Star Wars is perhaps the media franchise that has the most extensive library of “extended universe” material to supplement its main core of stories. While Disney appears set on pumping out at least one addition for the Star Wars movies per year, the sheer scope of the galaxy far, far away means that there are still countless unanswered questions that could be answered in the new extended universe. In fact, that process of gap-filling in Star Wars lore has already begun.
The Star Wars extended universe experienced a “Order 66”-esque culling when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and declared that all previously published EU material was now considered non-canon and shifted into the Star Wars Legends line. Disney then set about publishing its own, more carefully-curated version of an extended universe. This came in the form of Marvel Comics, various novels and other tie-in books, and even a new TV show, Star Wars: Rebels. Mega-fans now have all the material they need to answer some of their most burning questions about Jedis, First Orders, and the habits of droids and Wookiees.
The continuity questions answered by the newest batch of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars titles are not just focused on the newest films. The Star Wars and Darth Vader series are both based in the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, allowing them to clear up some confusion from the Original Trilogy.
One pressing question that fans had was how Darth Vader found out he was Luke’s father, after seeming to have no idea who he was in A New Hope. As it turns out, Boba Fett is the answer. Unbeknownst to the Emperor, Vader hires Fett to track down the pilot who bested him at the Death Star, and Fett returns with a single name - “Skywalker.” Darth Vader discovers that his master was lying to him and that his son was alive in one fell swoop.
The main line of Darth Vader comics from Marvel eventually changed tones, switching from portraying Vader between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back to showing his earliest days as a Sith Lord in the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith. The opening storyline set out to answer a question of why the Sith specifically use red lightsabers, with Emperor Palpatine sending the young Vader on a quest to create his own Sith blade.
Most fans had probably assumed that the reason was that red lightsabers look cool and evil, but it actually has something to do with the kyber crystals that power all lightsabers. Imbued with the Force, kyber crystals are a sort of living thing, and that means they can feel pain and suffering. Only a kyber crystal that has “suffered” will produce a red lightsaber. Siths traditionally forge these cruel blades as part of their initiation.
There are countless injustices in the Star Wars universe, like the destruction of Alderaan or the massacre of the younglings. However, perhaps the most controversial injustice was the simple fact that Chewbacca does not appear to receive a medal from Princess Leia at the end of A New Hope. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker both get awarded, so why doesn’t Chewie? Is it space-racism?
Marvel Comics cleared the issue up in their Chewbacca miniseries, showing that Chewie did own one of the medals. They also showed him pawning it off to some kid he encountered. It seems that the beloved Wookiee did receive his well-earned recognition for the destruction of the Death Star, and that it just wasn’t depicted on-screen. Perhaps Leia just couldn’t reach his head!
Despite being one of the characters who delivers the most dialogue in the various Star Wars films, Chewbacca doesn’t speak a single word of English. To make matters more complicated, Chewie’s dialogue is never translated via subtitles. Only a handful of characters, like Han Solo and Yoda, seem to understand the Wookiee dialect at all.
Thus, it's a little surprising when Rey meets Chewbacca in The Force Awakens and is immediately able to converse with him. What gives? A companion book for young readers called Rey’s Survival Guide details the life of Rey before she met Finn and BB-8, and it includes a lot of lonely study with whatever materials she could get her hands on. Apparently, she managed to learn several alien languages during this time, including Wookiee.