While the the key heroes of Return of the Jedi were featured on the initial teaser artwork for Star Wars: Shattered Empire, series writer Greg Rucka reveals that they won't be a major part of the series itself. Instead, Rucka and artist Marco Chechetto will focus on two new members of the Rebellion: Kes and Shara Bey.
“Shara flies, Kes is a ground-and-pounder, and a very experienced one,” said Rucka. “So, they have spent more time apart than together, and they’re in the Outer Rim world where the Imperial presence is felt, and they’re hoping that they can bring an end to this. But they’re both very tired veterans, and they come out of [the Battle of] Endor with the elation that we see in [Return of the Jedi]. ‘We’ve won. It’s over.’ — only to discover that, no it’s not. The Empire was huge.”
Rucka explains that while Return of the Jedi seemed for many to be the end of the Empire, Star Wars: Shattered Empire reveals the Empire lost the Battle of Endor and its two senior leaders, but not the war.
“When you’re young and you see[Return of the Jedi], you can look at the happy ending and go, ‘Hey, it’s over!’" said Rucka. "But you get older and you start to think about it, and you realize, no it’s not. It’s not over at all. All these people are not about to go, ‘Oh, well, I guess we were on the wrong side. It’s over, then.’ [Laughs] There’s a Moff out there who’s like, ‘Right. I’m emptying the bank accounts, I’m changing my name, and I’m going to Aruba.’ You know there is. But for every Moff who does that, there are five who say, ‘Like hell am I leaving this post. We’ve got stormtroopers for a reason. You get out there and you shoot every last one of these upstart insurgents, these terrorists, and you make clear to them that the rule of law still stands.’ So it does get ugly.”
As for which familiar characters readers can expect to see, Rucka promises that, while they are not the focus of the story, Luke, Leia, and Han will all appear.
“This is important,” said Rucka. “This could never be, as much as I wish I could’ve written, and would’ve loved to have written, the story of, ‘We’re gonna follow Luke for four issues after Return of the Jedi.’ That was never what my mandate here was. But, with that in mind, we see Luke, we see Leia, we see Lando, we see Han, we see Chewie. We see what they are doing, and while the stories are not about them — they’re about Shara Bey — the stories link."
The four issue series begins during the final moments of Return of the Jedi's Battle of Endor, and goes on to cover the following months for the Rebellion and the Empire.
"In that time, Shara and her husband find themselves in some situations only incidentally in the path of the principles, and in other situations, working quite closely with them.”
The aftermath of the Battle of Endor and the remnants of the Empire is evocative to Rucka of a real world conflict in and around Tunisia (the shooting location for Star Wars' Tatooine) and Egypt with the Arab Spring.
“The other thing that I tend to look at is propaganda,” he said. “Who controls the airwaves? The Empire does. So, the Rebellion can be jumping up and down, and screaming at the top their lungs, ‘Palpatine is dead!’ But I guarantee you, that message didn’t reach 70 percent of the galaxy. It’s a rumor. It’s a whisper.”