“No, I am your father” – with these five words in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader did more than just drop a bombshell on Luke Skywalker (and audiences). He laid the groundwork for the Star Wars saga’s tradition of earth-shattering twists. Every major reveal since then – Luke and Leia are brother and sister! Kylo Ren isn’t loyal to Snoke after all! – has only built on this legacy.
However, not every massive revelation has taken place on the big screen. No, more than few of the saga’s juiciest secrets have been divulged in other media, including the numerous comic book series published by Marvel. This will no doubt come as a shock to those who don’t read comics set in a galaxy far, far away – so if you find yourself in this camp, read on to discover the biggest Star Wars shake-ups you completely missed out on!
10 Palpatine Is Anakin’s “Father”
Star Wars fans have speculated that Emperor Palpatine was responsible for mystically engineering Anakin Skywalker’s dad-free birth since Revenge of the Sith hit cinemas back in 2005. This wasn’t exactly wild speculation, either: Star Wars creator George Lucas explicitly confirmed that Palpatine was Anakin’s “father” in early drafts of the screenplay – an allusion to The Empire Strikes Back that was ultimately omitted from the shooting script.
Still, the possibility that the Dark Lord of the Sith was essentially the Chosen One’s old man was implied in the finished film, although it only officially graduated from fan theory to canon recently. That’s right: Marvel’s Darth Vader comics series finally eliminated any lingering ambiguity, establishing once and for all that Anakin owes his existence to a Dark Side ritual performed by Palpatine!
9 The Origin Of C-3PO’s Red Arm
When C-3PO turns up halfway through The Force Awakens, he’s sporting a red arm that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the gold-plated protocol droid’s outer shell. In case we didn’t already notice it, 3PO himself draws attention to his crimson-hued limb, but he’s interrupted before he can explain how it ended up attached to his shoulder.
If you don’t follow Marvel’s Star Wars comics output, chances are you’re still oblivious regarding what went down, and the tragic undertones it adds to 3PO’s backstory. However, if you have read Star Wars: C-3PO #1, you’ll be fully aware that at some point in-between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, 3PO embarked on an ill-fated rescue mission, and he subsequently adopted his replacement arm as a tribute to one of his fallen droid companions.
8 Han’s First Wife
Look, we don’t think we’re alone in assuming that someone with Han Solo’s roguish charm courted several flames before settling down with Princess Leia, even before the debut of Qi’ra in Solo. But never for a second did we imagine that our guy had actually been married before...until his wife showed up in the pages of Marvel’s Star Wars comics!
Introduced in the “Skywalker Strikes” story arc, Sana Starros is a former associate of Han’s from his smuggling days, with the pair having said “I do” as part of an elaborate heist. For Han, it was just something they did to pull off a job, and meant nothing – but for Sana, both her feelings and the holy vows of matrimony were something far more serious.
7 Qui-Gon Regretted Becoming A Jedi
Qui-Gon Jinn only appears in a single Star Wars episode, The Phantom Menace, but he nevertheless manages to establish himself as a maverick who regularly finds himself at odds with the Jedi Council. That said, despite Qui-Gon’s unorthodox approach to intergalactic peacekeeping, there’s nothing in Episode I to suggest that the venerable Jedi Master ever regretted joining the Jedi Order.
But it turns out that Qui-Gon did harbour misgivings about both the Order and its role within the galaxy. As related in Star Wars: Age of the Republic – Qui-Gon Jinn #1, he shared with Master Yoda his suspicions that the Jedi had devolved into living weapons operating at the whims of corrupt senators. A few wise words and a trippy meditation session soon put his mind at ease, but for a moment there, Qui-Gon was seriously tossing up the idea of a career change!
6 Luke Openly Mourned Han
The years have not been kind to one-time Star Wars saga protagonist Luke Skywalker by the time we catch up with him in The Last Jedi. Tormented by his failure with Kylo Ren, Skywalker has retreated into exile and cut himself off from the Force.
So when Rey and Chewbacca finally track down the ageing Jedi Master, it’s no surprise that – without his mystical senses to draw upon – Luke is completely unaware that his best friend, Han Solo, had become the latest of Ren’s victims.
What is surprising is that we never really witness Luke mourn Han’s passing (although it’s implied). Fortunately, comics readers have since learned that our guy did grieve for his buddy, thanks to additional scenes and lines of dialogue in the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film.
5 The “Ghost” Of Darth Maul Haunts Theed Royal Palace
Fan favorite Star Wars villain Darth Maul met his apparent demise in The Phantom Menace, after Obi-Wan Kenobi sliced him in two and sent him tumbling down a bottomless shaft.
Proving you can’t keep a good Sith Lord down, Maul returned (rocking a set of replacement robot legs) in Clone Wars, made a brief cameo at the end of Solo, and played a prominent role in Rebels, where he was again dispatched by Kenobi, seemingly for good this time.
Yet Maul’s presence is still felt in a galaxy far, far away – and we mean that literally! As depicted in Star Wars: Shattered Empire, a manifestation of this iconic baddie’s malignant spirit lingers in Theed Royal Palace on Naboo – site of Maul’s first loss to Kenobi – and can be detected by Force users like Princess Leia.
4 The Real Truth Behind Han's Last Name
Solo: A Star Wars Story received a mixed reception from fans, with a vocal contingent taking issue with several of the revisions this origin outing made to Han Solo’s backstory. Arguably the most unpopular change concerns the smuggler’s surname – which, according to this flick, isn’t really his surname at all! Instead, the “Solo” moniker was foisted upon Han by an Imperial recruitment officer, in response to his claim that he doesn’t belong to any family.
This seemed a bit too glib for some – but it’s possible they might approve of the expanded explanation for Han’s handle presented in Marvel’s tie-in series, Han Solo: Imperial Cadet. In this tale, one of Han’s fellow Imperial Navy recruits claims that Han was branded “Solo” to mark him as an outsider within the Empire’s ranks.
3 The Story Of Poe’s Parents
Poe Dameron has developed a devoted following since he debuted in The Force Awakens, thanks in no small part to his roguish swagger and actor Oscar Isaac’s near-superhuman charisma. Yet for all his popularity, we don’t actually learn all that much about the Resistance’s greatest pilot in the Star Wars movies themselves. Who he is and where he’s from are questions that aren’t even raised, much less answered.
There’s a reason for this: anybody interested in finding out more about Poe’s beginnings need only consult Star Wars: Shattered Empire. In this Marvel Comics series – which takes place in the off-screen gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens – we meet Rebellion officers Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, a married couple…and (as Kes’ surname suggests) Poe’s mom and pop!
2 Darth Vader Foresaw His Defeat At Luke’s Hands
After more than two decades spent as the Emperor’s most frightening and effective enforcer, Darth Vader finally met his match in Return of the Jedi: his own son, Luke Skywalker! And while Luke’s upset win over his infamous dad was kinda on the cards – his Force powers had been steadily increasing over the years, whereas Vader’s were slowly diminishing – the one person who should really have seen it coming is the Sith Lord himself.
Indeed, as shown in Marvel’s Darth Vader series, Vader did witness this event unfold ahead of time, via a prophetic vision. However, as is so often the case when supernatural foresight rears its head in the Star Wars saga, the images shown to the former Anakin Skywalker were more symbolic than informative. Still, Vader’s foretold conqueror boasted Luke’s distinctive silhouette and carried his father’s old lightsaber, so it shouldn’t have taken a genius to put two and two together here.
1 Admiral Ackbar’s Final Words
Long-time Star Wars fans were saddened when Admiral Ackbar – mollusc-like hero of the Rebellion, and inspiration for countless internet memes – wound up one of the frontline casualties in The Last Jedi. Worse still, we barely got a chance to bid farewell to this revered military leader, as the hail of torpedo fire that claimed his life didn’t offer much time for any last words.
Or so we all thought – until we read the Marvel Comics adaptation of Episode VIII, that is. Here, we’re treated to an extended version of Ackbar’s final scene, where it’s established that he did utter a few parting words expressing his admiration for the crew of Resistance flagship, the Raddus. It’s a suitably classy way for a commander of Ackbar’s stature to bow out, and makes his passing easier to swallow.
What are some other huge Star Wars revelations that only comic book readers know about? Let us know in the comments!