusion of Darth Maul’s kid brother, Savage Opress, who fell to at the hands of none other than the dark lord of the Sith himself, Darth Sidious. In a climactic battle between both Dathomirian brothers and the Sith Lord, Savage was ultimately defeated as a final punishment for Maul, leaving him again susceptible to the dark side. Maul is seemingly a servant of Sidious once again, detailing that he still has use for his former apprentice. Unfortunately, The Clone Wars was canceled before we could ever find out what those were.
Considering the events of The Phantom Menace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the last time we were ever going to see the wise old Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn ever again. You would be wrong, though. Y’see, in The Clone Wars, Yoda, led by Qui-Gon's force ghost, is sent on some mystical pilgrimage in order to discern the connection between the Living Force and Cosmic Force. Not entirely sure the details of this encounter, but be assured that this is how the Jedi learned to force ghost... I mean, to come back to life in spirit form.
Rebels is a show keen on expanding the Star Wars universe in areas the movies tend not to tread, a prime example being the time Ezra Bridger jumped through a portal to the World Between Worlds, a mystical dimension which connects time and space. There he found a number of subsequent portals, one of which displayed Ashoka Tano fighting her old master, Anakin Skywalker (now Darth Vader) in that climactic battle at the end of season 2. Bridger pulls Tano through the portal and away from Vader, saving her life while propelling her back into the world of Star Wars.
We all know the planet-obliterating power of the Death Star, yet what you might not know is that the first test of its strength was not on Leia Organa’s home planet of Alderaan but the Holy City of Jedha in Rogue One. An old Jedi stronghold with temples galore, Jedha was a mystical city which was divided during the Imperial occupation in 0 BBY. The Imperials were made to evacuate the city shortly before the Death Star rose to shadow the mystical refuge, destroying it with one single-reactor super laser blast.
Yes, of course I’m talking about Chewbacca, the lovable furry companion to Han Solo’s non-solo criminal efforts. After being thrown into a battleground pit as punishment for trying to reveal Tobias Beckett’s real identity, Solo is left chained to none other than Chewbacca himself, who seemingly tries to eat Solo at first glance. However, using his knowledge of Shyriiwook (the language of the Wookies) he’s able to calm the lonesome beast and persuade it to help them both escape. Thus, beginning their dynasty spanning partnership and a life-long friendship.
An obvious one but a significant event all the same, during the course of Revenge of the Sith, we find out that Padmé Amidala is pregnant and Anakin Skywalker is the father. Considering the rule to keep out of love in fear of it turning the Jedi to the dark side, the Jedi code forbids Skywalker from fathering children. Thus, it became a pretty stressful affair with Skywalker dealing with dreams of Padmé perishing in childbirth and no one to confide in. At the end of the movie, this, unfortunately, happens, delivering two glimpses of hope in the process.
Darth Maul leads a pretty eventful life after the events of The Phantom Menace, gaining a variety of new legs, befriending and losing a brother, and essentially being a nuisance for both Jedi and Sith during the Clone Wars. However, we still didn’t expect him to show up in Solo: A Star Wars Story, sporting a fancy new double-bladed lightsaber and sporting the leadership of a criminal organization to boot. He’s also played by both Ray Park in body (of Episode I) and Sam Witwer in voice (of The Clone Wars, Rebels) which is even more flabbergasting.
In a quiet, uninhabited ceremony at Varykino, a lake retreat in Lake Country on Naboo, Anakin Skywalker and his beloved, Padmé Amidala are hitched. With no other witnesses there besides R2-D2 and C3PO, the two were forced to keep their love a secret as according to the Jedi Code, Jedi were forbidden from forming attachments, such as marriage and other specific, individual bonds like family and romantic love. Sad that this restriction from companionship is the catalyst which brought about the destruction of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Empire.
A famous line and an equally treacherous run, The Kessel Run is a hyperspace route used by pilots and smugglers to transport spice from the spice mines of Kessel at the command of the Pyke Syndicate. Han Solo is caught up in a maelstrom (literally) and is forced to take a different route through the Akkadese storm, thus making the claim that he made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs actually plausible, as a change in route would assumedly change the distance made by the Millennium Falcon.
Darth Maul keeps popping up in this list, just as he keeps popping up around the Star Wars universe, and here he is again, albeit for the last time. After losing his legs, his brother, and his criminal organization, Maul ends up essentially losing his sanity. He exiles himself to the ruins of the ancient Sith world, Malachor, introducing himself as “Old Master” to Ezra and secretly churning a burgeoning hate for Obi-Wan Kenobi as the source of all his torment. Traveling to Tatooine after seeing a vision, Maul battles Kenobi for a final time; a climactic end for the Dathomirian.
Darth Vader is the most iconic villain in all of Star Wars history and arguably one of the most iconic of all time, and it was during the events of Revenge of the Sith that he was created. After a fiery lightsaber duel with his once master and friend Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker was left disfigured and burned, his hate for Kenobi the only thing keeping him alive. Darth Sidious finds him on the edge of a Mustafarian lava river and quickly sends for him to be put under surgery, turning him into the faceless metal monster we fear.
Just a little bonus. Taking the original title for Luke Skywalker, and boasting the voice and facial features of Clone Wars’ and Rebels' own Sam Witwer, this is a crazy notion that was ultimately too crazy for Star Wars canon. The Force Unleashed games took place between Episodes I and III and detailed the discovery and tutelage of the secret Sith assassin, Starkiller, by the hands of Darth Vader. His secret apprentice and his hope for ascension, Starkiller was created to help Vader overthrow the Emperor, and if you get to the end of the game, he might just succeed.