star wars 13 Key Moments In The Star Wars Universe That Happened Before The Films  

Tamar Altebarmakian
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The Star Wars movies often hint at major happenings that occurred a long time ago in that galaxy far, far away. In fact, there are a lot of important events that play out before and between the Star Wars films that fill in the gaps of the narrative.

For example, one of the major complaints about the prequels was that Anakin’s fall progressed far too quickly and wasn’t developed properly. This is remedied in the animated series The Clone Wars, where we learn that Anakin had his own Padawan, one he cared for deeply and who was unfairly cast out by the Jedi.

At a cursory glance, Anakin’s story might seem like a unique one, but if you dip into the Star Wars Expanded Universe you’ll learn that Anakin was not the first Jedi to fall. The history of the Jedi is riddled with Force-users who have been tempted to the Dark Side.

Whether your interests lie with the Jedi, the rise of the Rebellion, or the cruel acts of the Sith Empire, the games, shows, and books within the Star Wars shared universe depict some of the most important and interesting Star Wars events before A New Hope.

Way, Way Before The Phantom Menace: The Je'daii Order Was Created

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Before the Republic was created, there were no Jedi or Sith – there was the Je’daii. See, some Force sensitive people found their way to Tython, a planet that was rich with the Force (oh, also, planets can be rich with the Force).

The Je’daii believed the Force to be comprised of three parts: the light, the dark, and balance. These Force users constructed nine different temples on Tython, each one overseen by a Je’daii Temple Master. In order to become a Je’daii, aspiring Force users had to visit each temple to hone their skills.

Still Way, Way Before The Phantom Menace: There Were The Force Wars

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Over time, the peace between the Je’daii was broken due to an ideological clash between those who favored the light side of the Force and those who favored the dark. This clash started a lengthy ten year battle that left the planet Tython destroyed beyond recognition and completely uninhabitable.

As lightsabers weren’t invented yet, the opposing sides of the Je’daii fought using their force powers and metal swords that were Force-enhanced with a blue or red glow. The Je’daii who sought to serve the light side of the Force won the war and went on to form the Jedi Order, vowing to protect and serve those in need.

Way Before The Phantom Menace: There Were Tons Of Wars Between Force Users

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There were many major conflicts between Force users after the Jedi Order was established. One of the biggest was the Hundred-Year Darkness, which began when a group of Dark Jedi amassed huge armies to destroy the Jedi Order and the Galactic Empire.

Another major conflict was the Old Sith Wars, a series of wars which included the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War. Many of these conflicts were set into motion by fallen Jedi, like the Jedi Knights Revan and Malak.

Slightly Closer To The Phantom Menace: Darth Bane Created The Rule Of Two

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Darth Bane shaped the Sith Order into what we see in The Phantom Menace and beyond. Originally, the Sith Order was similar to the Jedi Order, with many Sith Masters training apprentices.

Granted, the training and trials were a lot more sinister and perilous than what a Jedi Padawan would have to face, but the principle was the same. Bane, believing the Sith Order to be cowardly and weak, killed all of his fellow Sith and established a new Order – one that only allowed for “One Master and one apprentice; one to embody the power, the other to crave it." This was colloquially referred to as the Rule of Two. 

Before The Phantom Menace: Palpatine’s Master Set The Events Of The Prequels In Motion

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In addition to training Palpatine in the dark ways of the Force, Darth Plagueis also helped orchestrate many of the events that take place during the prequels. He initiated talks with the Kaminoans about building the clone army,  killed the King of Naboo which helped make way for Amidala, and helped set the wheels in motion to get Palpatine elected as the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.

He also might have been responsible for creating Anakin in the first place. Plagueis’s specialty was manipulating midichlorians, and there is evidence that suggests the Sith Lord created Anakin Skywalker during one of his midichlorian experiments.

Before The Phantom Menace: Obi-Wan Had A Love Interest

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Actually, Obi-Wan had two big love interests. The first was a fellow Padawan, Siri Tachi – the two Jedi confessed their love for one another upon their return from a dangerous mission. They chose to set their feelings aside, knowing full well the difficulties a romance between two Jedi could bring.

Obi-Wan’s second romance was with the Duchess of Mandalore, Satine Kryze. Obi-Wan and the Duchess fell for one another when he and his Master Qui-Gon Jinn were assigned to protect the Duchess from assassination. After the threat to Satine’s life subsided, the two went back to their respective jobs, burying their feelings for one another.

When the two met again during the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan told Satine that he would have left the Jedi Order for her. She only had to ask. Unfortunately, any prospect for a relationship in the future was extinguished by the return of Darth Maul.

After The Phantom Menace: Darth Maul Returned And Stuck Around For A While

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After Obi-Wan sliced the Sith Lord in half, Maul’s body was dumped on the junkyard planet, Lotho Minor. While being cut in two might have killed most people, Maul’s hatred for Obi-Wan kept him alive and drove his revenge fueled return.

Maul was later found and rescued from the planet by his brother, Savage Opress. Maul took it upon himself to teach his brother the ways of the Sith and together they wreaked havoc across the galaxy. Their reign of terror took them to Mandalore, where Maul concocted a plan to gain control of the planet. Once he was in charge, he captured the Duchess of Mandalore (Obi-Wan’s former flame) to lure the Jedi Master into a trap. Determined to make Obi-Wan suffer, Maul brutally murdered Satine in front of the Jedi.

Maul’s triumph was short-lived, however. Shortly after gaining his long-awaited revenge, his former Master (Darth Sidious) arrived on the scene and killed his brother. For the second time, Maul fled and nursed his wounds. He later resurfaced and searched for an ancient Sith holocron that contained knowledge about a secret Sith super-weapon.

After Attack Of The Clones: Order 66 Was Prematurely Triggered

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On a campaign during the Clone Wars, a clone by the name of Tup shot and killed a Jedi due to a malfunction in his inhibitor chip. This simple technical glitch almost unraveled all of Palpatine's carefully laid plans.

The Kaminoans claimed that Tup’s actions were the result of a virus, but Fives, a fellow clone trooper, decided to conduct his own investigation. With the help of a droid, Fives discovered the chip in Tup’s head and his own. He came incredibly close to revealing Palpatine’s sinister plans, but was killed by one of his "brothers" just before he could share what he learned.