The 25 biggest ‘Star Wars’ Expanded Universe unanswered questions (Books and comics commentary)

Before its cancellation in 2014, the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe (now called Legends) was a treasure trove of interconnected stories, creative retcons, and – admittedly – a fair number of unanswered questions and plot holes that were never resolved. Since Disney says it has no plans to produce more Legends books and comics, these are now permanent gaps in the narrative. Possibly, they would not have been addressed even if the EU had continued, but I liked the idea that they could’ve been.

But hey, we can still have fun speculating and theorizing. Here are my picks for the 25 biggest plot holes, unanswered questions, unfinished character arcs and just-plain-oddities in the EU. Keep in mind that this list only includes EU-specific story points that will probably never be answered. While there are several dangling threads from “The Clone Wars,” that series is part of the Disney canon and answers are being parceled out on “Rebels” and in the novels and comics.

1. How does Darth Vader escape Rebel captivity? – At the end of the “Force Unleashed II” book and comic, Vader is secured by the Alliance in a specially built harness and he is to be transported to Dantooine for interrogation. The series was then canceled, and Vader is free from imprisonment in the next chronological story and he never mentions his captivity. Presumably, he would’ve used the Force to escape in “The Force Unleashed III” before the Rebellion can get any information from him, but the fact that that story doesn’t exist leaves the biggest plot hole in the entire EU.

2. Does Darth Bane live on through Zannah? – Author Drew Karpyshyn definitively stated that at the end of his “Darth Bane” trilogy, Bane is dead and Zannah is the next Sith master in line. However, a remarkable number of readers (me included) misread the ending to imply that Bane transfers his essence into Zannah, and I contend that this is the more compelling interpretation. If Bane continues to transfer his essence through the millennium, it would explain why all his successors follow the Rule of Two and the idea of biding their time up until Palpatine’s power play. (If this were the case, a story would be needed to show Bane’s actual death at some point prior to Plagueis and Sidious, who are clearly not possessed by Bane.) Conversely, if Zannah is indeed her own person, it would’ve been neat to see the next chapter in her journey.

3. How is the Massassi Temple rebuilt? – The Grand Temple that the Rebels use as their Yavin base in “A New Hope” is destroyed by the Empire in the Goodwin/Williamson strips, then it is standing tall again in the “Jedi Academy Trilogy” with no explanation. This would’ve been a good opportunity for a story of Luke and some fledgling students using the Force to rebuild the Temple stone by stone.

4. How do the Imperials reclaim Coruscant? – Coruscant is in the hands of the New Republic at the end of the Thrawn trilogy and in the hands of the Empire at the beginning of “Dark Empire.” The short story “Retreat from Coruscant” in “Tales from the Empire” tells of mail carriers fleeing the planet during the Empire’s invasion. But that’s the only story about this momentous galactic event.

5. What is the fate of Dass Jennir, the Uhumele crew and the hidden Jedi? – At the end of the “Dark Times” comic series, many of the heroes are alive and well, and they haven’t lost their fighting edge. The Jedi Jennir and the smugglers and rebels on the Uhumele could’ve been key contributors to the Rebel Alliance. K’Kruhk’s young Jedi are in hiding, so perhaps they live on in peace, but it would’ve been nice if that society had been revisited, perhaps during Luke’s era as Grand Master. K’Kruhk himself pops up again in “Legacy” when he passes R2-D2 on to Cade Skywalker, strongly hinting that K’Kruhk knew Luke at some point between “Dark Times” and “Legacy.” Did Luke meet the Jedi-in-hiding in an untold story? Or did K’Kruhk keep their secret, and if so, why?

6. Do Ben and Vestara get back together? – The relationship between Ben Skywalker and Vestara Khai is a highlight of “Fate of the Jedi.” She has slid to the dark side in “Crucible,” and that’s where the Expanded Universe novel series ended due to the cancellation.

7. What happens to Dani and Kiro? – The Zeltron Dani and water-breathing Kiro are among the best original characters of the first Marvel comics run. But their relationship is never explored after Issue 107 and Kiro is not recruited for Luke’s Jedi Academy despite being an obvious candidate.

8. How do Sidious and Vader find and train Emperor’s Hands, Inquisitors and other dark siders? – The two Darths wipe out the Jedi, and Force users have to go into hiding, although Sidious and Vader keep a few in their employ, including Jerec (“Dark Forces” trilogy) and Starkiller (“The Force Unleashed”). Yet after the Purge, Sidious and Vader somehow continue to have a steady supply of Force-using assistants: Emperor’s Hand Mara Jade, Inquisitors such as Brandl (Patricia Jackson‘s short stories) and Loam Redge (“The Ruins of Dantooine”), and undercover agent Shira Brie (original Marvel comics). Did they set aside these Force users as children as they came across them during the Purge? If so, how did they decide who was worth the risk of training? In particular, Mara was begging for a detailed backstory.

9. What happens to Dash Rendar and Guri? – The final panel of “Shadows of the Empire: Evolution” implies they are a couple, and since Guri is a human replica droid, further chronicling of their relationship would’ve made for interesting sci-fi explorations about droid sentience and natural rights along the lines of I-Five from Michael Reaves’ books. And Dash Rendar is a rather major character to simply disappear from the narrative.

10. What’s the deal with the disappearance of Syal Antilles Fel? – This thread fell victim to the cancellation of the “X-wing Rogue Squadron” comic series. Wedge begins to investigate the mystery in the comics, then we learn she’s alive and well later in the “X-wing” book series, but we don’t have the detailed story about what happened to her.

11. How and why do the droids depart and return to the Organa family’s service? – At the end of “Revenge of the Sith” and the beginning of “A New Hope,” R2-D2 and C-3PO belong to Bail Organa’s family (first Bail himself, then his adopted daughter Leia). In between, the droids have plenty of other short-lived masters in the “Droids” cartoon and the Star and Dark Horse “Droids” comics. We never got the story of how (or why) they left and returned to the Organa family’s service.

12. What are the details of Ackbar’s enslavement under Tarkin? – It’s mentioned on multiple occasions that Ackbar was once a slave of Tarkin. But that story was never told, despite both being fairly major characters.

13. What happens to Korto Vos? – The Force-sensitive child of Quinlan Vos provides a note of hope at the end of the “Republic” comics’ chronicle of the Clone Wars, but he’s never heard from again.

14. What happens to Tanith Shire? – This garbage hauler has serious chemistry with Luke in the Goodwin/Williamson strips, but she’s never heard from again and Luke doesn’t even spare a thought for her in future yarns.

15. Where are the stories about Han Solo’s old friends? – Many stories feature Han’s reunions with supposed old friends, girlfriends and colleagues, but the backstories are often left unexplored. Notable exceptions are A.C. Crispin’s wonderful “Han Solo Trilogy” and Michael Reaves’ “Shadow Games.” The most notable “old friends” whose past relationships with Han are never explored are Raskar and Silver Fyre from the Goodwin/Williamson strips. And the last EU novel before its cancellation, “Honor Among Thieves,” rather than taking the opportunity to tie some things together, introduces yet another “old friend” named Baasen.

16. So was Starkiller resurrected by the dark side, or was he a clone, or what? — I don’t even need a story exploring this question. I’d just like the authors of the “Force Unleashed” saga to explain their intentions.

17. What inspires Dodonna to go from principled Imperial to principled Rebel? – The military man retires as an Imperial in the “Republic” comics then pops up as a Rebel in the “Empire” comics. We know the Empire tries to assassinate him, which perhaps is reason enough for him to fully embrace the Rebellion. But we don’t get any of his inner thoughts about why he decides the Republic/Empire can no longer be changed from within and instead needs to be overthrown, which is odd for a character often held up as a stately paragon of virtue.

18. What happens next in the lives of Kal Skirata’s clones? – Are they able to live full lives after “Imperial Commando: 501st?” Kad Skirata, the son of Darman and Etain, pops up much later on the timeline in “Legacy of the Force.” But specifics about how Kal’s makeshift family adjust to the rise of the Empire went unexplored due to Karen Traviss bowing out of this storyline when “The Clone Wars” contradicted several continuity points.

19. What is Maris Brood up to on Felucia? – What happens to a darksider who is trapped on a planet? That was the intriguing question raised by Maris’ arc in “The Force Unleashed,” but she isn’t revisited after that, not even in the sequel.

20. Why did the Mandalorians start a war with the Republic? – The comic series “Knights of the Old Republic” features a Mandalorian outcast, Rohlan, whose sole mission is to find out why the Mandalorians invaded the Republic. He never finds out the answer, which is odd because the long-running series seemed to end on its own terms and was even capped off by an epilogue called “War.”

21. Who wins the feud between Aurra Sing and the Dark Woman? – Fallen-Jedi-turned-bounty-hunter Aurra Sing and her unorthodox former master, the Dark Woman, have a running rivalry throughout the “Republic” comics that doesn’t get resolved.

22. What is the Ansion mission? – At the end of the “Rebellion” comics, the Rebels are ramping up for a mission to Ansion. They form the first B-wing squadron, called Dagger Squadron, specifically for the mission. However, the series ended and it was not chronicled.

23. Why is AG-37 loyal to the Solo family? – In “Legacy Volume II,” Ania Solo’s droid protects her because, he says, “I made a promise to a Solo once.” Who was that Solo (Han? Jaina? Allana?), and why did the droid make that promise? I suppose we’ll never know.

24. What was the beginning of civilization in the galaxy like?“Dawn of the Jedi” purported to tell, well, the dawn of the Jedi. But as cool as that series is, the basic laws of the Force are already in place during these stories set 25,000 years before “A New Hope,” and it’s basically a Jedi vs. Sith story, even if those aren’t the accepted terms yet. It might’ve been neat to go back even longer ago in the galaxy far, far away.

25. What do the Skywalker and Solo family trees look like between the “Crucible” novel and the “Legacy” comics? – It’s fun to learn the links between stories told out of order, as we found when the prequel era was unveiled and gradually lined up with the original trilogy. Similarly, the next major era in EU novels would’ve continued to chronicle Ben Skywalker (the ancestor of Kol and Cade Skywalker) and Jaina and Allana Solo (one of whom is presumably the ancestor of Ania Solo).

What are your picks for the biggest EU unanswered questions and missing links? Please share in the comment threads below any story points that I may have overlooked.

Andrew Gilbertson's GravatarI’m pretty sure that #11 (the departure part, at least), was answered in the What’s The Story contest (an entry depicting their accidental ejection during escape pod testing on the Tantive IV, hence why R2-D2 is later ‘not permitted in there!’, and #16 is answered in the hidden ending of the game, IIRC, as a fairly-concrete ‘yes, he’s a clone.’ (Never played it myself, though).
# Posted By Andrew Gilbertson | 12/16/15 3:58 PM
John Hansen's GravatarCool. Thanks for the info.
# Posted By John Hansen | 12/16/15 4:46 PM