'Star Wars: Shattered Empire' Writer Teases Grim Aftermath of 'Return of the Jedi'

Star Wars Shattered Empire - H 2015
<p>Star Wars Shattered Empire - H 2015</p>   |   Phil Noto/Marvel Entertainment/Lucasfilm
"It does get ugly," Greg Rucka says of the galaxy, following the emperor's death.

Sure, Return of the Jedi might have suggested that the Empire had fallen with the death of the emperor, but what actually happened after the Battle of Endor is far less tidy, according to writer Greg Rucka.

Rucka, who's writing Marvel Entertainment's Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Shattered Empire comic book series, told StarWars.com that, even without the emperor, the Empire remains a force to be reckoned with. (No pun intended.)

"The Empire still has resources. The Empire still has an enormous fleet," Rucka explained. "They may be in disarray post the Battle of Endor, but to think that in that vacuum people aren’t stepping up [is shortsighted]. … 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."

The mention of insurgents and terrorists is deliberate. Rucka mentioned real-life elements such as the Arab Spring and the totalitarian regime in North Korea as influences for the series. "Who controls the airwaves? The Empire does," he argued. "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."

The four-issue series will focus on two new character, rebel pilot Shara Bey and her husband Kes, whom Rucka described as "very tired veterans" of the conflict, although movie characters including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian also will appear. "I really wanted to honor the moment in the [movie] characters, but at the same time, I didn’t want to exploit them," he said.

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Shattered Empire launches Sept. 2 in comic book stores and digitally.