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The Entire Star Wars Story Finally Explained

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a farm boy on a desert planet dreamed of joining a rebellion and saving a princess from a dark lord. Thus one of the most successful cinematic sagas of all time was born. What began as a space opera detailing the fall and rise of the Skywalker family soon grew into a transmedia empire that tells stories of smugglers, bounty hunters, clones, Jedi Knights, and freedom fighters in the form of films, comic books, video games, TV series, novels, theme park attractions, and toy lines. Today, more than 40 years after it first arrived, "Star Wars" remains a global pop culture phenomenon — and the story still isn't over.

There's so much stuff happening in the "Star Wars" saga that it can be hard to keep it all straight. That's why we're here to help. Whether you're new to this whole "Star Wars" thing or you just want a refresher on one plot point or another, this is the entire "Star Wars" story, explained.

A long time ago...

Having evolved and discovered hyperspace travel, the intelligent life of the "Star Wars" universe forms the original Galactic Republic. The Jedi Order, a group of peacekeepers with a connection to the Force, is also established. But rogue Jedi soon emerge, split from the order, and become the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force.

Powerful warriors known as the Mandalorians also fight the Jedi Order. The Mandalorian-Jedi War devastates Mandalore, their home world. Despite this animosity, a Mandalorian warrior named Tarre Vizsla is inducted into the Jedi Order and constructs the Darksaber, a unique black-bladed lightsaber capable of slicing through anything, save beskar steel. The Darksaber also connects with the wielder on a subconscious level, becoming lighter or heavier based on the way its owner embraces or resists the connection. After Vizsla's death, the Darksaber passes through many hands and becomes a symbol of leadership. In order to properly obtain the Darksaber, however, one needs to defeat the previous owner in combat.

After centuries of conflict, the Sith are seemingly wiped out in the Jedi-Sith War. In actuality, the sole survivor, Darth Bane, establishes the "Rule of Two." It dictates there can only be two Sith at one time — a master and an apprentice. This prevents infighting among multiple Sith Lords, and allows the Sith to go undercover. Around this time, the long-lived Maz Kanata is born, along with future Jedi Grandmaster Yoda. Yoda's activities during this period are unknown, but he eventually becomes a powerful Jedi who trains many Jedi Knights over the course of centuries.

The High Republic Era

With the Sith seemingly eradicated, the Galactic Republic enters the High Republic Era. This is considered a golden age for the Jedi and the Galactic Republic, who are intent on expanding into dangerous Outer Rim territories and giving poorer citizens a place to flourish. This leads to the creation of Starlight Beacon, an enormous space station placed in a dark zone, to help travelers find their way.

Despite the relative peace of the era, the Jedi still contend with disasters and conflict. After the freighter Legacy Run comes apart, large pieces of debris shoot out of hyperspace at near-lightspeed, colliding with planets and killing billions. This catastrophe is caused by the Nihil, a marauder group that extorts planets about to be hit by the dangerous debris. Though the Jedi and Republic work together to stop the Nihil, the conflict leads to the destruction of Starlight Beacon. The Nihl proceed to become the controlling power in the Outer Rim. Elsewhere, near the end of the High Republic Era, Count Dooku becomes one of the greatest Jedi of his generation and trains future Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. However, his interest in the Dark Side proves to be his undoing.

In time, artifacts from this and earlier eras become highly sought after by both Jedi and Sith looking to increase their storehouses of knowledge and power. Other artifacts become the targets of rogue archeologists like Doctor Aphra, who sell ancient weapons to the highest bidder.

A dark lord rises

As the Jedi continue serving as the Galactic Republic's peacekeepers, the surviving Sith secretly begin plotting to overthrow them. They work with only two members at a time in the shadows of Republic prosperity. It's near the end of this millennium of peace that Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord who is also secretly Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo, sets his plan to eradicate the Jedi and seize control of the Republic's government in motion.

A few years before Palpatine's plan begins gaining steam, a seemingly inconsequential event occurs that comes to affect the whole galaxy. A boy is born to a slave woman named Shmi Skywalker, who claims her son was conceived without a father. She names the kid Anakin. By the time he's a toddler, Anakin and his mother are both owned by a Toydarian named Watto and living on the desert planet Tatooine — but Anakin's destiny soon arrives and changes their lives forever.

As war brews, two Jedi Knights chance upon the Chosen One

As part of his plan for galactic domination, Sidious acts as secret advisor to the greedy Trade Federation, and orders them to blockade and invade the peaceful planet of Naboo. Once the Trade Federation arrives on the planet, Sidious, in his Senator Palpatine role, steps in to advise Naboo's queen, Padmé Amidala. He tells her the current chancellor of the Republic isn't acting in their best interests when it comes to fending off the invading army of droids. Working with his Sith apprentice Darth Maul, Sidious manipulates and manufactures tensions in the Republic from both sides. Palpatine is elected chancellor at Amidala's urging, granting him unprecedented power to further his plans. The Trade Federation is ultimately defeated on Naboo, but the underlying damage is done.

Meanwhile, two Jedi Knights — Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi — happen upon young Anakin Skywalker while repairing their starship on Tatooine. Qui-Gon senses unprecedented levels of Force sensitivity in the boy, who is already an accomplished podracer and mechanic. Qui-Gon urges the Jedi Council to train Anakin, but the Jedi, sensing Anakin's fear, are reluctant. After Qui-Gon dies at the hands of Darth Maul and Obi-Wan seemingly kills Sidious' apprentice, however, the Council accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan's new Padawan.

The Jedi discover a clone conspiracy

Over the next 10 years, Anakin Skywalker grows into a talented Padawan under now-Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious takes on a new apprentice in former Jedi Count Dooku, who adopts the Sith name Darth Tyranus. Dooku, at Sidious' urging, creates tension in the Republic by forming the Separatists, a movement of several planets who want to secede from the Republic. As more star systems threaten secession, now-Senator Padmé Amidala fights to keep the Republic together and is nearly assassinated. Obi-Wan is dispatched by the Jedi Council to find out who's behind the attempt on her life, while Anakin stays behind as her bodyguard.

Obi-Wan's investigation uncovers an army of clones on the planet Kamino, seemingly ordered for the Republic by the dead Jedi Knight Sifo-Dyas. These clones were created from the DNA of a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Jango Fett, who was recruited by Darth Tyranus. As payment for helping to create and train this clone army, Jango has the Kaminoans create Boba, an unaltered clone of himself he raises as his son. Jango also continues to take side missions, including one which sees him attempt to murder Padmé Amidala.

After engaging Jango Fett in battle, Obi-Wan tracks him to the planet Geonosis, where Count Dooku is overseeing a gathering of new Separatist members. They're already planning on building the "ultimate weapon," later known as the Death Star. Before being captured by Dooku, Obi-Wan informs the Jedi Council of the clone army and Separatist meeting. This leads the Republic to grant Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers to use the clones in the fight against the Separatists, launching the Clone Wars ... which Palpatine is secretly controlling from both sides.

Back on Naboo, Anakin and Padmé fall in love. Anakin also grows increasingly rageful: After learning Tusken Raiders caused the death of his mother, he slaughters an entire camp of them. Obi-Wan's capture prompts Anakin and Padmé to rescue him and participate in the Battle of Geonosis. During this battle, Dooku escapes, but not before he slices off Anakin's arm.

Anakin and Padmé are married in secret

After Obi-Wan and Anakin's defeat at the hands of Count Dooku, the young Jedi padawan, fitted with his new cybernetic arm, returns to Padmé's homeworld of Naboo to marry the young woman. With only R2-D2 and C-3PO as their witnesses, Anakin and Padmé are wed in a sunset ceremony that is only the first of the many secrets they would come to share. Because of the events on Geonosis, the Clone Wars had begun, a conflict that would exist throughout their entire marriage.

In many ways, Anakin wasn't ready for marriage. In his Jedi training, he was taught to be selfless, but he was also taught that attachments were both wrong and unbecoming of a Jedi. The young Skywalker sought to prove the Jedi Order wrong and threw himself at the Naboo senator, knowing that the Jedi life of celibacy wasn't one he could faithfully commit to. Unsurprisingly, the war proved tough on their nuptials, though Anakin and Padmé always found each other amid the conflict, careful not to raise too much suspicion from their peers.

Nevertheless, some, such as Anakin's master Obi-Wan and their longtime clone ally Captain Rex, uncover these secrets in their own time, though they keep them to themselves due to their friendships with Anakin.

The Clone Wars rock the Star Wars universe

The Clone Wars rage for three years, with Dooku acting as the figurehead of the Separatist movement and Palpatine the chancellor of the Republic. But of course, Sidious is the secret master of both sides, directing Dooku and pulling strings in the Senate. Meanwhile, a new warlord, the cybernetic General Grievous, commands the droid armies and becomes an important figure in the war.

The war consumes system after system, forcing everyone to pick sides. The Jedi Order is tasked with commanding the clone army. Jedi Council leaders including Yoda, Mace Windu, and Ki-Adi-Mundi are drawn out of Coruscant to fight on the front lines, hampering their already-clouded vision and judgment. Bounty hunters like Cad Bane and pirates like Hondo Ohnaka begin profiting from the war, becoming both adversaries and allies to the Jedi depending on who's paying the bill.

As the conflict continues, Padmé remains a force in the Senate, working for unity and fully believing she can trust Palpatine to end the conflict. As for Obi-Wan and Anakin, they fight on the front lines. Anakin even takes on a Jedi apprentice named Ahsoka Tano. Anakin and Ahsoka form a close bond, but when Ahsoka is framed for bombing the Jedi Temple and killing antiwar activist Letta Turmond, she becomes disillusioned and leaves the Jedi Order.

Old enemies return, and new allies rise during the Clone Wars

After years of surviving on the dark side of the Force and sheer hatred, Darth Sidious' former apprentice, Darth Maul, returns amidst the Clone Wars. Maul's brother, Savage Opress, and the Nightsisters of Dathomir restore Maul with mechanical legs. Together, Maul and Savage scheme to seize power over Mandalore and form a criminal enterprise, which puts them in direct conflict with Sidious. Maul slays Satine Kalevala, Mandalore's pacifist ruler (and Obi-Wan's former flame), which leads Satine's sister Bo-Katan Kryze, a lieutenant in the terrorist group Death Watch, to ally herself with Obi-Wan and Ahsoka Tano. Soon after, Sideous confronts his former apprentice and kills Savage, sending Maul back into hiding, for a while.

Meanwhile, thousands of clone troopers manufactured to fight as disposable soldiers develop personalities and friendships in the fires of war. Some, like Captain Rex, form strong friendships with the Jedi. Others, like Cut Lawquane, desert the army. And then there's Clone Force 99 aka the Bad Batch. Designed with genetic mutations that make the Bad Batch stronger, smarter, and deadlier than standard clones, these clones are sent on high-risk missions suited to their unique gifts. During the war, a clone called Fives discovers that all clones are outfitted with inhibitor chips that allow Darth Sidious to override their free will, but he is killed before he can reveal the truth.

During the Clone Wars, a young boy named Din Djarin watches helplessly as his family is killed by Separatist battle droids. Djarin is saved soon after by a Death Watch warrior, who manages to turn the tide of the battle. Djarin is taken in by the Mandalorians as a foundling and grows up in the way of the Children of the Watch, learning to never remove his traditional Mandalorian helmet in the presence of another.

The Sith Lord is revealed

In the final days of the Clone Wars, Darth Maul, now just going by "Maul," has a vision of the rise of the Galactic Empire. Hoping to lure Obi-Wan and Anakin to Mandalore so he can murder them and prevent Sidious' rise, Maul finds himself battling Ahsoka, who allies herself with the clone troopers and Bo-Katan. Maul is captured and Mandalore regains its independence ... for a brief moment.

Meanwhile, Sidious (acting as Chancellor Palpatine) allows himself to be taken prisoner by General Grievous. This kick-starts a major rescue mission. In the following battle over Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Anakin infiltrate Grievous' ship to rescue Palpatine. Inside, they find Dooku. Anakin kills the Separatist leader at Palpatine's behest. Even though he doesn't know it yet, Anakin has basically just made himself Sidious' new apprentice.

With Palpatine rescued, the Republic presses their advantage, and Yoda and Obi-Wan are sent to the front lines to finish the conflict once and for all. Back on Coruscant, Padmé informs Anakin that she's pregnant, and his dreams become troubled by visions of his wife dying in childbirth. Anakin is also drawn into a game of espionage between Palpatine and the Jedi. The chancellor appoints him as his liaison on the Jedi Council, who request Anakin spy on the chancellor. This doesn't sit well with Anakin, who grows closer to Palpatine, especially after the chancellor hints he might have knowledge that can prevent Padmé's death. To push his plan into its final stages, Sidious reveals himself as a Sith Lord to Anakin. Anakin reports Sidious to Mace Windu, who attempts to arrest the Sith Lord. During the ensuing battle, Anakin chooses to save Sidious, allowing the Sith Lord to murder Mace Windu.

The fall of the Jedi

With Mace Windu dead, Anakin pledges himself to Darth Sidious in the hopes of saving Padmé. Sidious dubs him Darth Vader and orders him to slaughter everyone inside the Jedi Temple — even the defenseless younglings. One of the younglings, a human girl named Reva, witnesses Anakin murder her friends and survives by hiding among the corpses. Badly traumatized, Reva chooses to embrace the dark side and spends the next several years hunting down Vader.

Sidious' goes on to initiate Order 66, which require all clone troopers to terminate their Jedi generals on sight and launches the Great Jedi Purge. Only a handful of Jedi, including Obi-Wan and Yoda, are able to fend off their attackers. Ahsoka Tano fights a particularly grueling battle aboard the star destroyer transporting the imprisoned Maul; she's forced to free Maul so he can distract enough clones to give her an advantage. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Palpatine uses his power to declare the Jedi outlaws, and turns the Republic into the Galactic Empire.

While most clone troopers obey Order 66, there are some exceptions. Ahsoka removes the inhibitor chip in Commander Rex's brain, granting him his free will and allowing them both to flee. The Bad Batch's mutations make them largely immune to their chips, although some, like sharpshooter Crosshair, later succumb. The Bad Batch's unwillingness to kill Jedi allows a Padawan named Caleb Dume to escape the Purge. Shortly afterwards, the Bad Batch (minus Crosshair) goes on the run with the clone child Omega, who turns out to be another unmodified (albeit female) clone of Jango Fett.

Meanwhile, Sidious decides to end the war by sending Vader to the planet Mustafar, where the new Sith Lord kills all the remaining Separatist leaders and shuts down the clone army. Obi-Wan and Yoda make their move: The former goes to fight Vader on Mustafar, while the latter confronts Sidious on Coruscant. Unfortunately, Padmé reaches Vader first. When she tries to make him see the error of his ways, he nearly chokes her to death. Sidious battles Yoda to a stalemate, while Obi-Wan gains the high ground and defeats Vader by severing his legs and remaining arm and leaving him to burn to death in a lava flow.

Heroes forced into exile

After Obi-Wan returns from Mustafar with an unconscious Padmé, he and Yoda regroup with Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan. Padmé gives birth to twins Luke and Leia before passing away, leaving the children effectively orphaned. Yoda suggests splitting the twins up and placing them in hiding. Leia is adopted by Organa and his wife Breha, while Luke is sent to Tatooine to live with Anakin's stepbrother, Owen Lars, and his wife Beru.

Both Obi-Wan and Yoda go into exile to plan the eventual resurgence of the Jedi. Obi-Wan moves to Tatooine to keep watch over Luke, while Yoda travels to the swamps of Dagobah to live in solitude and reflect on a defeat he never saw coming. In the absence of the Jedi, Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine consolidates his vast power with Vader (now wearing a black, armored life support suit) by his side. They eliminate political opponents as necessary and turn the Empire into a military dictatorship. Even as Sidious celebrates, however, a small group of leaders — among them Bail Organa and Mon Mothma — are already sowing the seeds of rebellion.

The Inquisitors wage war on surviving Jedi

After Order 66, all surviving Jedi are forced into exile. Other Force users and former Jedi, such as Ahsoka Tano, also go underground. In the case of Ahsoka, she becomes a farmer on a distant world — until Darth Vader's new enforcers arrive. This force, the Inquisitorius aka the Inquisitors, is an order of Force-sensitive assassins (some of which were once Jedi) trained by Vader himself to hunt down and eradicate any surviving members of the Jedi Order. Not to mention any other threats to the Empire's rule. Headed by Vader himself, the Inquisitors report directly to their field leader, known only as the Grand Inquisitor.

After Ahsoka is hunted down by these "Red Blades," she joins what would become the Rebel Alliance. But she isn't the only one. A young Jedi named Cal Kestis (who also fought in the Clone Wars) is also hunted by Vader's enforcers, becoming a mercenary just to survive. Cal travels the galaxy to places like Dathomir, Kashyyyk, and more in his exploits, all while running from the Inquisitorius. Eventually, Cal battles Darth Vader himself and manages to make it out of the scuffle alive and fully intact, but not before discovering a Jedi Holocron that contains the names of many young Force-sensitive children throughout the galaxy. But to keep it out of Vader's hands, Cal destroys it.

A rebel without a cause

Though much of the Star Wars story revolves around the exploits of the Skywalker family, one key player has a decidedly different origin. Han Solo, a Corellian orphan working for a local crime lord, makes a failed attempt to escape the planet with his girlfriend, Qi'ra. This leads him to enlist in the Imperial Navy. After three years of service, during which time he's expelled from the flight academy and made an infantryman, Solo deserts and joins up with an outlaw named Beckett to earn a new life for himself as a pilot and smuggler.

His path through the underworld of the Outer Rim reunites him with Qi'ra, now a trusted lieutenant in the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. They embark on a mission to steal a valuable shipment of coaxium fuel for Crimson Dawn boss Dryden Vos. Along the way, Solo meets the Wookiee Chewbacca, obtains the Millennium Falcon from gambler Lando Calrissian, and evades Imperial ships by making the deadly Kessel Run in twelve parsecs (as long as you round down).

Shortly after stealing the coaxium, Solo discovers rival gang Enfys Nest is made up of freedom fighters trying to start a rebellion against the Empire. Sympathetic to their cause, Solo betrays Dryden Vos and gives the coaxium to these early Rebels. However, Solo is betrayed by both Beckett, whom he's forced to kill, and Qi'ra, who leaves Han for her real boss: Maul. Disillusioned and distrustful, Solo remains a smuggler for the next decade.

The return of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan has become a shadow of his former self. Haunted by memories of the war and Anakin's betrayal, the old Jedi, now calling himself "Ben Kenobi," cuts himself off from the Force and chooses to watch Luke only from afar. However, he's pulled back into action when Reva, an Inquisitor, hires criminals to kidnap 10-year-old Princess Leia Organa from Alderaan, hoping her adoptive father Bail Organa will bring Obi-Wan out of hiding. Her ultimate plan, though, is to use Obi-Wan to lure Darth Vader out so she can kill him.

Although Obi-Wan rescues Leia, his actions bring him before Darth Vader. Taking advantage of Obi-Wan's weakened state, Vader tortures his former friend, but Jedi sympathizers get Obi-Wan to safety. When Leia is recaptured by Reva, Obi-Wan finds hope in his allies and love for Leia and mounts a successful rescue mission. Still pursued by Vader, Obi-Wan chooses to face his former apprentice. With his renewed connection to the Force, Obi-Wan defeats Vader in a decisive battle.

Back on Tatooine, Reva, having failed to kill Darth Vader, decides to track down and kill Luke Skywalker upon learning of the boy's existence in a message left by Bail Organa. After overpowering Luke's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, Reva attempts to murder Luke but can't after recognizing that she's about to commit the same type of atrocity Anakin did during Order 66. Informed by Obi-Wan that she must now choose a new path, Reva lays down her Inquisitor weapon. In the aftermath, Obi-Wan introduces himself to Luke and reconnects with the Force Ghost of his Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. He also gets to say goodbye to Leia and lets her know she can call on his help again ... but they must be careful not to let anyone know about their friendship.

The Hidden Path hides Jedi from the Empire

During Obi-Wan Kenobi's exploits in rescuing Leia Organa, he discovers an underground network that smuggles folks from system to system under the Empire's nose. The Hidden Path, as it's called, is used to help Jedi cross the galaxy without detection. This is how Obi-Wan travels off Tatooine to aid in rescuing Leia, and it reappears in Jedi Knight Cal Kestis' travels as well. For several years, Cal is on the run from the Empire and its Inquisitors. After all this time, Cal aids in the formation of the Hidden Path and finds work alongside resistance fighter Saw Gerrera.

But perhaps the strangest turn of events around this time is the re-emergence of Dagan Gera, a High Republic-era Jedi who was preserved in a batca tank for centuries. Angry with the Jedi for imprisoning him all those years ago, Dagan's discovery that the Jedi Order fell only drives him further to the dark side. Cal and his allies eventually defeat the mad Jedi before he can do any serious damage to the people of the planet Tanalorr, but it ends tragically with the High Republic-era Jedi's death. 

After all the Jedi-on-Jedi violence, including further encounters with Dark Vader, Cal turns his back on the Jedi way of life. He instead opts to settle down with the Nightsister Merrin (herself a Clone Wars survivor) and the young Kata Akuna, following ever-so-slightly in Anakin Skywalker's footsteps.

Rise of the Rebels

Over time, the small band of resistance leaders met by Han Solo and the Jedi sympathizers aided by Obi Wan Kenobi grow more organized, and the Rebel Alliance begins to take root. Initially, the movement is a guerrilla affair divided into multiple cells, who have little knowledge of each other. One cell, which travels aboard a light freighter named Ghost, consists of ex-Padawan Caleb Dume (now calling himself Kanan Jarrus), Hera Syndulla, C1-10P (aka Chopper), Garazeb Orrelios, Jacen Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Ezra Bridger, a young Force-sensitive man who becomes Kanan's apprentice. During a mission, Ezra encounters an elderly Maul in an abandoned Sith Temple. Still a physical threat, Maul initially presents himself as an ally. However, it soon becomes apparent he wants to groom Ezra as his new apprentice. Ultimately, Maul tracks down Obi-Wan, who's still watching over Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. When Maul threatens Luke's life, Obi-Wan kills the former Sith Lord — for good this time.

Ahsoka, now working as a Rebel informant codenamed "Fulcrum," makes contact with the Ghost crew and joins them on multiple missions. Her time with them is cut short, however, when she battles Darth Vader on the planet Malachor. Realizing who Vader really is, Ahsoka swears she won't leave him, and is seemingly killed. Later, Ezra finds himself in the World Between Worlds, a mystical dimension that connects all space and time. Hearing the voices of Jedi from the past, present, and future, Ezra sees Ahsoka just as Vader is about to kill her. He pulls her out of her time and into his. Ezra eventually disappears alongside Grand Admiral Thrawn while freeing his people from the Empire's control.

The Rebel Alliance organizes and attacks

As the Rebellion continues to grow, it becomes increasingly more organized. While the Empire continues to oppress its citizens, with Imperial officers becoming increasingly more ruthless, the Rebel Alliance only gets smarter. While Mon Mothma fights hard to beat the Empire in the Senate, others like Luthen Rael organize the Rebel forces into real, battle-worthy units. It's here that we're introduced to Cassian Andor, a young spy, pilot, and assassin who becomes an important part of the "Star Wars" canon, even if it's just for a brief few years.

Because of his connection to Luthen, a major force within the Rebellion, Andor is nearly killed by both the Empire and the Alliance, who either want to learn his secrets or are hoping to keep them. But Andor escapes and eventually becomes one of the most trusted agents within the Rebel network.

While constructing the Death Star, Rebel-sympathizing scientist Galen Erso laces a key flaw within the Empire's massive, planet-destroying battle station. After careful preparation, Galen (who is later killed by the Empire) gets a message through to his estranged daughter, Jyn Erso, an apprentice of resistance fighter Saw Gerrera. Jyn eventually teams up with Cassian Andor and the Rebellion to steal the Death Star plans, resulting in an all-out battle on the planet Scarif. While Andor, Jyn, and their team succeed, it's at the cost of their lives. But their sacrifice is not in vain, giving the struggling Rebel Alliance hope and a way of potentially destroying the Death Star.

A new hope emerges

Princess Leia Organa, now a key member of the Rebellion, flees with the Death Star plans, pursued by Darth Vader. But when Vader captures her, Leia hides the plans (and a message to her old friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi) with R2-D2, who escapes to Tatooine alongside C-3PO. The plans fall into the hands of Leia's secret twin brother, Luke Skywalker, a farm boy with dreams of being a Rebel pilot. After viewing Leia's message, Luke seeks out Ben Kenobi, who reveals to the boy that he was once a Jedi Knight, though he fails to mention that Darth Vader is Luke's dad.

Determined to get the plans to Alderaan, Luke and Obi-Wan hire smuggler Han Solo (who's in serious debt to gangster Jabba the Hutt) and his partner, Chewbacca, to take them there. Sadly, Alderaan is obliterated by the Death Star before the group can arrive, and Obi-Wan, Luke, Han, and Chewbacca infiltrate the battle station instead. While there, Luke, Han, and Chewie rush off to rescue Leia, whom Vader has captured and trapped within the Death Star's holding cells. This ends up becoming a major operation but proves Luke's worth as a hero.

Of course, it isn't long before Darth Vader senses his former master's presence. A long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan and Vader ensues, a culmination of all the years these two had together — both the good and the bad. Obi-Wan sacrifices himself to allow Luke and his allies to escape, leaving Vader seemingly victorious.

The Death Star is destroyed

Back at the Rebel base on Yavin IV, the Alliance forms a plan to exploit the Death Star's fatal flaw. Hoping to pilot an X-Wing of his own, Luke volunteers to fight while Han Solo escapes with a hefty reward. The assault commences as Grand Moff Tarkin, a major force in Palpatine's Galactic Empire, takes the Death Star to Yavin IV to destroy the Alliance for good. Of course, the Rebels fight back, with Luke at the helm of his own ship (and R2-D2 as his co-pilot).

Unable to resist the action, Vader joins the counterattack in his own advanced TIE fighter. The Dark Lord picks off many of the Rebel fighters before centering on Luke, who feels strangely familiar to him. But just before he can kill his own son, Han and Chewie return to help at the last moment. As the Millennium Falcon shoots Vader's TIE fighter off its flight path, Luke is free to destroy the Death Star. With the help of the Force (and the ghost of Ben Kenobi), Luke saves the Rebel base and delivers the Rebels their biggest victory yet.

The Death Star's destruction proves a major blow to the Empire, which never fully recovers after this defeat. Palpatine had worked for decades, long before the Clone Wars, to construct this battle station as a means to strike fear into all who opposed him, and now it's all gone. Vader too is humiliated, though he learns a terrible truth as a result: His son is alive.

Luke begins his Jedi journey

Three years pass between the destruction of the Death Star and the Rebel Alliance's departure from Hoth. In that time, Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie (plus R2-D2 and C-3PO) become a cohesive unit of freedom fighters for the Alliance, which moves its base to the aforementioned remote ice planet. In that time, Luke slowly learns about his Jedi heritage and continues to dig deeper into the teachings of the Jedi Order. Many times, Han Solo threatens to leave their Rebel team, but he always returns due to his affection for Leia.

After thoroughly searching the galaxy, Darth Vader locates the Rebel base on Hoth and launches a full-scale assault, prompting an evacuation. Han, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO flee in the Falcon, while Luke departs for Dagobah with R2-D2, having received a message from Obi-Wan's ghost telling him to seek Jedi training from a master named Yoda. But upon finding himself on Deobah, Luke is disillusioned by Yoda, who appears to have lost his mind due to years of isolation following the Clone Wars. Nevertheless, the Jedi Master proves himself to Luke time and again and begins to train him.

But just like his father, Luke struggles to control his own emotions, and Yoda worries that he might be led down the wrong path, to the dark side. Thankfully, Luke has just as much of his mother in him, and though he does forsake Yoda's training to go and save his friends, he does so as a hero.

Luke discovers his true heritage

It takes some time before Darth Vader discovers the full truth about Luke Skywalker, but after hiring Boba Fett — now one of the deadliest bounty hunters in the universe — to find out the truth about the Rebel pilot who bested him beside the Death Star, he soon understands that Luke is more like him than he realizes. After being humiliated by Emperor Palpatine upon returning from his failure, Vader plans to conscribe Luke to his side in hopes of overthrowing the Emperor and taking over the galaxy as father and son. Vader recruits a team of bounty hunters to find the Millennium Falcon, a ship he knows his son frequently travels on, and eventually, they do.

After Han, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO find their way to Bespin's Cloud City, Han's old buddy, Lando, receives them with open arms — until he betrays them to Vader. Luke senses this through the Force but is too late to stop Vader from seizing his friends. Leia admits her love for Han just before he's frozen in carbonite. As Fett takes Solo's body to Jabba to deliver on a bounty, Luke faces Vader in an epic lightsaber duel that culminates with Vader removing his son's hand and revealing his true parentage. Devastated, Luke falls into an air shaft and is rescued by Leia, Chewie, and a repentant Lando as they fly off to safety. As a result, Luke receives a robotic hand just like his father, further echoing his potential to turn to the dark side.

Luke and friends rescue Han Solo on Tatooine

A year after the events of "The Empire Strikes Back," Leia and Lando infiltrate Jabba's palace, but Leia is captured after defrosting her boyfriend. Luke sends C-3PO and R2-D2 ahead as "gifts" for Jabba before entering himself. Jabba captures Luke and tries to have him and Han thrown into a Sarlacc pit. But alongside Han, Chewie, and Lando, Luke annihilates Jabba's bodyguards. Leia, forced to toil as Jabba's slave girl, strangles the giant gangster with her own chains.

During the battle, Boba Fett, now employed by Jabba, falls into the Sarlacc pit after a blind Han Solo damages his jetpack. Fett manages to free himself with his flamethrower. Weakened and stripped of his armor by scavenging Jawas, Fett is captured and eventually adopted by a tribe of Tusken Raiders.

Luke briefly returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, only to be told by a dying Yoda that he does not require any further instruction: Confronting Darth Vader will make him a true Jedi. As Yoda becomes one with the Force, he reveals there is another Skywalker. Later, Obi-Wan's ghost informs Luke this other Skywalker is his twin sister, whom Luke immediately deduces is Leia. Although Luke insists he can't kill his own father, Obi-Wan indicates that if he doesn't, the Emperor will win.

The redemption of Anakin Skywalker

The Second Death Star is fitted with a shield generated by a satellite dish on the forest moon of Endor. The Rebels launch a covert attack to destroy this generator and a full-scale fleet assault to destroy the Death Star once the shield is down. Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie lead the Endor team, while Lando, Admiral Ackbar, and Wedge Antilles lead the fleet strike.

The plan nearly goes south when Luke, Han, and Chewie are captured by the native Ewoks, but luckily, Leia and C-3PO get them on their side. Luke, realizing Vader is near, informs Leia of their relationship, then turns himself into Vader. As the battle commences, Vader brings Luke before the Emperor, who attempts to convert him. Luke resists until the Emperor reveals the Death Star is fully operational and capable of destroying the entire Rebel fleet. Hoping to kill the Emperor, Luke summons his lightsaber, leading to a duel with Vader. Tapping into his anger, Luke manages to overpower his father — but as he realizes he's following his dark example, Luke throws his lightsaber aside and proclaims himself a Jedi.

Enraged, the Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning. Pushed to the limit, Vader throws his master into the station's reactor core, apparently killing him. He dies soon after, redeemed. On Endor, Han and Leia destroy the shield generator, and the Rebel fleet destroys the Death Star. During the ensuing celebration, Luke burns his father's body, and watches Anakin's Force ghost join Obi-Wan and Yoda. Elsewhere, Ahsoka resurfaces and reunites with Sabine Wren. They go in search of a still-missing Ezra Bridger.

Aftermath of the Empire

News of Palpatine and Vader's deaths cause celebrations to break out across the galaxy. The Empire's remnants are sent into what ultimately becomes a semi-organized retreat. There are a few battles left to fight in the Civil War, but the Battle of Jakku, which takes place a year after the Battle of Endor, marks the last major conflict. Imperial loyalists are defeated and their military prowess is crippled.

Despite this, remaining Imperial forces manage to do some major damage throughout the galaxy. Acting on posthumous instructions left by Darth Sidious known as "Operation Cinder," Imperial officers lay waste to multiple planets including Candovant, Abednedo, Commenor, and Cardos, which Sidious wanted to punish for failing to prevent his death. On the planet Burnin Konn, sadistic Imperial general Valin Hess orders a resisting city to be wiped out. This action kills thousands of people, including his entire division. One survivor, sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld, goes on to become a hired gun with deep resentments toward the Empire and Hess.

The Great Purge of Mandalore

At the end of the Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore occurred and Maul was captured. This resulted in Bo-Katan being made regent of Mandalore by the Republic. However, she loses this position after the Empire later occupies the planet and establishes an Imperial Academy. Intent on reclaiming her world, Bo-Katan nearly gets her chance when Sabine Wren comes into possession of the Darksaber, which she offers to Bo-Katan. However, since Bo-Katan did not earn this weapon in combat, her claim to it (and thus Mandalore's throne) becomes suspect.

Frustrated by its inability to fully control Mandalore and its people, the Empire launches a campaign against the world that leads to the near-total genocide of the planet's people. Hoping to stop the bloodshed, Bo-Katan relinquishes the Darksaber to Imperial Officer Moff Gideon in exchange for her people's survival. Unsurprisingly, the Empire continues the attack anyway. Later known as the Great Purge of Mandalore or the Night of a Thousand Tears, the Empire's attack decimates Mandalore and scatters surviving Mandalorians across the galaxy without a home. The Empire casts Mandalorian stockpiles of beskar steel into Imperial ingots, thus keeping Mandalorians such as the Children of the Watch from their sacred relics. Even after the destruction of the Second Death Star and the death of Palpatine, remnants of the Empire cling to life. That includes Moff Gideon, who continues to wage war on the Mandalorian people. But his reign doesn't last.

In the messy aftermath of the Empire, a bounty hunter finds a child

Though the Rebel Alliance is working hard to establish a New Republic, no one knows who's truly in charge. Several key players emerge from this lawless turmoil. On the planet Nevarro, grown bounty hunter Din Djarin accepts a mysterious commission in exchange for a huge stockpile of beskar ingots. This job takes him to a desert planet, where he discovers Grogu, an infant of Yoda's species. Djarin bonds with the Child and decides to safeguard him from other bounty hunters and Imperial remnants.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett, having lived among the Tusken Raiders for many years, attempts to help his new family by leading an attack on a spice-running hovertrain that regularly terrorizes his tribe. Unfortunately, this causes his entire tribe to be destroyed by the criminal Pyke Syndicate, who frame a local biker gang for the crime. After taking his revenge on the gang, Fett forms an alliance with fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand and sets out to track down his missing armor.

Said armor has fallen into the possession of Cobb Vanth, the marshal of a small town on Tatooine called Mos Pelgo. Vanth uses the armor to drive the Mining Collective away from his town, but later gives it up to Din Djarin after the Mandalorian helps him kill a krayt dragon that's been menacing the town. Djarin later encounters Boba Fett and allows him to reclaim the armor.

The Mandalorians reshape the galaxy

Realizing he can't protect Grogu indefinitely, Mando attempts to find the child's people. He comes into contact with new allies including Bo-Katan and Ahsoka Tano, who lead them to the planet Tython. There, Grogu reaches out through the Force to another member of his kind. In the process, the hapless little one is kidnapped by Imperial forces led by Moff Gideon. Mando enters into an alliance with Boba Fett and Fennec Shand to rescue Grogu. He also enlists Migs Mayfeld, who helps him infiltrate an Imperial base and download key information. Mayfeld manages to kill Valin Hess in the process.

Despite being aided by Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, former Rebel Cara Dune, and Mandalorian Koska Reeves, Djarin's rescue attempt nearly fails after Moff Gideon unleashes his army of Dark Troopers. At the last instant, Luke Skywalker — alerted by Grogu's distress call — arrives and saves the entire team. Djarin defeats Gideon in battle, winning the Darksaber, which puts him at odds with Bo-Katan. Grogu leaves with Luke, who intends to make him the first student of his new Jedi Academy. After consulting with Ahsoka and realizing Grogu would rather stay with Mando, however, Luke lets him go.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett returns to Tatooine, where he kills Jabba the Hutt's former majordomo Bib Fortuna and takes over his syndicate. Intending to build a new crime family with Fennec Shand, Fett runs into problems with the Pyke Syndicate, who don't like Fett's interference in the drug trade. Fett recruits Mando, Wookiee bounty hunter Krrsantan, a gang of cyborgs, and the people of Cobb Vanth's town to help take down the syndicate. Although the Pykes send Fett's old mentor, the deadly Cad Bane, after him, Fett gains the upper hand and becomes Tatooine's reigning power.

Din Djarin finds redemption on Mandalore

Despite there being a significant amount of time between Din Djarin and Grogu's sad farewell and happy reunion, Djarin took some time before he went on his quest for redemption. Upon handing over Grogu to Luke Skywalker, Djarin removed his helmet for a tearful goodbye, which was in direct opposition to the purely orthodox beliefs and teachings of the Children of the Watch. After confronting the Armorer about his apostasy, Djarin is informed that he must bathe in the Living Waters of Mandalore to fully repent of his transgressions against their order. Allying himself with Bo-Katan, who is initially a bit bitter about losing the Darksaber to "Mando," Djarin redeems himself in the eyes of his clan.

On Mandalore, Bo-Katan sees a Mythosaur, which, following its name, is thought to be a myth. The Armorer, upon Djarin and Bo-Katan's return to the clan, reveals that Bo-Katan — who has reclaimed the Darksaber after rescuing Djarin earlier — is the only one who can reunite all factions of Mandalorians. Of course, to do that, Moff Gideon must be defeated. Though Djarin and his team managed to beat him before, the Imperial warlord has escaped and plans to use Mandalore as a base for his Imperial remnant, which he hopes to use against the New Republic. Djarin, Bo-Katan, and Grogu defeat Gideon, but at the cost of the Darksaber. Nevertheless, Bo-Katan and the Armorer restart the Great Forge of Mandalore and begin to rebuild.

Ezra Bridger's friends search for him, and Thrawn returns

While Din Djarin and Grogu (now adopted by Djarin as Din Grogu) head off to live a more peaceful life, Ahsoka Tano continues her search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, whom she continues to hear whispers about. It turns out, that since his battle with Ezra Bridger that resulted in them both being hurtled across the galaxy, Thrawn has been trapped on the world of Peridea. After some encouragement from General Hera Syndulla, Ahsoka reunites with her former padawan Sabine Wren, and the two resume their training while protecting a map that might lead Imperials to Thrawn's location.

But Sabine, hoping to rescue Ezra, hands the map over to the enemy, who uses it to locate Thrawn. Ahsoka is nearly killed in the battle, where she reawakens in the World Between Worlds, where she confronts her former master, Anakin Skywalker, and her apparent guilt over his turn into Darth Vader. This allows Ahsoka to return to the land of the living.

She chases after Sabine, who after some troubles of her own has finally reunited with Ezra. As Thrawn amasses his forces in preparation to return to the galaxy and overthrow the New Republic, Ahsoka, Ezra, and Sabine plan to defeat him. Sadly, things don't go as planned, and though Ezra manages to escape with Thrawn's forces (and reunite with Hera upon his return), Ahsoka and Sabine are left stranded on Peridea — though Anakin's ghost watches over them.

Peace fades as the First Order rises

A significant amount of time passes in the "Star Wars" universe as Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Order continues to build. With a new Jedi Temple and new students under his tutelage, Luke continues to grow as a Jedi Master, hoping to use the Order as a peacekeeping force for the New Republic. Other major Rebel Alliance figures, such as Leia Organa and Mon Mothma, continue to shape the New Republic into something better. Leia and Han Solo have a son of their own during this time, whom they name Ben after old Ben Kenobi, and Luke later takes on his nephew as his most promising padawan.

As the New Republic rose to prominence the Empire's remnants retreat to the Outer Rim as part of a contingency plan developed by Palpatine. There, they fall under the command of a mysterious Force user who goes only by Snoke. Turns out, Snoke is nothing more than a deformed Palpatine strandcast with a penchant for the dark side and key knowledge of both the Empire and the Skywalker bloodline. The ashes of the Empire eventually gave birth to the fearsome First Order in a period of intergalactic tension known as the Cold War.

Unfortunately, Snoke begins to influence Ben's personality, bringing out his darker tendencies. Seeing the darkness in him, Luke nearly kills his nephew, who then turns on the Jedi, converting some students and slaughtering others. Heartbroken, Luke goes into self-imposed exile. Meanwhile, Leia's political career is destroyed when opponents discover her connection to Darth Vader and turn public opinion against her. Sensing the threat of Snoke and the First Order, Leia becomes a general and forms an underground movement separate from the New Republic, known as the Resistance.

The New Resistance grows

Many years later, the young pilot Kazuda "Kaz" Xiono, son of the New Republic's Senator Hamato Xiono, is recruited into General Organa's Resistance by none other than Commander Poe Dameron, himself a plucky, star-studded pilot. Dameron puts Kaz on the Colossus, a base thought to be an ocean-based refueling station but is really a starship, with a secret spy mission to discover who might be working for the ever-growing First Order. While not a major factor in the overall Cold War conflict, Kaz and his friends Jarek Yeager, Tam Ryvora, Neeku, and the droid R1-J5 aka "Bucket" all help Poe Dameron on his mission and play a part in the events leading up to the Hosnian Cataclysm at the hands of Snoke's Starkiller Base (but we'll get to that later).

As the battles between the Resistance and the First Order become more frequent, Kaz's secret as a Resistance spy becomes harder to keep, and it eventually puts him at odds with Tam, who decides to join the First Order instead. Getting the Colossus airborne, Kaz and his friends (sans Tam) make their way off the planet Castilon before a First Order Star Destroyer can stop them, hoping to meet up with General Organa's Resistance on D'Qar. But as they jump to hyperspace without the proper coordinates, they soon discover that they have no idea where they're headed.

The Resistance scrambles to find Luke Skywalker

Snoke ultimately brings the First Order out of the shadows three decades after the Empire's defeat, with the goal of taking over the galaxy and exterminating Luke Skywalker. With the help of his military commander, General Armitage Hux, Snoke develops a massive system-killing weapon known as Starkiller Base. Meanwhile, he attempts to find Luke Skywalker through Ben Solo, now a powerful dark side warrior known as Kylo Ren.

Luke's location is secreted away on a star map fragment hidden in a droid named BB-8. This droid is found by a Jakku scavenger named Rey, who teams up with First Order deserter Finn to return BB-8 to his base. Pursued by the First Order, Rey and Finn steal the long-dormant Millennium Falcon, only to run into Han Solo and Chewbacca.

With Han and Chewie's help, Rey and Finn are able to return Luke's map to Leia and the Resistance — but not before Starkiller Base is activated. It wipes out the capital of the New Republic and sends the galaxy into a wave of chaos. Meanwhile, Rey comes across Anakin Skywalker's original lightsaber, which Kylo Ren covets. Curious about this Force-sensitive girl, Kylo abducts Rey, hoping to uncover Luke's hidden location.

The next hope emerges

With little time to mourn the Republic, General Leia Organa, Han Solo, Poe Dameron, Finn, and the Resistance launch a desperate attack to rescue Rey and destroy Starkiller Base. While rigging the base with explosives, Han confronts his son. But Kylo, hoping to prove he's truly turned to the dark side, murders his dad in cold blood.

Horrified, Rey takes up Anakin's lightsaber and duels Kylo Ren using the Force gifts she's discovered while in First Order captivity. She defeats him but doesn't kill him. Hux and Kylo evacuate the base to return to Snoke, while Chewbacca rescues Rey and an injured Finn. Poe and his team manage to critically damage Starkiller Base, which explodes.

After the battle, R2-D2 — who's been powered down since Luke disappeared — reveals he can complete the partial map BB-8 carries. Using this information, Rey journeys with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a remote island on the planet Ahch-To. There, she asks Luke for help in destroying the First Order and to teach her the ways of the Force.

Luke Skywalker becomes a reluctant master

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base, the First Order attacks the Resistance base on D'Qar, forcing them to evacuate. Poe Dameron leads a massive attack on the First Order fleet against General Leia Organa's wishes, and while the Resistance does escape, they lose many ships and pilots in the process.

What's worse, the First Order can track the Resistance through hyperspace. It's only a matter of time before their fleet destroys the Resistance fighters. Hoping to disable the First Order's tracking device, Finn and fellow Resistance fighter Rose journey to lavish casino town Canto Bight, where they hope to find a master codebreaker capable of sabotaging the First Order. Instead, they team up with rogue thief DJ, who ends up selling them out.

Meanwhile, Rey discovers Luke has become a shell of his former self who believes the Jedis' hubris has doomed the galaxy to darkness. As she tries to convince Luke to help the Resistance, Rey begins experiencing Force-connected conversations with Kylo Ren that are secretly engineered by Snoke. Luke reveals he briefly considered killing a young Ben Solo to prevent his fall to the dark side, which only made it easier for Snoke to convert him. Believing Ben is still capable of redemption, Rey leaves the island. Yoda's Force ghost uses Force lightning to burn down the planet's Jedi library, but not before Rey manages to smuggle out some of the ancient texts.

Luke Skywalker comes out of hiding to duel Kylo Ren

Amid many struggles, Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo stage a last-ditch effort to preserve the Resistance, which gives the remaining fighters a way to reach an old Rebel base on the planet Crait. Unfortunately, DJ reveals this plan to the First Order. They begin picking off the evacuation transports.

On Snoke's flagship, Rey allows herself to be captured so she can convert Kylo. Initially, this seems to work: Kylo kills Snoke and helps Rey fight off his guards. However, Kylo soon reveals his plans to become Supreme Leader and rule the galaxy with Rey by his side. Rey engages him in battle and destroys Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber.

Unwilling to let the Resistance die, Vice Admiral Holdo flies the Resistance flagship into the First Order's fleet, crippling their starships and enabling Finn, Rose, and Rey to escape. The Resistance then mounts a final defense on Crait as now-Supreme Leader Kylo Ren leads a ground assault. The Resistance is outmatched — but then Luke Skywalker arrives to confront Kylo Ren himself.

Luke engages Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel, which allows the Resistance to flee. Once they're safe, Luke reveals he's actually a Force projection of the real Luke Skywalker, who is still back on Ahch-To. Unfortunately, this proves to be too much for the old Jedi. While the Resistance lives to fight on, Luke passes away, becoming one with the Force after years of closing himself off from it.

The Resistance continues

As Kaz Xiono and his friends aboard the Colossus continue to evade the First Order, they miss a lot of the action happening across the galaxy without them. No, they don't factor into the events between Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren at Crait, nor do they aid Rey and her friends in destroying the Starkiller Base, but they do manage to be a serious thorn in the gold-plated Commander Pyre's side. When they do finally make it to D'Qar, Kaz and his crew are shocked to discover that the Resistance's base there has been annihilated, which leaves them pretty aimless for a while.

Eventually, the First Order catches up with the Colossus, though things don't go as well for them as they hope. For starters, Tam Ryvora, who has become disillusioned with the pseudo-Empire, defects and rejoins her friends. Though Kaz, Tam, and Jarek Yeager are captured, the people aboard the Colossus come through for their friends and defeat the First Order's Star Destroyer, much to Supreme Leader Kylo Ren's frustrations. This is the last we see of the Colossus crew, and in their final moments (thus far) they enjoy a cozy reunion in Aunt Z's Tavern. Though they aren't physically seen again, they manage to be a part of the final battle in the year-long First Order-Resistance War,which saw the final end of Emperor Palpatine.

The dead speak as Sidious returns

With Luke Skywalker gone, Rey trains with Leia. She also teaches herself Jedi lore using the texts she took from Ahch-To. Unfortunately, this keeps her out of many Resistance missions. As the Resistance is now drastically low on fighters, this is a major problem. They do gain one ally in the form of a secret First Order spy, however, later revealed to be Hux. He confirms the rumors gripping the galaxy: Emperor Palpatine has returned. This infuriates Kylo Ren, who hunts Palpatine down on the hidden Sith world of Exegol. 

The Supreme Leader soon finds the old Emperor, who's being kept alive by a complex life support system. Palpatine, it turns out, has been behind the First Order all along. He created Snoke using cloning technology and has been influencing Kylo Ren his entire life. The Sith Lord makes his secret protégé an offer: Kylo can rule the galaxy as a new Emperor with the help of a long-hidden fleet of planet-killing ships if he agrees to kill Rey.

Meanwhile, the Resistance goes in search of a Sith Wayfinder, which can point the way to Palpatine. This journey leads them across several planets, where they fight everyone from Kylo Ren to First Order forces to the Knights of Ren. Along the way, Rey grows increasingly wary of her place in the world. This anxiety only increases when she discovers she has Sith abilities, including the power to project Force lightning.

Rey travels to Exegol to confront Palpatine once and for all

Rey's anxieties regarding her identity come to a peak when Kylo Ren reveals her true heritage: She's Palpatine's granddaughter and heir to his power. After learning the truth, Rey nearly kills Kylo — but after Leia intervenes to save her son with her dying breath, she heals him. Rey considers going into exile but is convinced to return to the fight by the spirit of Luke Skywalker. Using Kylo's Wayfinder, Rey journeys to Exegol to confront Palpatine. 

There, the revived Emperor reveals his true plan: To possess her body and become the new Empress and leader of the Sith. Rey refuses and fights Palpatine with the help of a redeemed Kylo Ren, only for Palpatine to drain their life energies and bring himself back to full power. When all seems lost, Rey draws on all the Jedi who came before her, allowing her to counter Palpatine. Outside the Emperor's fortress, a Resistance fleet composed of thousands of ships fights to save the galaxy from the Final Order fleet. In the end, both the Emperor and the fleet are defeated, and the galaxy is saved.

In the aftermath of the battle, Rey forges her own lightsaber and buries those of her teachers in the Tatooine desert. Finally, she reveals she has taken a new name: Rey Skywalker. The Skywalker line will live on through her.