When Disney took control of the Star Wars franchise through its acquisition of Lucasfilm, it made the controversial decision to jettison much of the existing Expanded Universe lore. As part of this extensive overhaul of the saga’s continuity, over 20 years-worth of adventures published by Dark Horse Comics were relegated to non-canon, “Legends” status.
Although this was a logical move on Disney’s part – providing the filmmakers in charge of forging the franchise’s future a blank canvas to work on – it also meant that several key events in Star Wars history have been erased forever. With this in mind, we’ve thumbed through our entire collection of “Legends” comics to round-up this list of 10 Major Comics Moments That Aren’t Canon Anymore in a galaxy far, far away.
10 Luke Skywalker’s Wedding
First introduced as a foil for Luke Skywalker in Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir to the Empire, fan-favorite character Mara Jade would eventually go on to marry her one-time adversary in the Union mini-series. Together, the duo was one of the biggest “power couples” in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, arguably even eclipsing the popularity of the Han Solo/Princess Leia romantic pairing.
So a hefty chunk of the vitriol hurled at Disney/Lucasfilm following the institution of the “Legends” banner related to the removal of Mara – and by extension, her marriage to Luke – from the official canon.
9 Darth Vader Acknowledges C-3PO
Full disclosure: the canonical status of the Star Wars Tales anthology series has always been a grey area, with some of the short stories appearing in its pages not forming part of official continuity. That said, the events of Thank the Maker – which chronicles an encounter between Darth Vader and his creation, C-3PO – were acknowledged in several other Expanded Universe sources, cementing its official status at the time.
Seamlessly fitting between the cracks of The Empire Strikes Back’s existing narrative, this yarn by Ryder Windham and Kilian Plunkett artfully connects the original trilogy with the newer prequel films, so it’s a real shame it now carries the “Legends” label.
8 Star Wars: Legacy
The first of two “cheat” entries on this list, here we’ve bent the rules to bundle the entire Legacy comic book series together as one big “moment.” But seriously, do you blame us? After all, this book dropped a new bombshell on every other page just by virtue of being set in the previously-unseen distant future of Star Wars’ galaxy far, far away!
Written by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema (with art by Duursema), Legacy revolved around the efforts of reluctant hero Cade Skywalker to defeat a resurgent Sith Empire. A breath of fresh air in a franchise all-too often content to retread old ground, the series’ developments are now sorely missed from the saga’s revamped mythos.
7 The Yuuzhan Vong Invade Artorias
In the New Jedi Order line of Star Wars novels, war-like alien race the Yuuzhan Vong replaced the remnants of the Empire as the main threat facing the galaxy. While the books dealt with the interplanetary conflict in suitably epic fashion, the aptly-named Invasion comic book series went in a different, more intimate direction.
Kicking off on the day the Yuuzhan Vong conquered peaceful backwater world Artorias, the comics focused on the impact this had on a single family, the Galfridians. This more personal approach resulted in a more relatable take on the Star Wars saga that’s seldom been seen before or since, even in the post-“Legends” era.
6 Darth Vader Versus Darth Maul
Ok, we’ll admit it: Resurrection – which sees Darth Vader go toe-to-toe with the revived Darth Maul – is as shameless an example of fan service as you’re ever likely to see. Yet writer Ron Marz and artist Rick Leonardi somehow managed to hit this one out of the park, elevating its ostensibly goofy premise through the sheer quality of their words and pictures.
Not only is the duel between these two iconic baddies incredibly satisfying, but it also ends on a disarmingly haunting note that speaks volumes about Vader’s tormented nature. So while Maul’s return escaped the Disney/Lucasfilm Expanded Universe purge, we wish this Star Wars Tales short story had, too.
5 The Emperor Finds Out Who Destroyed The Death Star
At the conclusion of the Vader’s Quest mini-series by Darko Macan and Dave Gibbons, Emperor Palpatine is presented with two pretty big pieces of information. First, he learns that Luke Skywalker was the Rebel pilot who single-handedly destroyed the Death Star. But just as importantly, he discovers that Darth Vader – supposedly his most faithful servant – kept Skywalker’s involvement a secret.
This double-barrelled “Legends” revelation is kind of a big deal, as it establishes the uneasy dynamic between Palpatine and Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi by setting in motion the power struggle brewing between them.
4 The Last Battle Of The Jedi/Sith War
Despite being present in six of the eight Star Wars episodes to hit the big screen, the Sith Order isn’t actually explained in much detail on-screen. We know that the Sith were nearly destroyed by their sworn enemies, the Jedi, and that they subsequently plotted to conquer the galaxy from hiding. Otherwise, their backstory was left to the Expanded Universe to elaborate on.
That’s where comics like Jedi vs. Sith – which documented the closing days of the Jedi-Sith War only briefly alluded to in The Phantom Menace – come in. With this series now falling under the “Legends” umbrella, Disney/Lucasfilm really needs to re-visit this crucial period in the saga’s history.
3 Luke Skywalker Versus Darth Maul
We’ve already mentioned that Darth Vader once squared off against Darth Maul in “Legends” canon, but did you know Vader’s son Luke Skywalker took a crack at the horned Sith Lord, too? Following in his old man’s footsteps, Skywalker junior crossed lightsaber blades with a solid-state hologram of Maul in the Phantom Menace feature showcased in Star Wars Tales.
Admittedly, pitting Luke against Maul is fan service, pure and simple – but as with Resurrection, the story is handled with enough care that it avoids being dismissed on these grounds. Besides, who doesn’t love a good lightsaber duel, even if it is a bit of gimmick?
2 Tales Of The Jedi
And here’s the second entry dedicated to an entire comic book series, rather than a single moment. But really, how could we be expected to choose a single milestone from Tales of the Jedi? This long-running narrative – which inspired the critically and commercially successful Knights of the Old Republic video games – could have filled an entire list all on its own!
From Exar Kun’s fall to the Dark Side of the Force to the redemption of Ulic Qel-Droma and everything that happened in-between, Tales of the Jedi painted the ancient history of the Star Wars universe in truly mythic strokes. Indeed, its demotion to “Legends” status represents the biggest hole in the saga’s revamped canon.
1 The Return Of The Emperor
Emperor Palpatine – the big bad of both the original and prequel trilogies – looks set to terrorize the Star Wars galaxy once more in the upcoming flick, The Rise of Skywalker. Interestingly, there’s a precedent for Palpatine rising from the grave, as he did just that in the “Legends” continuity back in 1991.
As revealed in Dark Empire, the Emperor averted his seeming demise in Return of the Jedi by taking possession of a far younger, decidedly healthier cloned host body. Now more powerful than ever, he even manages to briefly bring Luke Skywalker into the Dark Side fold – a massive plot twist in its own right!
Did we miss any other major Star Wars comics moments that aren’t canon anymore? Let us know in the comments!