What is it?
Star Wars: Shattered Empire is a comic book miniseries written by Greg Rucka, drawn by Marco Checchetto, and published by Marvel Comics. All four issues of Shattered Empire are out now as part of Lucasfilm and Disney’s Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
So, where were we?
At the end of Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader are dead, the second Death Star is blowed up real good, and our heroes are celebrating on Endor’s forest moon.
Shattered Empire is what happens next.
What is Star Wars: Shattered Empire About?
The Emperor might be gone, but the war isn’t over. In the days following the Battle of Endor, Shara Bey joins familiar faces like Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker, as she helps eliminate the remaining Imperial forces and makes the world safer for her husband, foot soldier Kes Damaron, and her son, Poe. In many ways, the battle between the Empire and the fledgling Republic is just getting started, and Shattered Empire explores the emotional toll that the Rebellion took on its most dedicated soldiers.
What are the most important facts?
Not everybody knows what happened at Endor.
While Shattered Empire’s heroes know that the Emperor died with the second Death Star, the rest of the galaxy isn’t so sure. Imperial officers dismiss the Emporer’s demise as Rebel propaganda, and the Empire’s remaining forces—which is most of ’em—are happy to fight on, oblivious to any changes. The Emperor even issues orders “in person” via a robotic messenger that plays pre-recorded videos.
He might be dead, but Emperor Palpatine is still a pain in the butt.
Most of Star Wars: Shattered Empire centers on Operation: Cinder, a mission devised by the Empire himself. On Palpatine’s orders, Imperial forces attack a number of planets—including Naboo, Palpatine’s home world—to destroy sensitive information and stick it to the people he plain doesn’t like. On Naboo, the attack comes in the form of an artificial hurricane, which Shara, Princess Leia, and Naboo’s acting queen must fight by taking to the skies in Naboo’s antique starfighters.
Poe Damaron’s parents kick all kinds of booy.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Poe Damaron is an adult man, played by Oscar Isaac. In Star Wars: Shattered Empire, he’s just a small child who’s staying with his grandfather. Thankfully, Poe comes from good stock. His mother, Shara, is an ace pilot, who played a pivotal role at the Battle of Endor and takes on an entire fleet of Imperial Tie Fighters above Naboo. His father, Kes, is one of Han Solo’s personal Specforce Pathfinders—the strike team that helped Solo take out Endor’s shield generator, and later joins Han on the raid of an Imperial intelligence outpost.
The Rebels want to re-establish the Republic Senate, because it worked out so well last time.
Yes, the Senate—the same Senate that Palpatine manipulated to facilitate his rise to power—is back, but this time, the good guys are in charge. Leia travels to Naboo to recruit the planet’s queen as a representative. Because these are all Good People, the queen happily accepts the offer.
After retiring, Shara guards a tree from the original Jedi Temple.
Shortly before Shara leaves the Rebel military, Luke Skywalker recruits her for one, final mission: rescuing a pair of saplings that originally came from the Jedi temple on Coruscant, which Luke says are “strong in the force.” Luke takes one, and gives the other to Shara, who plants it at the homestead she shares with Kes and Poe.
Is this important? Probably…
Is Star Wars: Shattered Empire any good?
Yes, although it’s bleaker than I expected it to be. Shattered Empire is a gritty war drama, not an adventure story, and even the Rebels’ big victories are undercut by weary tragedy. Thankfully, that’s the kind of story that author Greg Rucka is really good at. The story itself might be fragmented and episodic, but Shara’s character arc is clear, consise, moving, and well-told.
Artist Marco Checchetto does nice work, too. The characters all look on-model, and the space combat—Shattered Empire has a lot of that—is well choreographed, and easy to follow. Dogfights are hard to show on the comic page (ships tend to look the same, and without motion, it’s easy to lose sense of the overall geography), but Checchetto makes it look effortless.