With the highly anticipated "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" finally here, the future of a galaxy (from a long, long time ago) is now very real.
For nearly 40 years, the Expanded Universe augmented the original trilogy and three prequels, with new characters, new worlds and new major, canonical moments occurring in comic books, novels, TV series and video games. But all of that was blasted out of continuity when Lucasfilm -- now part of the Disney empire -- announced that the entire Expanded Universe was no longer canon, and would all be rebranded under the "Legends" banner.
With so much entertaining content slashed, as if by lightsaber, onto the cutting-room floor, SPINOFF peeked under the Legends banner to see what could have been had we experienced the awakening of the Force in the Expanded Universe.
Fans have been wondering about whereabouts of Mark Hamill's iconic character, with #WhereIsLukeSkywalker and #WhereIsLuke trending on Twitter, but there won't be a similar search for the Jedi's wife, Mara Jade. A former Hand of the Emperor (assassin/secret agent), Mara was introduced in Timothy Zahn's 1991 Legends "Heir to the Empire," which was set five years after the events of "Return of the Jedi." She married Luke in Michael A. Stackpole's 1999-2000 Dark Horse Comics miniseries "Union," and gave birth to their son Ben in the 2001 novel "Edge of Victory II: Rebirth," written by Greg Keyes.
Always Two There Are, No More, No Less (OK, Maybe One More)
Born at the height of the Yuuzhan Vong War -- the galaxy-wide Great War that occurred 25 years after the Battle of Yavin (ABY) -- while Luke and Mara were off do-gooding as Jedi Masters do, young Ben Skywalker was left in the care of his equally heroic aunt and uncle, Han and Leia Solo. Yes, the princess and scruffy-looking nerf-herder were married in the 1993 novel "Prophets of the Dark Side," written by Paul Davids and Hollace Davids. But while we fully expect Han and Leia to be husband and wife in the new film, we're sure the nuptials won't have gone down quite the same way, with Mon Mothma officiating and C-3PO serving as ring-bearer.
It's even less likely we'll see their twins Jacen and Jaina, and their youngest child Anakin Solo. The twins first appeared in "The Last Command" (1994), the third volume of Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, while Anakin, although featured first in the popular "Jedi Academy" trilogy of novels by Kevin J. Anderson, was "born" in Tom Veitch's "Dark Empire II" miniseries, published in 1996 by Dark Horse.
Jacen, I Am Your Grandfather
In the world of "Legends," Han and Leia's son Jacen took a path similar to his infamous grandfather, Anakin. Jacen turned to the Dark Side and was reborn as Darth Caedus before being killed by his own twin sister Jaina in the 2008 novel "Legacy of the Force: Invincible," written by Troy Denning.
Last Laugh of the Fuzzball
Chewbacca was 200 years old in "A New Hope" and 204 in "Return of the Jedi." When you consider Wookiees can live to be more than 400, and the new movie is set 30 years after "Jedi," he's barely middle-aged at the start of "The Force Awakens." That said, Chewbacca did die at the ripe old age of 224 in Expanded Universe continuity in the 1999 novel "Vector Prime." In the first book of the "New Jedi Order" series, written by R. A. Salvatore, Chewie sacrifices his own life to save Han and Leia's son Anakin from a collision between the planet Sernpidal and one of its moons.
Marvel Comics has done a masterful job with its handling of the "Star Wars" universe since the franchise returned to the publisher earlier this year. But one major misfire has been the absence of Jaxxon, a green, anthropomorphic "lagomorph" with big floppy ears, who first appeared in 1978's "Star Wars" #8, during the series' original Marvel run. OK, who's kidding who? He's a talking rabbit.
Conceived Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, Jaxxon is a smuggler, but he makes a heroic stand on Aduba-3 against a band of local thugs in a story inspired by the iconic Akira Kurosawa film "Seven Samurai." Rumored to be severely disliked by George Lucas, Jaxxon has rarely appeared in Expanded Universe canon beyond a few issues of the comics. In fact, in the "A Sunny Day in the Void" episode of "The Clone Wars" animated series, which survived Lucasfilm's continuity cull, a skeleton found in a crashed shuttle wears a space suit eerily similar to Jaxxon's; the skull even has long incisors. The guess is that Marvel will canonize Jaxxon in its new "Star Wars" comic book long before the character ever appears in film.