“For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
When Obi-Wan gave Luke his father’s lightsaber, he told him of the supplantation of the Old Republic by the Empire and of Darth Vader’s betrayal and destruction of the Jedi Knights, the broad strokes of a detailed backstory developed for A New Hope but absent from the final film. Famously, its 1976 novelization included a prologue that filled in many of the details, which now reads like a rough outline of the events that would decades later be depicted in the prequel trilogy. The 1983 novelization of Return of the Jedi would provide an updated version of this account, excising outdated elements like Palpatine being controlled by his subordinates and the existence of later emperors, while also recounting the fall of Anakin Skywalker in remarkably extensive detail.