As promised, Star Wars: Aftermath delivers both a fast-paced story and hints about what might have happened between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Familiar characters take new paths, and new ones start to shape the face of the galaxy, as Mon Mothma, Wedge Antilles, Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane, and a new cast learn to navigate a galaxy shaken up by both loss and victory.
We’ve collected for you here some of the most revelatory moments in Aftermath, ones which might change the direction of the Star Wars universe forever. By its nature, this list is full of spoilers, as well as some speculation.
Even if you’re most interested in the minutiae of the new canon, give the book a read as well. You might find some new favorite characters in this changed universe.
1. The New Republic claims Chandrila.
In the old Expanded Universe (now known as Legends), everything revolved around Coruscant. After the New Republic captured the former capital of the Republic, it remained theirs until it was again the focal point of the war in The New Jedi Order. Aftermath seems to be sidestepping this entirely, proposing that the New Republic will use Mon Mothma’s homeworld, Chandrila, as their capitol. Mothma herself has been named Chancellor of the new Galactic Senate.
Additionally, Mon Mothma wants the New Republic to be a place of peace, and in order to do that she’s proposing a vote to cut down their fighting force by 90 percent. War “is not our heart. War is not our state of being. It is meant to be a temporary chaos between periods of peace,” she says. Some of her advisors believe that the New Republic should keep fighting, since it has plentiful resources, enthusiastic recruits, and an advantage over the Empire – but Mothma wants to end the war.
Admiral Ackbar is also still a driving force in the New Republic, and wields a mean harpoon.
2. The Empire has a new hierarchy.
Admiral Rae Sloane gathers Imperial officers and allies for a summit on the planet Akiva, which she hopes will enable the return of the Empire. It doesn’t quite turn out that way, but we get a new look at some key players: Yupe Tashu, a Sith devotee who doesn’t seem to be Force sensitive himself but served as an aide to Palpatine, the self-titled Grand Moff Valco Pandion, moneylender and slaver Arsin Crassus, General Jylia Shale, and archivist Februs Temmt. Sloane names them the Imperial Future Council.
Their in-fighting frustrates Sloane and contributes to the loss of Akiva, though. Sloane returns to a mysterious Admiral in command of the Super Star Destroyer Ravager, who isn’t as perturbed as she is at the failure on Akiva. He wants to form a new Empire, one that isn’t the “ugly, inefficient machine” the old one showed itself to be.
Akiva might become more important in the future, not as an Imperial base (it since became the first Outer Rim planet to join the New Republic), but as the place where the new hierarchy was born, and this Admiral is certainly a major player in future books.
3. Han and Chewie are headed to Kashyyyk.
Han Solo is the only member of the Big Three who appears in the pages of Aftermath, although he mentions that he misses Luke and Leia, as well as Lando. He and Chewbacca are on a series of missions in which they go undercover and disrupt Imperial supply lines, but it’s interrupted by a call from Imra, an old friend.
Chewie is one of the only Wookiees who isn’t enslaved by the Empire, so when Imra says the Imperial forces on Kashyyyk will be thin for a few days, Han and Chewie immediately decide to gather a group of Wookiee refugees and try to make a difference on Kashyyyk. We don’t see any more of this adventure, but it’s possible it might be continued in Aftermath’s sequels.
Dengar the bounty hunter also appears briefly, in a genial fight against a younger hunter.
4. Our first look at the planet Jakku.
Jakku, the desert planet from the teasers for The Force Awakens, makes an appearance in Aftermath, too. A man comes to a dingy bar, trying to get as far as he can away from the Empire. We learn some names of places and things to be found on Jakku, such as the town of Tuanul, but perhaps most important is a more metaphorical illustration – due to something intrinsic or the character’s own experiences, Jakku is “a dead place.”
5. Ahsoka Tano worked with Wedge Antilles.
In fact, she encouraged his career in the Rebellion. “Once upon a time, he crashed an A-Wing at the lip of a volcano – one of his first runs out as a pilot for the then-burgeoning Rebel Alliance, at the urging of a friend – a rebel agent known only as Fulcrum.”
We know from Star Wars Rebels that Fulcrum is actually the Jedi Ahsoka Tano, but it isn’t confirmed whether Wedge knows this, although he considers her a friend.
6. Sabine Wren might have made a high-profile art installation.
Speaking of Rebels, there is some familiar-looking artwork mentioned on Chandrila – stormtrooper helmets painted with Alliance symbols and flowers. There is no confirmation that the artist is Sabine, but the person speaking about the installation is cut off just before she can say the name of the artist. Is this just natural-sounding dialogue or a tease about Rebels?
7. Three out of four of Aftermath’s main characters were present at the Battle of Endor.
Just like Mara Jade in disguise in Return of the Jedi, some of the new EU characters got very close to the action in the movies. Norra Wexley’s Y-Wing can be seen diving into the Death Star alongside the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor. It’s revealed that she was recruited for that mission by Wedge Antilles himself after years of serving the Rebellion as a freighter pilot, and that she dodged down a side tunnel during a firefight and escaped the Death Star just before its destruction.
Bounty hunter Jas Emari and ex-Imperial Sinjir Rath Velus were both at the Imperial bunker during the Battle of Endor, Sinjir as part of the Imperial army and Jas on a mission to collect a bounty on Leia’s head. Neither of them succeeded in their missions, but they get the chance to work together again on Akiva.
8. Someone is dealing in old lightsabers.
A group calling themselves the Acolytes of the Beyond visit a dingy apartment on the planet Taris to make an expensive purchase – Darth Vader’s red lightsaber.
Now, we know that Vader’s lightsaber fell down the same pit that claimed the Emperor on the Death Star. So this is probably a knock-off, talked up by a dealer in order to appeal to his black-clad customers. But more importantly, the Acolytes of the Beyond are looking for Sith artifacts or things that once belonged to Darth Vader specifically – could they be the forerunners of the Knights of Ren?
9. The Empire is eyeing the edge of the galaxy.
Tashu recommends that the Empire leave the galaxy, but not as a retreat. The Emperor’s advisor knows about something on the edge of the galaxy, something that might be a clue to “the source of the dark side.”
“Palpatine felt that the universe beyond the edges of our maps was where his power came from. Over the many years he, with our aid, sent men and women beyond known space. They built labs and communication stations on distant moons, asteroids, out there in the wilds. We must follow them. Retreat from the galaxy. Go out beyond the veil of stars. We must seek the source of the dark side like a man looking for a wellspring of water.”
The other Imperials don’t take to this plan, but maybe it gives us a clue as to what stories the new EU could tell next. And what was that about the Emperor believing his power came from outside the galaxy?
10. Some ideas from Knights of the Old Republic have found themselves back in canon.
The planet Taris from Knights of the Old Republic has already been recanonized, but Aftermath also mentions the fighting style developed by the Echani.
11. Did the Jedi combat a comet?
The mention of the Kinro Comet was a tiny aside, but it hints at events in the Old Republic that could make a good story one day. An interlude about a Rebel communication station mentions that Jedi once used the Force to turn aside a comet that ripped through the galaxy from the space beyond. I’d read a story of the Jedi countering cosmic phenomena. Could this have anything to do with Tashu’s ideas about the origins of the dark side? With the new canon still mostly wide-open, anything could happen.
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Megan Crouse is a staff writer.