Expanded Universe

What happens in the middle?

Most of the Star Wars stories are placed near the Galactic Civil War (GCW). It makes sense. The whole series started in the middle of that war and followed the storyline until the defeat of Palpatine at the battle of Endor.

The ensuing flood of expanded universe materials continued to tell the stories of those characters (Luke, Leia, and Han). Even as the EU material went beyond them to successive generations the story line of Star Wars only ever went a little over 100 years past Episode IV.

As George Lucas geared up to produce the Prequels there was a natural interest in the events surrounding that timeline. And within a few years we had another wave of material that explored the characters and stories of a Republic era that featured a Jedi Order, Clone Wars, galactic politics and more.

But even those plot lines were within 50 or so years of Episode IV. This meant that for decades the majority of stories that were told about Star Wars and given attention took place within about a 200-year window of time.

There was of course one exception: The Old Republic era. This was set several millennia before the movies and told the stories of Jedi and Sith wars, a Galactic Republic that was constantly pushing its borders, and mercenaries and figures like Mandalorians leaving their mark in the Wild West of the galaxy.

The Tales of the Jedi Comicbook series gave this era its focus and opened up to fans a new aspect of the universe that had before been unknown. That time period was revealed even more with the release of two video games: The Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) and its sequel Knight of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords (TSL).

Painting of the valley of the tombs in Korriban.
Korriban and the Valley of Tombs. This planet served as a central feature in explaining the ancient Sith Empire and culture.

Both video games were an extraordinary experience and allowed the player to not only explore several worlds that we had only heard about before, but it delved deeply into the lore of Jedi and Sith. Several side-quests in both games made reference to stories and characters that had been introduced in Tales of the Jedi. Names like Naga Sadow, Exar Kun, and Ulic Qel-Droma were teased into the game further connecting it to the established lore.

The question I have today is this: What happens in the middle?

Specifically, what takes place in the universe in the 2ooo years between the end of the established Old Republic era, and the earliest stories of the GCW era. There are some references scattered throughout. But no treatments that are nearly as exhaustive as the Old Republic era gives us. So many stories are crammed on either side of the Battle of Yavin, and so much has been established about the events that took place 4000 years earlier. But there is still very little that explores the interim period.

It does not seem likely that the Disney-owned Lucasfilm will take time to explore this era. It’s more risky to establish entirely new and unfamiliar characters, places, and storylines. Even the Sequel trilogy while establishing new characters still tried to entrench themselves in established Star Wars tradition.

In retrospect developing the Old Republic era seems equally risky, but something that paid off massively in the end. While the old Lucasfilm might have been willing to take this risk 20 years ago, that same sense of adventure and chance of failure does not seem to permeate the Disney culture that Lucasfilm now lives in.

It’s also possible I am unaware of some franchise material that gives a treatment of this era. I would be happy to discover it and be pointed in the right direction.

But for the many centuries between the Sith Lords and the rise of Palpatine I have to ask what do you think happened? I’d love to hear any fan stories placed in this period.

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