Come December the 17th the Star Wars Saga will have spanned over 60 years in canonical history. So with the run into The Force Awakens well underway, it is worth taking some time to look back over the story so far…
Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (66 years before The Force Awakens)
Set around thirty years before the start of the original trilogy, Episode One explains Anakin Skywalker’s origins as a slave boy on the planet Tatooine. Anakin, who will later become Darth Vader, is identified by the Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn as the ‘Chosen One’, prophesied to bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon gambles on the boy’s ability to win a Podrace, and as a result, gains his freedom, but not that of his mother who is left behind.
This film also introduces Padmé, Queen Amidala of Naboo, an important political figure and later Anakin’s love interest. She is key in assisting Senator Palpatine’s ascension to Supreme Chancellor.
The film culminates in a lightsabre battle between Qui-Gon Jinn, his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, in which Qui-Gon is killed and Maul defeated by Obi-Wan. With Qui-Gon’s death, Obi-Wan pledges to fulfil his master’s dying wish by training Anakin, and the Jedi Council reluctantly agree. Other reasons to watch this episode include seeing everyone’s favourite droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and, I suppose, meeting Jar Jar Binks is at least an experience…?
Star Wars Episode II – Attack of The Clones (56 years before The Force Awakens)
All is not well in the Republic as there is significant strife from the rising Separatists, a group opposing the Republic.
The once Queen of Naboo, Padme Amidala, is threatened with assassination attempts leading to Jedi Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, being tasked with protecting the young Senator. What follows is a pivotal, if unbelievable, romance between the two.
While Obi Wan investigates the assassination attempts, he crosses paths with the deadly bounty hunter Jango Fett, who is the original template for a secret clone army produced for the Republic. His pursuit leads him to be captured by the former Jedi and apprentice of Yoda, Count Dooku.
In their attempts to save him, Anakin and Padme also become captured. However, with the combined strength of the Jedi Order and the newly discovered Clones, the trio is saved forcing Dooku into retreat. This spirals into the legendary Clone Wars that rage on for the next three years.
The ending reveals that the whole situation is orchestrated by Palpatine (Now supreme Chancellor with emergency powers), who uses the Clone Wars to manipulate the senate into giving him more and more political power.
Meanwhile Anakin and Padme are married in secret.
Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of The Sith (53 years before The Force Awakens)
It is the final days of the Clone Wars. Anakin and Obi-Wan return to Coruscant after rescuing Chancelor Palpatine from a Seperatist kidnap, where Anakin kills Count Dooku in cold blood. With their return, Padme informs Anakin that she is pregnant. Anakin fosters growing concerns over Padme’s safety after receiving visions of her dying during childbirth.
Soon after, Palpatine begins his manipulation of Anakin with the legend of Darth Plagueis, a Sith who used the force to overcome death. This leads Anakin to consider the Dark Side as a possible means of saving Padme; an idea that becomes more real once Palpatine reveals his true identity as a Sith Lord later on. The Jedi attempt to arrest Palpatine, yet Anakin intervenes. Palpatine is saved, and takes Anakin as his new apprentice, ‘Darth Vader’. Palpatine issues Order 66, causing the clones to turn and kill their Jedi Generals. With no more opposition Palpatine forms the Republic into the first Galactic Empire, declaring himself Emperor. After discovering what has happened, Obi-Wan travels to Mustafar to assassinate Vader, while Yoda remains to kill the Emperor. Although Yoda is overpowered, Obi-Wan defeats Anakin, after an epic duel, leaving him to die on the volcanic planet. After learning what Anakin has become, Padme dies in childbirth, after giving birth to twins, Luke and Leia. Palpatine finds his crippled apprentice and rescues him with a life-preserving mechanical suit.
The Sith now rule the Galaxy. The trilogy ends with Luke being sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle on Tattooine, while Leia is adopted by Jedi sympathiser Senator Organa.
Composed by Glenn Tanner
Images sourced from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith respectively, Lucasfilm Studios.