The Moments That Shaped the Story of a Far Away Galaxy

Star Wars cover final
Illustration by Tsuneo Sanda

A long time ago, a young padawan named Obi-Wan Kenobi met a slave boy named Anakin on a planet called Tatooine, forever changing the fate of his galaxy. These are the moments before and after that fateful meeting, in order, that shaped the Star Wars saga's galactic universe, excerpted from a Newsweek Special Edition, Star Wars—The Legacy that Lead to The Force Awakens.

  • The Trade Federation institutes a blockade around the planet Naboo in response to the planet's opposition to taxation in the Galactic Republic. Supreme Chancellor Valorum sends Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Naboo to negotiate.
  • The fleeing Jedi and Queen Amidala are forced to land on the planet Tatooine for hyperdrive repairs. At the shop where they can find the part they need, they also find Anakin Skywalker, a preternaturally gifted engineer, pilot and slave.
  • Qui-Gon Jinn, convinced Anakin is the Jedi-prophesied "chosen one" who can bring balance to the Force, finds that Anakin has the highest midi-chlorian count ever recorded. The measurement determines the physical presence of the Force within a person, and Anakin's readings suggest he could be a great Jedi
  • Anakin leaves his mother, Shmi, to join Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan on their journey to Coruscant, the city-planet that houses the Jedi Temple. Qui-Gon lobbies for Anakin to be accepted as a Jedi apprentice, but the order feels the boy is susceptible to the Dark Side and initially refuse. Qui-Gon takes it upon himself to train Anakin.
  • During the Battle of Naboo, in which Amidala's troops and an army of native Gungans fight the Federation's droids, Qui-Gon Jinn is killed in a lightsaber battle with Darth Maul, apprentice to Darth Sidious, a Sith lord orchestrating the downfall of the Galactic Republic. Obi-Wan Kenobi takes on the training of Anakin.
  • A decade after the Battle for Naboo, a former Jedi master named Count Dooku consolidates a separatist movement that threatens the Republic. Padmé Amidala, now a senator representing Naboo, narrowly survives an attempt on her life and is placed under the protection of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi travels to the planet Kamino, where he discovers that an army of clones genetically based on bounty hunter Jango Fett has been built. Anakin suffers from visions of his mother so intense he travels to Tatooine to save her. When he finds her near death in the camp of some Tusken Raiders, he succumbs to anger and kills them all.
  • When the scope of Count Dooku's separatist army—backed by the Trade Federation—becomes clear, Chancellor Palpatine is given exceptional powers by the Senate to lead the clone army into battle.
  • Anakin Skywalker, the proud owner of a new robotic arm after Count Dooku cuts his off, marries Padmé Amidala on Naboo, against the traditions of the Jedi Order, before the Clone Wars begin.
  • Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to Christophsis to deal with a separatist invasion of the planet. Ahsoka Tano arrives to assist and is revealed to be Anakin's new padawan.
  • During the Rishi Moon assault, troops led by General Grievous attempt to disrupt the nascent clone armies on Kamino before a Republic force arrives to save them. As conflicts escalate and battles occur across the galaxy on multiple worlds simultaneously, Jedi become generals over legions of clone troops.
  • As the wars rage on, Count Dooku's deeds become more and more egregious. After he attacks a flotilla of refugees, the Jedi Order plans to assassinate him.
  • At the Battle of Utapau, Obi-Wan Kenobi kills General Grievous, but the entire assault is a diversionary tactic by Chancellor Palpatine to separate Obi-Wan from Anakin and seduce the younger Jedi with the dark side of the Force. Anakin discovers that Palpatine is really a Sith Lord and Confederate.
  • Believing that the Dark Side is the only path to saving the life of his wife Padmé, Anakin Skywalker becomes Sidious's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader.
  • Chancellor Palpatine delivers Order 66, a tightly orchestrated command to have clone troops assassinate their Jedi generals. During the battle of Kashyyyk, Yoda survives an attempt on his life. On Coruscant, Darth Vader kills everyone inside the Jedi Temple, including the younglings living there.
  • On Mustafar, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader battle, with Obi-Wan severely injuring and dismembering Vader, leaving him badly burned and near death. Meanwhile, Yoda and Palpatine fight to a stalemate on Coruscant, and Palpatine declares himself the first Galactic Emperor.
  • Obi-Wan brings Padmé safely to the asteroid Polis Massa, where she gives birth to Luke and Leia before dying. Luke is sent to Tatooine to live with Anakin's stepbrother Owen Lars and his wife, while Leia is adopted by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan.
  • Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine find themselves stranded on Ryloth, a planet rich in natural resources and under the control of insurgents. Vader and Palpatine are hunted across the planet by the Rebels, but both survive.
  • Vader teams up with Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Tarkin eventually leads an attack against the insurgent fleet, for which he is given the title Grand Moff and put in charge of the Death Star, the first of a new generation of super-weapons built to execute the "Tarkin Doctrine": "Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."
  • Palpatine, whose first name is revealed to be Sheev, orders The Inquisitor to investigate and destroy the "children of the Force" before they can become full-fledged Jedi. Meanwhile, the crew of the Ghost, a motley crew of anti-Imperial Rebels, takes on the 14-year-old orphan Ezra Bridger, remarkably skilled in the ways of the Force.
  • The Ghost crew comes in contact with smuggler Lando Calrissian, when they are compelled by a gambling debt to accompany Calrissian on a mission to recover lost droids.
  • The Inquisitor commits suicide after losing in battle to Order 66 survivor Kanan Jarrus of the rebel ship Ghost. The ship becomes a part of the larger Phoenix rebel cell. Darth Vader arrives on the planet Lothal to attempt to subdue the rebellion.
  • Leia, now a Rebel leader, is intercepted by Imperial forces while in possession of plans to the Death Star, but she is able to embed the plans into R2-D2's memory before sending the droid to Tatooine in an escape pod along with C-3PO.
  • The droids are kidnapped by Jawas and sold to Luke Skywalker and his uncle Owen Lars, but R2-D2 attempts to flee, obeying the orders in Leia's message instructing the droid to bring the Death Star plans to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke follows the droids, eventually meeting his father's old Jedi master.
  • Luke goes with Obi-Wan Kenobi to Mos Eisley, where the two hire the Millennium Falcon and its crew, Han Solo and Chewbacca, to take them to an asteroid field that used to be Alderaan, where they believe Leia to be. En route, the ship is apprehended and taken to the Death Star.
  • Rescuing Leia, Luke, Han and Chewbacca escape the Death Star with the droids after Obi-Wan sacrifices his life. But the ship carries a homing device that alerts the Empire to the Rebel position on Yavin 4.
  • In a daring attempt to destroy the Death Star before it can destroy their base, Rebels including Luke Skywalker take to their X- and Y-Wing fighters in the Battle of Yavin 4. Skywalker is successful in destroying the space station.
  • Admiral Ackbar and Princess Leia put Luke on assignment to find an alien cryptographer who could be an invaluable spy for the Rebel cause.
  • The Battle of Hoth costs countless Rebel lives as the new Rebel Base on the icy planet is overrun by Imperial troops.
  • Luke travels to the Dagobah system to study with Master Yoda and complete his Jedi training. Meanwhile, Darth Vader puts a bounty on the Millennium Falcon. Among those who take him up on the offer is Boba Fett, son of the clone-troop model Jango Fett.
  • Han Solo—unaware that Boba Fett is tracking him—makes his way to the planet Bespin, where his friend Lando Calrissian is in charge of Cloud City, a mining colony. Calrissian is forced into a deal with the Empire, and Han is frozen in carbonite before being given to Fett.
  • Luke arrives at Cloud City in time to confront Darth Vader, who reveals that he is Luke's father. He cuts off Luke's hand in battle. Luke escapes and is fitted with a robotic replacement hand after his rescue.
  • Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewbacca return to Tatooine to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt.
  • Luke returns to Dagobah, where he witnesses Yoda's death. Luke discovers that Leia is his twin sister.
  • The Rebel Alliance discovers that plans are underway to create a new Death Star and launch an attack on the station's shield generators on the forest moon of Endor.
  • Darth Vader takes Luke to the new Death Star in an attempt to get him to join the Dark Side. Luke refuses. Emperor Palpatine attempts to kill Luke, but Vader comes to his son's aid and kills Palpatine. He sacrifices his own life in the process.
  • As the Empire reels from the defeats of its Death Stars, the Rebel Alliance consolidates itself into the New Republic. The leaders of the struggling Empire plan a summit on Akiva to discuss their regime.

This article is excerpted from a Newsweek Special Edition, Star Wars—The Legacy that Lead to The Force Awakens, by Issue Editor Tim Baker.

Star Wars cover final
Illustration by Tsuneo Sanda
The Moments That Shaped the Story of a Far Away Galaxy | Culture