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Evil Returns
Shadow of a Dark Empire
Sights and Sounds of Dark Empire
The Dark Empire Saga
April 05, 2000

Shadow of a Dark Empire

The Dark Empire series was met with critical success and fan enthusiasm. The title now boasts over 100,000 copies in print. The bold directions the story took shook up fandom. It marked the start of Dark Horse's successful Star Wars publishing campaign, and soon more titles followed. Still, Dark Empire stands apart not only for being the first, but also for taking so many risks.

[ The Dark Empire Saga ] The events of Dark Empire have been referenced and worked into novels that follow it in the timeline. Kevin J. Anderson was the first to set a tale after the comic series, in his Jedi Academy trilogy. The reconstruction of Coruscant and Calamari after the depredations of the cloned Emperor play important roles in the trilogy, as does Leia and Han's newborn son, Anakin Solo.

While many fans read the novels and the comics, not all read both. So, those who only read the novels would be quite surprised when reading a reference to the resurrected Emperor or Luke's exploration of the dark side. Many fans would ask which novel this occurred in, overlooking the possibility that the momentous tale was told in comic book format. With Dark Empire collected into trade paperback format, and available on the same shelf as the novels in many bookstores, this was soon rectified. Furthermore, its inclusion in The Essential Chronology helps fill in the gaps for those fans not aware of the series.

Characters and locales from Dark Empire found their way into other works. Han's old girlfriend, Salla Zend, and mechanic Shug Ninx would return in novels. Nar Shaddaa would be featured in a number of LucasArts computer games, like Dark Forces and Jedi Knight.

[ The Dark Empire Saga ] One of the first spin-off products was the Dark Empire Sourcebook, by Michael Allen Horne, published by West End Games in1993. This roleplaying game supplement delved into the characters and technology of the series, quantifying these new elements into game stats. It also pieced together the history between the events of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy and the start of Dark Empire.

In 1994, the success of Dark Empire saw the publication of Veitch and Kennedy's sequel, Dark Empire II. The Emperor's storehouse of clones continues to sustain him. His army of dark side adepts and followers renew their scourge with a new deadly weapon, the Galaxy Gun. Luke uncovers an ancient world of the Jedi, Ossus, now inhabited by a tribe of Force-sensitive nomads. He falls in love with a young Force-sensitive, Jem Ysanna. Meanwhile Boba Fett and Han Solo square off once again, and Solo discovers a long-lost Ganathan civilization.

[ The Dark Empire Saga ] The six issues of Dark Empire II were followed by a two-issue finale that would cap the series. Empire's End, written by Veitch and illustrated by Jim Baikie, sees a withering Palpatine desperate to renew his life by transferring his consciousness into Han and Leia's newborn, Anakin Solo.

Dark Empire, Dark Empire II and Empire's End have since been compiled into separate trade paperbacks. Chronologically, the saga is immediately followed by the Crimson Empire series of comics.

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