With each new major entry in Star Wars lore, companion materials are released which delve even deeper into a galaxy far, far away. They can contain an intimidating amount of information, which is why you need someone to guide you through it. Someone who loves lore, and who loves putting together puzzle pieces left behind by the Lucasfilm Story Group. Someone like me.
Now that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters, it’s time to take a look under the hood of the film’s visual dictionary. There’s so much to go over, and I attempted to just hit the highlights. But when everything is a highlight, it can be hard to rein me in. (I’m not sorry.) Read on to learn about the origins of Starkiller Base, Unkar Plutt’s motivations, the cultists of Mustafar, finally get the answer to to a long-held question about the naming conventions of the Endor System, and more.
The Origin Of Starkiller Base Confirmed
- After years of speculation, it is now confirmed that Starkiller Base began life as the Jedi holy site of Ilum. A diagram shows how the First Order, with supply lines from the Sith Eternal, took advantage of millennia of excavations to dig into the core of the world Jedi had used to find their kyber crystals as the final stage in their Padawan training. The core itself? A heart of kyber. It’s basically a giant lightsaber, bleeding in pain as the Sith force it to bend to their will.
- Starkiller Base was purposefully created as a weapon of terror. Using dark matter (called quintessence energy), it punches a hole through hyperspace. Upon reentering real space, the weapon was designed to follow the curvature of the planetary wells in a system, forking to destroy any heavy body residing nearby. This spectacular display was meant to be witnessed by those across the galaxy as a deterrent from fighting back against the First Order.
- The remnants of Starkiller Base/Ilum have formed into a beautiful micro-star hyperspatial singularity. The anomaly was named the “Solo” in honor of Han.
The Endor System Explained, Finally
- For decades, Star Wars fans have tried to parse if Endor was the name of the moon the Ewoks lived on or the name of the planet the moon orbited. Now we know: a two-page spread shows that Endor itself is an uninhabited gas giant surround by nine moons. They are named Korkar, Vix, Hual Maka, Sharis, Alprezar, Fentakka, Gouuls, Kef Bir, and the still-unnamed Forest Moon.
- Kef Bir, the Ocean Moon, is the only other moon in orbit around Endor that can support life.
- The Ewok people do not call their home the Endor system. The gas giant, to them, has always been called Tana. Before the fall of the New Republic, an effort was underway to rename Endor to Tana.
- The gas giant of Endor/Tana is made up mostly of reflective hydrogen, giving it enough the ability to reflect sunlight to its satellites and effectively making it a mini-sun.
- A tiny box of text explains how the entire system wasn’t wiped out in the second Death Star explosion. The Modell sector (the official name of the large section of space in which Endor/Tana is located) is on the weird western side of the galaxy. Emperor Palpatine chose that location for the construction of the Death Star II for a reason. Sometimes spacers would jump to hyperspace in completely different areas of the galaxy and get spit out in the Endor system instead of their intended location. Hyperspace anomalies abound, and most of the Death Star II appears to have disappeared into said anomalies, with its final destination still undiscovered.
Snoke’s Deformed Appearance Was Engineered
- Palpatine purposefully created Snoke to be impossible to identify, species-wise. The twisted visage and scarred facial features – along with Supreme Leader’s reticence to meet in person with his underlings – helped hide the fact that Snoke was not an organic being from the Unknown Regions (where any number of previously un-contacted civilizations may live), but instead a puppet designed to push Kylo Ren further to the Dark Side.
Unkar Plutt’s Motivations
- We know now that Rey’s parents (or someone) left her with Unkar Plutt on Jakku to hide her from Palpatine. My current theory is that the Sith assassin Ochi did not, in fact, murder Rey’s one (or both) parents with the dagger, but that he was himself killed by said parents on Pasana. Rey recalls Ochi’s ship leaving her on Jakku, and there’s no reason the assassin in the pay of the Emperor would do such a thing, and her vision when touching the dagger is jumbled. Unless the ship originally belonged to Rey’s parents? But I digress. Unkar Plutt chose to at least half-ass raise Rey because he saw the profit in a tiny humanoid that could squeeze into Star Destroyer wreckage.
Ajan Kloss: Jedi-Training Planet
- The jungle world of Ajan Kloss that the Resistance set up its base on was discovered by Alderaanian scouts long before the Galactic War that destroyed General Leia’s homeworld. For reasons yet unknown, Alderaan was looking for verdant worlds and hiding their findings from the Senate. As a member of Alderaanian royalty, Leia had access to this database of secret worlds. Known worlds on that list now include Ajan Kloss, Yavin 4, Dantooine, D’Qar, and Crait.
- In the years after the Battle of Endor, Leia took Luke to Ajan Kloss to begin her training as a Jedi Knight. It was there, we assume, that she learned the ways of the Force, including creating her own lightsaber.
- Much like Yavin 4 and D’Qar, Ajan Kloss is covered in the remnants of a long-forgotten civilization. This seems important.
The Ancient Texts
- Before fleeing Ahch-To in The Last Jedi, Rey secreted away eight ancient Jedi Scriptures. The physical books are some of the earliest and most comprehensive collection of Jedi knowledge in the galaxy. Rey uses the knowledge within to learn skills not seen by Jedi in thousands of years. The named books are the Rammahgon, the Aionomica, and the Aionomicum II. Those are some Lovecraftian-sounding names, not gonna lie.
- The Rammahgon is bound in “clay” pressed from red interstellar gasses from the Unknown Regions. The two volumes of the Aionomica are bound in organo-silicon hide of unknown origin. The books have survived over 5,000 years due to the pages being made of Uneti tree pulp. Uneti trees pop up rarely in the lore: there’s the one on Ahch-To that houses the Jedi Temple, the one in the center of the Jedi Temple courtyard on Coruscant, and the staff of Chirrut Imwe, Guardian of the Whills, was made from Uneti wood. Clearly, the trees have Force properties.
- The books contain the Jedi precepts (poems) which speak of conflicting origins of the galaxy and Jedi Order. But the recurring thread is of primeval gods battling and the idea that the Force not only binds the galaxy but contains it. Those who master it are said to be able to traverse the perimeter of reality via “the Netherworld of Unbeing” or the “World Between Worlds.”
- The books contain diagrams and drawing of what look to be the phases of a moon. However, it is labeled the “Phases of Mortis” and is part of something called the Unsolved Thorpe Theorum, “a hyperspace plotting conundrum which was posed to Jedi Padawan learners” that was designed by a Jedi Master named Thorpe.
- There’s a throwaway line mentioning Tython, the ancient Jedi homeworld.
- With the help of R2-D2, Threepio, and historian Beaumont Kin (Dominic Monaghan), Rey is able to roughly translate some of the Sacred Texts, though nearly all the nuance is lost. However, enough is usable for Rey to heal the kyber crystal and repair Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber. It also shows Rey how to manipulate the Force, transferring her life essence to heal others in an arcane, forgotten Jedi power.
- Hidden within the text of The Rammahgon is the history of the ancient Wayfinders that safely lead to Exegol. Pre-dating nav computers, ancient Sith and Jedi reverse-engineered the biology of species with natural hyperspace-traveling, such as the space whales (Purrgil) from Star Wars Rebels.
- The Sith Wayfinder is labeled extensively, pointing out rare materials used in its construction such as Supraluminite ore and Cybotaro glass. But the real kicker is the Kathol resin frame that holds the device together. Lucasfilm just casually sliding the Kathol back in canon – an ancient civilization also known as the C’thol, who were allegedly descended directly from the Old Ones and were known for their organic technology hybrids.
- This tidbit is added to with a tiny box in the corner of the Wayfinder page: “Some alien species, like the Gree and Aing-Tii, exhibit neural activity that very much resembles the motion and reaction of the plasma within Wayfinders.” Both of those species featured heavily in Legends lore about the Celestials, and may even have been directly created by interdimensional beings.
- Another throwaway line shows a picture of Jedi Wayfinder and states it was once housed in a museum on Alderaan. The inert Wayfinder was rumored to have originally pointed the way to Alderaan, though where it came from and who was using it remains a mystery.
- The page also casually mentions Rakata Prime, so you know, Legends lore is coming with a vengeance eventually.
The Cultists Of Mustafar
- Those people Kylo Ren was cutting down at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker were not connected to either the First Order or the Resistance. Instead, they were members of a cult dedicated to the worship of the legend of Darth Vader. Specifically, Kylo Ren was slaughtering the Alazmec of Winsit. Members of the sect dedicated their lives to preserving the Corvax Fen, the single piece of the planet Mustafar not covered in volcanic magma.
- According to cultist legend, the Corvax Fen bog is sustained by the tears of Lady Corvax, who first appeared in the Darth Vader comics. An ancient noble of Mustafar, Lady Corvax became inconsolable at the death of her husband. Using the Bright Star (a crystal that is most likely kyber), she attempted to bring him back to the land of the living. Instead, the Bright Star released waves of deadly energy which converted the lush planet of Mustafar into the current hellscape.
- For over a thousand years, the defeated remnants of Sith civilization hid on Exegol, plotting their vengeance. Known as the Sith Eternal, the ancient civilization’s numbers are unknown.
- The planet’s surface is so dry that winds cause dust particles to rub together until static is discharged in the form of enormous electrical displays.
- Exegol’s surface is littered with the corpses of mummified “ancient space-faring megafauna.” Space whales. They’re talking about space whales.
- The Sith Eternal have been digging deep into their planet’s core, creating huge fissures reminiscent of the ones found on Ilum. Allegedly they are digging towards “transportative vengeance,” leading me to believe that the inverted pyramid Palpatine ruled from was drawing power from another kyber planetary core.
Who Are The Knights Of Ren?
- The Knights of Ren don’t have enough time to be fleshed out in the film, but there was still a deep history written for them. The group comes from the Unknown Regions, and their name is legend. Locals have known the myths about the marauding Knights of Ren since time immemorial, but they had not been seen in millennia until the rise of the First Order when they were given to Kylo Ren as a gift from Supreme Leader Snoke. Whether or not the current Knights of Ren are part of the original order or simply using their name to sow fear is unknown.
- The Knights each get a name. There’s Vicrul, Cardo, Ushar, Trudgen, Kuruk, and Ap’lek. Each has their own identity, style, and fighting preferences. Each is described using male pronouns, but that could just be a cultural default, as there is no way of knowing the sex, species, or origin of any of the sentients under the masks.
- It is confirmed the Knights are Force-sensitive, but none rise to the level of a Jedi or a Sith. Before the fall of the Empire, they would have made excellent Imperial Inquisitors.
The Official Canonical Return of Revan
- Hiding near the back of the book, in the section about the Sith Eternal, is a tiny box of text. It talks about the Sith Eternal legions – the red Stormtroopers. Each legion of Sith Trooper ground forces is named after a famous Sith Lord. The name of the 3rd Legion: Revan.
- Other former Legends Sith are also immortalized as Sith Legions. The tiny box of text casually mentions the 5th Legion (Andeddu), the 26th Legion (Tenebrous), and the 39th Legion (Phobos). But by far, putting Revan back into the narrative, even as just a plot hook for later, is a big deal!
The Children of The First Order
- Kidnapping all the human children they could get their hands on, the First Order is built on the back of enslaved and brainwashed kids. Nearly every young face in the First Order began life somewhere else, as someone else, only to be stripped of their identities. While conscripted Stormtroopers are given numerical designations, those promoted to officer or support personnel are rewarded with true names. Those who volunteer are also allowed to retain their given identities.
- Jannah, formerly TZ-1719, rose to a leadership role in the wake of the chaos of the Company 77 mutiny. An entire platoon of First Order troopers from varying ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds laid down their weapons during the Battle of Ansett Island in rebuke of orders to kill civilians.
- Company 77 currently numbers around 40 members, those most loyal to Jannah’s leadership and vision. Others were lost in battle or simply went their own way. Those that remain on Kef Bir have formed strong bonds with the Orbaks they ride. To this lore nerd, it sounds very similar to the Force-bond the Tusken Raiders have with their Banthas.
- Orbaks are not native to Kef Bir and are genetically related to Fathiers (space horses from The Last Jedi). Much like their sister-species, no one seems to know where these Force-sensitive pack animals come from.
- The most loyal First Order recruits were sent to Exegol to endure even more rigorous training to become the terrifying Sith Troopers. Their description says they are more robotic and emotionless than their peers due to the intensity of the regime they undergo, which was ramped up from the Kamino-based system used to make Clonetroopers loyal.
Odds & Ends
- Maz Kanata wears a bracelet made of Uphradean volcanic ore, reintroducing the agrarian planet that kept Corsuscant fed back into the canon.
- The red material used to repair Kylo Ren’s mask is called Sarrassian iron ore and requires a Sith alchemist to properly apply. It is also the return of the mysterious Legends substance coveted by the Sith.
- The Droid Revolution is nigh. Two separate droids within the Visual Dictionary serve no master. There is the Resistance Astromech droid R6-LE5, a free droid who volunteers her services to General Leia. There’s also AL1-L3, who was an administrative droid in the Kessel mines during the uprising started by L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Scrapped for disobedience in the aftermath, AL1 nonetheless survived, rebuilding herself from the ground up based on a single kernel of individuality in the back of her processors. She now operates her own ship as a cargo hauler, working exclusively with other droids. Viva la revolution!
- The tread-based First Order vehicles seen on Pasaana (called the Treadspeeder) were created in response to the discovery of new jamming technology. The troopers use them for the same reason the Resistance ride Orbaks into battle: to stop the enemy from short-circuiting their ride. As to how Rey caused the Treadspeeder to explode? The fuel tank is located under the pilot’s seat. She merely hit it dead on.
- Lando Calrissian’s blasters are customized former Imperial office weapons. Plated in brushed Naboo chromian and accented with Tibrin mother-of-pearl handles, they are truly gorgeous weapons.
- Rose Tico is credited with creating a new bomb-delivery system that can be attached to Y-wing and B-wing fighters instead of relying on slow and ponderous bombing ships. She named the system “the Paiger” after her late sister, Paige Tico.
- Aftab Ackbar, son of General Gial Ackbar, joined the Resistance as a Y-wing pilot in the wake of his father’s death.
- Lando Calrissian ended up on Pasaana while helping Luke Skywalker track down the assassin Ochi. Due to the loss of his infant daughter – a cut line from the film has Lando saying the First Order actively sought out the children of the Rebel Leadership for kidnap and recruitment – Lando opted to stay on Pasaana in self-imposed exile after their failure to find Ochi.
- Speaking of Ochi, his skull is very distinct. He appears to be a member of the Tognath species. You may remember the species as the twins that deliver Bodhi Rook to Saw Gerrara in Rogue One.
- The planet of Kijimi, where Poe reunites with Zorii Bliss, began life as a Force-neutral temple. The city itself is ancient beyond measure, with the long-vanished monks making pilgrimages to the planet in the name of Dai Bendu. The Bendu was first introduced in Star Wars Rebels as an ancient entity with powers on par with a god. Occupying the center of the Force, the Bendu refused to take part in the eternal struggle between the Light and the Dark, as both are part of the same whole.
- Babu Frik was very old, 85-standard-years. His greying visage is due to age, not merely a quirk of his species. Babu Frik is sympathetic to the droids he tinkers with, calling them “tools that can be friends.” While he will perform whatever procedure on a droid he is paid to do, Babu Frik goes out of his way to calm his droid patients and make the process a painless one.
- D-0 is a hobby droid, created from scrapped parts by an unknown person. He was designed with a very specific function: the ability to house data in cold storage separate from the rest of his memory banks.
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