While it may appear the Star Wars universe is expansive and all-encompassing, there are still parts of the galaxy that have yet to be explored, both for fans and the characters. Among the most cryptic and discussed parts of the Star Wars galaxy are the Unknown Regions. To most of the characters in Star Wars, the Unknown Regions are an unfamiliar place shrouded in mystery and legend. Yet the sector and the many Unknown Regions species have played crucial roles throughout the Skywalker saga. Locations and people from the Unknown Regions play a major role in the events of all three Star Wars trilogies, with everything coming to a head on Exegol in the series-concluding Rise of Skywalker.
Grand Admiral Thrawn Hailed From A Planet In The RegionsPhoto: Rebels / Disney XD
Just because they're called the "Unknown Regions" does not mean they're uninhabited. The region is home to many civilizations and species, some of which have played a major role in the Star Wars saga. Among the major players from the Unknown Regions are The Chiss Ascendancy, comprising the blue-skinned humanoid species, the Chiss.
In the early days of the Galactic Empire, a Chiss Ascendancy military officer named Thrawn sought out Emperor Palpatine to forge an alliance with the Empire. For the Chiss, an alliance was necessary due to the threat from another enemy from the Regions, the Vagaari. For the emperor, an alliance with the Chiss helped with his project to map the Unknown Regions. Thrawn would become a trusted advisor to Palpatine and eventually rise to the rank of Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy. Originally a major character in the Expanded Universe, Thrawn was folded into the official canon as a major antagonist in the series Star Wars: Rebels.
The Regions May Be Where The Dark Side Of The Force Originates FromPhoto: Return of the Jedi / 20th Century Fox
Why was Emperor Palpatine so interested in the Unknown Regions? Because he believed they may have been the source of the dark side of the Force.
In the first book of Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, which takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, one of the emperor's former advisors, Yupe Tashu, mentions that Palpatine had sensed a source of great dark side power in the region. Tashu meets his end during the Battle of Jakku, but his fellow members of the Imperial Remnant would go into the Unknown Regions to carry out the emperor's contingency plan.
It's Where The Empire Regrouped And Became The First OrderPhoto: The Force Awakens / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Unknown Regions also played a major role in the events between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. After the conflict at Jakku, which was the final major engagement between the New Republic and the Galactic Empire, the remnants of the Imperial Navy used the coordinates from Palpatine's Jakku observatory to escape into the Unknown Regions.
There, they joined up with the emperor's personal flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Eclipse. From within the secrecy of the Unknown Regions, the remaining Imperial loyalists were able to rebuild their forces, which gave rise to the First Order.
Starkiller Base Was Built In The Secrecy Of The RegionsPhoto: The Force Awakens / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Starkiller Base, the planet-destroying superweapon from The Force Awakens, was housed in the Unknown Regions and, in a cruel twist, it was also built into the sacred Jedi planet Ilum.
Emperor Palpatine detailed the planet during his research of the Unknown Regions, and the founders of the First Order spent decades trying to locate it. The deposits of kyber crystals throughout the planet were critical in fueling the destructive capabilities of the base.