- "When you're young and you see [Return of the Jedi], you can look at the happy ending and go, 'Hey, it's over!' But you get older and you start to think about it, and you realize, no it's not. It's not over at all."
- ―Greg Rucka
Star Wars: Shattered Empire, also known as Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire, is a four-issue comic book miniseries created by writer Greg Rucka and artists Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa. It is a part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing program, and it was published by Marvel Comics between September 9, 2015 and October 21, 2015, to positive reviews.
The series is set immediately after the events of the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and it explores the galactic implications of Emperor Palpatine's death in the Battle of Endor. The four issues focus on Rebel pilot Shara Bey; her husband, Kes Dameron; and a cast of supporting characters, including Star Wars original trilogy heroes Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa.
- 1 Publisher's summary
- 2 Plot summary
- 3 Main characters
- 4 Development
- 5 Continuity
- 6 Reception
- 7 Legacy
- 8 Media
- 9 Collections
- 10 Sources
- 11 Notes and references
- 12 External links
Emperor Palpatine's twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire's Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before! For the first time in the new Star Wars canon, journey with us into the time after the end of Return of the Jedi!
In 4 ABY, the Battle of Endor rages as the Rebel Alliance engages the Galactic Empire in a desperate attack on the second Death Star. While Alliance Pathfinders on the Forest Moon of Endor attempt to disable the space station's deflector shield generator, the Alliance Fleet frantically buys them more time, facing off against Imperial starfighters. Among the Rebel starfighters are the RZ-1 A-wing interceptors of Green Squadron, including Rebel pilot Shara Bey, who worries for her husband Kes Dameron, a Pathfinder on the moon below. As the Rebel pilots suffer losses, the Death Star's shields are brought down, and Green Squadron launches an attack on the battle station. With the other pilots of Green Squadron, Bey assists Gold Leader Lando Calrissian on his attack run.
Bey watches for Imperial starships evacuating from the Death Star, and she sees a Lambda-class shuttle making an escape. As Bey moves to intercept the shuttle, she is called off by Commander Luke Skywalker, who reveals that he is piloting the Imperial vessel. Skywalker flies toward Endor, and Bey covers him from attackers. Once safe from enemy starfighters, Bey tells Skywalker "May the Force be with you." Soon after, the Death Star explodes—a result of Calrissian's attack—marking a decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance.
Regrouping aboard a Rebel starship, Bey approaches Lieutenant L'ulo L'ampar—a Duros pilot and newly-appointed leader of Green Squadron—requesting permission to join the celebration on Endor. L'ampar is aware of Bey's concern for her husband, and he grants her request. As the Rebels celebrate with the native Ewok population, Bey searches for Dameron. Bey locates Pathfinder General Han Solo with Calrissian, and she asks Solo where the rest of the Pathfinder team is. Solo directs Bey to one of the village huts, and Calrissian compliments her piloting skills.
In the hut, Bey is reunited with Dameron, and they go for a walk. From the Ewok village, Bey and Dameron watch fireworks, discussing their victory and future. Bey and Dameron express their love for each other. The following morning, Dameron is called by Solo, who is assembling the Pathfinders and reporting that there is an Imperial holdout on the moon's far side. Bey volunteers to pilot the Pathfinder assault craft, and the Rebels, along with some Ewoks, launch their attack.
The Imperial soldiers are quickly overwhelmed by the Pathfinders. With the grounds clear, the Rebels rush into the outpost while Bey waits in the assault craft. After some time, Solo and Dameron emerge from the facility. Solo explains that they had discovered Imperial communications and plans, summarizing, "It's not over yet."
Although Emperor Palpatine perished aboard the Death Star, Imperial propaganda prevents word of his death from reaching many worlds. Scattered Imperial forces continue their struggle to retain power, exhausting the weary Rebellion. Aboard the Star Destroyer Torment, Imperial Captain Lerr Duvat is met by a red-robed sentinel droid bearing a posthumous message from Palpatine. The messenger states that Duvat has been chosen for a particular honor: taking part in Operation: Cinder, a contingency plan to destroy the Rebellion. Receiving further instructions, Duvat commands Lieutenant Gulin to set a new course, and the messenger leaves.
Seventeen days after the Battle of Endor, chaos engulfs Cawa City on Sterdic IV as the A-wings of Green Squadron attempt to liberate the Imperial-run metropolis. Bey navigates her starfighter between the legs of an All Terrain Armored Transport, picking off a TIE fighter in pursuit of Green Leader L'ampar. The Duros leads Green Squadron in providing cover for Feral Group, a squadron of Y-wing bombers. However, Bey's A-wing is shot, and she is unable to evade the enemy. L'ampar picks off Bey's attacker, and the Y-wings deliver their payload, destroying the Imperial walker.
Following the battle, Bey delivers the damaged A-wing to Rebel technician Wiley and is then approached by L'ampar. Bey and L'ampar discuss her service with the Rebellion. L'ampar states that Bey is working too hard, and he asks when she had last spoken to her husband or son, Poe. Bey states that she had talked with Poe the previous week but that Dameron has been on Pathfinder operations with Solo. L'ampar reassures Bey that Dameron is fine, and he tells her that he will find some light assignments to let her rest.
Three days later, Bey arrives at Rebel Fleet Command, assigned to pilot Princess Leia Organa on a diplomatic mission. Bey finds Organa in conversation with Mon Mothma. Organa is reluctant to leave her duties for the mission, but Mothma insists that her skill and reputation are needed. Bey introduces herself to Organa, and the two board a GX1 short hauler. Organa informs Bey that they will be flying without escort, and they jump to lightspeed to reach a pre-programmed destination.
The vessel arrives in the city of Theed on the planet Naboo, the homeworld of Palpatine. Bey and Organa are greeted by Governor Donta Gesset, who brings them to the Royal Palace to meet with Queen Sosha Soruna. In the palace throne room, Organa asks for Naboo's support as the Rebellion begins to form the New Republic. As Soruna agrees to Organa's proposal, Naboo experiences a sudden, planet-wide blackout. Meanwhile, in the planet's orbit, the Star Destroyer Torment places satellites in a climate disruption array as Captain Duvat fulfills the late Emperor's command: the scouring of Naboo.
At the Wretch of Tayron in the Outer Rim, Sergeant Dameron and the Pathfinder commandos survey an Imperial Security Bureau black site, preparing to raid the facility. Dameron lines up a missile launcher and fires at an All Terrain Scout Transport. The walker goes down and collapses the compound's wall, allowing Rebel forces to flood inside. During the fight, Dameron is saved by the Wookiee Chewbacca, and the Imperial forces are eliminated. The Pathfinders regroup with Solo, and with the encryption-breaking protocol droid C-3PO, they enter the base.
Back on Naboo, Captain Korro informs Queen Soruna that the planet is facing powerful storms, with reports of fires and flooding. Bey deduces that Naboo could be under attack by an Imperial remnant. Organa and Bey realize that there must be satellites in Naboo's orbit which are causing the storms. Organa requests ships and pilots, but Korro explains that the planet had been demilitarized years prior. However, Soruna reveals that there may be some starfighters available.
The Queen leads the group to Theed Hangar, which had been sealed off years prior. Soruna, Bey, and Korro enter the hangar, discovering N-1 starfighters. Organa senses a cold presence—Darth Maul, a Sith apprentice who had once began a critical lightsaber duel inside the hangar. The group find three starfighters that are still functional, and Bey prepares one for flight. Against Bey and Korro's wishes, Organa and Soruna also decide to fly.
At Tayron, the Pathfinders capture the Imperial base commander. Dameron retrieves the commander's code cylinder, and C-3PO slices into the base's computer. C-3PO quickly learns of Operation: Cinder and its targeting of multiple worlds. The droid informs Solo of the widespread attacks, telling the general that Naboo is one of the targets.
On Naboo, Korro continues Theed's evacuation as Bey, Organa, and Soruna pilot their starfighters into orbit. Above the planet, they spot the Star Destroyer Torment, and Bey volunteers to buy time for Organa and Soruna to destroy the satellite array. Organa and Soruna begin destroying their targets, and Bey engages enemy TIE fighters. As the trio become overwhelmed, the Alliance Fleet arrives and ends the Imperial threat. After the fight, Organa and Bey return to Rebel Fleet Command at Muster Point: Vergence, where they are happily reunited with Solo and Dameron.
Three months after the Battle of Endor, the war continues. Imperial remnants hurry to fulfill Operation: Cinder, devastating countless Outer Rim worlds with their attacks. At Muster Point: Stalwart, the Rebel Fleet Command gathers aboard Home One to discuss the ongoing operations. Admiral Gial Ackbar informs the Rebels that another dozen worlds have been targeted by Operation: Cinder. General Crix Madine commends the rebel pilots, but he adds that the Empire is not going to end the fighting. Bey and L'ampar are disappointed by Madine's news.
After the meeting, Bey and L'ampar walk to Home One's hangar. Bey expresses her fear that the war will never end, and L'ampar replies that she should not think that way, otherwise she is "fighting for the sake of the fight." L'ampar notes that Dameron's leave from the Pathfinders had been approved, and the Duros reveals that he had submitted Bey's resignation as well. Bey disapproves, but L'ampar reminds Bey of her family, stating that she should find a world to settle on. As the Duros leaves, Bey accepts his advice.
As Bey watches L'ampar leave, she is approached by the astromech droid R2-D2. The droid leads Bey to another hangar, where she finds Skywalker and a stolen Imperial shuttle. Skywalker informs Bey that he is on a mission to Vetine, where there is something he needs to retrieve. The Jedi asks Bey if she is willing to be his co-pilot, and she agrees to help. Soon after, they enter hyperspace en route to Vetine.
During the flight, Skywalker has Bey don an Imperial military uniform, explaining that she will be impersonating Commander Alecia Beck of the Imperial Security Bureau. Skywalker elaborates on the plan, saying that they will enter an Imperial base using clearance codes obtained in the raid on Tayron, and that the goal is to take back something that Emperor Palpatine had stolen. Exiting hyperspace, the two land the shuttle at the base, where they are met by Commandant Hurron. Under the guise of Beck, Bey improvises that she is conducting a surprise inspection of the base's labs. When Hurron asks who her companions are, Bey simply dismisses R2-D2 as a droid, and she claims that Skywalker is her security officer.
The commandant leads the trio into the base, bringing them to the lab, which contains an assembly line of sentinel droids. They then enter a lab which contains two trees. However, Hurron has stormtroopers surround the rebel agents; he had seen through Bey's persona, revealing that the real Beck is missing an eye. Curious, Hurron asks Skywalker why the trees are special, and the Jedi states that they are the only remnants of the Great Tree which had grown at the Jedi Temple. When Hurron states that the Jedi are extinct, Skywalker reveals his identity and uses telekinesis to throw the Imperials.
As Skywalker fights the stormtroopers, Bey grabs the trees, and they retreat to their ship. When the rebels reach the ramp of the shuttle, Hurron orders his soldiers to throw thermal detonators. Skywalker uses the Force to push the grenades back, killing the stormtroopers. On the return flight, Bey confides in Skywalker, and thinking of her son and husband, she decides to muster out. By 5 ABY, Bey and Dameron plant one of Skywalker's trees outside of their new home on Yavin 4.
- "Shara flies, Kes is a ground-pounder, and a very experienced one. So, they have spent more time apart than together, and they're in the Outer Rim world where the Imperial presence is felt, and they're hoping that they can bring an end to this. But they're both very tired veterans, and they come out of [the Battle of] Endor with the elation that we see in [Return of the Jedi]. 'We've won. It's over.'—only to discover that, no it's not. The Empire was huge."
- ―Greg Rucka
Shara Bey is a lieutenant and pilot in the Alliance to Restore the Republic. She and her husband, Kes Dameron, have a son, Poe, but rarely see him due to the Galactic Civil War. During the Battle of Endor, Bey pilots an A-wing interceptor in Green Squadron and assists in the destruction of the second Death Star, which signals the death of Galactic Emperor Palpatine. Bey hopes the battle will bring an end to the Empire and the war, but many engagements follow. At this time, Bey's commander, the Duros pilot L'ulo L'ampar, encourages Bey to retire and spend time with her family. Bey considers his suggestion, and she is assigned work with Princess Leia Organa on the planet Naboo.
When the Empire launches Operation: Cinder and targets Naboo, Bey joins Organa and Naboo's queen, Sosha Soruna, to protect the otherwise defenseless world. Flying into Naboo's orbit, the three hold off Imperial forces until Rebellion reinforcements arrive. Three months later, Bey helps Commander Luke Skywalker in a mission to Vetine, aiming to retrieve two fragments of a Force-sensitive tree. Shortly after the mission, Bey retires from the Rebellion, and she settles into a home on Yavin 4 with her husband.
Kes Dameron is one of the Rebel Pathfinders, a special forces group that targets Imperial installations. Dameron is married to starfighter pilot Shara Bey, and they have a son named Poe. During the Battle of Endor, Dameron fights alongside General Han Solo and the Ewoks of Endor to bring down the shield generator of the second Death Star. Although the rebels destroy the superweapon, Imperial forces continue to fight.
Under the command of Solo, Dameron participates in the raid at the Wretch of Tayron, where they learn of Operation: Cinder, a contingency plan by the late Emperor to devastate numerous worlds. In the months after the Battle of Endor, Dameron and Bey muster out of the Rebel Alliance and settle into a home on Yavin 4.
L'ulo L'ampar is a Duros A-wing pilot who flies in Green Squadron of the Alliance Fleet. He pilots his A-wing in the Battle of Endor, alongside fellow pilot Shara Bey. With the death of Green Leader Arvel Crynyd, L'ampar becomes the new squadron leader. In the following weeks and months, L'ampar continues to lead Green Squadron through battles, such as the liberation of Cawa City, and he advises Bey to spend more time with her family. Three months after the Battle of Endor, there is still no indication that the war will end, so L'ampar submits Bey's resignation on her behalf. Soon after, Bey and her family retire to a Yavin 4 colony.
- "The Empire still has resources. The Empire still has an enormous fleet. They may be in disarray post the Battle of Endor, but to think that in that vacuum people aren't stepping up [is shortsighted]."
- ―Greg Rucka
Star Wars: Shattered Empire was created for Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a multimedia initiative to promote the release of the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. To write the series, Lucasfilm selected Eisner Award–winning author Greg Rucka, who was also writing the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens junior novel Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure. Artist Marco Checchetto illustrated the series. During the conception of Shattered Empire, Rucka spent time determining the state of the galaxy after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Rucka concluded that the Emperor's death would cause disarray within the Empire, but the power vacuum would create a new drive of Imperial force. For further inspiration, Rucka researched real-world history and dictatorships, citing the Arab Spring, the Eastern Bloc, and North Korea. Rucka also referenced propaganda, stating that even though the Rebellion is proclaiming Palpatine's death, the Empire prevented the message from spreading across the galaxy.
In preparation for writing the series, Rucka re-watched the Star Wars films and the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. Throughout Rucka's story pitches, he collaborated with Lucasfilm Story Group members Rayne Roberts, Kiri Hart, Pablo Hidalgo, and Leland Chee. Together, they worked out a variety of topics, including galactic politics. During the meetings, Hidalgo and Chee specifically commented on Imperial forces being unable to retain their full control, forcing them to double down on the fight. This idea was used in the script of Shattered Empire 2, which depicts a fierce battle in the Imperial-controlled Cawa City.
In Rucka's initial pitch for Shattered Empire, he envisioned Lando Calrissian as the protagonist, with a supporting cast comprised of Smuggler's Run characters Delia Leighton, Alecia Beck, and TX-828. Although this story was approved by Lucasfilm, Rucka scrapped the idea after the cover art of Shattered Empire 1 by Phil Noto was shown at Celebration Anaheim in April 2015. The artwork depicted the Star Wars original trilogy heroes in a recreation of the final shot from Return of the Jedi, and Rucka wanted to avoid misleading and disappointing fans. For the new proposal, Rucka decided to write about the parents of Poe Dameron, a character appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The series was first announced on March 10, 2015 via StarWars.com, where it was referred to as Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens. The title Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire was revealed in a follow-up article on March 13, along with a promotional cover for the first issue.
When writing the series' first issue, Rucka noted time markers from Return of the Jedi to map out how the comic book would fit into the events of the film. The order of events were verified by Chee, and the time markers were then passed to Checchetto, who illustrated the comic based on the specified frames. Checchetto's illustrations were colored by Andres Mossa, lettering was applied by Joe Caramagna, and the issue was edited by Jordan D. White. This team returned for the following issues; additional art was also done by Angel Unzueta and Emilio Laiso for issue 2, with Unzueta also working on issue 3.
In Shattered Empire 4, Shara Bey teams up with Luke Skywalker to retrieve a Jedi artifact from an Imperial facility. Rucka did not want the artifact to be a holocron, because he believed they were too common in Star Wars stories. The Story Group agreed, and Hidalgo suggested using the ancient tree from the Jedi Temple. The tree was first seen in the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, appearing in the fifth season episode "The Wrong Jedi." Rucka stated that using the tree was a fantastic idea and that the tree was a beautiful metaphor for rebuilding the galaxy. Issue 4 also debuted Skywalker's Force powers in a post–Return of the Jedi setting. To write this, Rucka met with the Story Group and used the characters Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and Darth Vader as points of reference.
The series ends with Bey and Kes Dameron outside of their home on Yavin 4. The decision to feature Yavin 4 as their home was based on a suggestion by Oscar Isaac, the actor who portrays Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Isaac was born in Guatemala, the filming site of Yavin 4 in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, so he imagined that the character could be from there.
Shattered Empire 1 was published by Marvel Comics on September 9, 2015, coinciding with Force Friday, a merchandising event promoting Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The following three issues were published weekly, beginning on October 7 and ending on October 21. On November 17, a trade paperback was released. The book included the four issues of Shattered Empire, along with the comic books Princess Leia 1 from early 2015 and text=Star Wars 1 from 1977. On September 13, 2016, a hardcover collection was published, which included Shattered Empire and Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1, a 2016 one-shot issue set before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- "At every turn I have wanted nothing more than to honor the source material, and I want to build on it. I want to add to it in as constructive and as useful a way as I can."
- ―Greg Rucka
Star Wars: Shattered Empire is set in the weeks and months after Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and the opening of the first issue recreates the Battle of Endor from the perspective of Green Squadron pilot Shara Bey. In the Star Wars canon, Shattered Empire was one of the first stories to be set after the events of Return of the Jedi, along with the novels Aftermath and Lost Stars and the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising. Across its four issues, Shattered Empire makes reference to other Star Wars works. Issue 3 references events from Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, notably when Leia Organa senses the presence of Darth Maul in Theed Hangar. In The Phantom Menace, Theed Hangar is where Maul encounters Organa's mother, Padmé Amidala; Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn; and Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Additionally, Shattered Empire 3 features the starship Mellcrawler II. The Mellcrawler was vessel featured in the comic book miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia and the junior novel Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. Similarly, Shattered Empire 4 mentions Imperial forces on the planet Burnin Konn, which is depicted in Star Wars: Uprising. Issue 4 also references Rucka's novel Smuggler's Run when Shara Bey impersonates Alecia Beck.
Upon its September 2015 release, Shattered Empire 1 topped comic book sales with an estimated 208,883 copies sold. In October, Shattered Empire 4 was ranked as the eighth-best seller. The miniseries was met with generally positive reviews which praised the writing, characters, and artwork. With the release of Shattered Empire 1, Joshua Yehl of IGN commended Rucka's tone, the relationship between Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, and Checchetto's space battle illustrations, also stating, "Star Wars: Shattered Empire delivers a more steady and hard-edged story than any of Marvel's other Star Wars comics."
Elements from Star Wars: Shattered Empire have been incorporated into other Star Wars media. Rucka's 2015 novel Before the Awakening mentions Shara Bey, Kes Dameron, and the "L'ulo Stand," a reference to L'ulo L'ampar. L'ampar and the Dameron family also play a role in the 2016 comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, by Charles Soule.
Operation: Cinder, which was introduced in Shattered Empire 2, is a significant plot point of the 2017 novel Aftermath: Empire's End and the 2019 novel Alphabet Squadron. The contingency is also featured in the 2017 video game Star Wars Battlefront II, in which the messenger makes an appearance. Shattered Empire references have also been included in the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game and Star Wars: Armada.
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||Hardcover|
|1||Part I||September 9, 2015||
Star Wars: Shattered Empire TPB
November 17, 2015
Star Wars: Shattered Empire HC
September 13, 2016
|2||Part II||October 7, 2015|
|3||Part III||October 14, 2015|
|4||Part IV||October 21, 2015|
- Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Shattered Empire TPB
- Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire HC