With Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens finally making its way to our screens - with less than eight months to go now! - it's rapidly becoming time to take a closer look at just what's gone on between the end of Return of the Jedi, and the beginning of the adventures we're soon set to see.
Now, with the Star Wars Expanded Universe largely eradicated from canon, there's not actually a whole lot we can know for sure - except, of course, for what the original trilogy itself can tell us.
And, as it turns out, there's one big, dark secret lurking at the center of all three original movies:
All of Our Favorite Star Wars Characters Have Been Horribly Traumatized
And, crucially, that trauma doesn't seem to have gone anywhere in the thirty-five or so years following the events of Return of the Jedi.
Take young master Skywalker, for instance...
Luke Saw His Surrogate Parents Burned to Death
Which is, quite honestly, bad enough all on its own - except, of course, that he also blamed himself for their deaths. At which point:
He Was Immediately Taken Away From Everything He'd Ever Known
And swiftly and ineffectively trained in a supernatural martial art by a man he'd always thought of as being crazy.
His Mentor Was Promptly Murdered in Front of Him
By a man who he'd been told had already killed his father, no less.
Before, by way of revenge:
He Then Kills Tens of Thousands of People
After all, we know full well that the Death Star was heavily populated...
And it's at this point that things get really bad...
Luke Then Watches Hundreds of His Friends Get Killed
And is then forced to abandon them, without even the chance to bury or mourn them.
Before Being Badly Treated on a Swamp Planet
Receiving yet another dose of brief and insufficient training as he did so.
He Then Completely Failed to Save His Friends
Unless that whole 'almost letting Han die' thing was part of his plan.
Before Having His Hand Cut Off By His Nemesis...
Which wasn't even the worst thing that happened to him that minute...
Who Turns Out To Be His Father
Thus turning his whole world upside down - even before he falls out of a space station.
Things then go a little better for Luke, what with him being able to save Han and all, until...
He's Forced to Fight His Father to the Death
Which goes about as well as you'd imagine...
Before Being Tortured While His Father Watched
And, then, even after Darth Vader redeemed himself...
Luke Had to Watch His Father Die...
After approximately two minutes of parental bonding/closure.
...And Then Stand Around While His Friends (and the Entire Galaxy) Celebrated His Death
The Luke We're About to See in Episode VII?
If he's turned away from the light side of the force, or isolated himself from the rest of the galaxy, then THAT IS NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT SURPRISING. After all, he just went through pretty much the most traumatic couple of years he could ever have imagined...and was then expected to resurrect a long-since massacred order of space knights, with barely any training.
Not that he was alone in the horror, however...
Princess Leia Just Watched Her Home Planet Blow Up
In front of her very eyes, to make a point. To her.
At Which Point She Was Brutally Tortured...
Which, because it wasn't on HBO, we didn't actually see.
...By A Man Who Turned Out to Be Her Father
Though she didn't find that out until much later...after he'd already died.
All the While Falling in Love with a Smuggler...Who is Constantly Almost Dying
Because Han's not actually all that good at the whole 'hero-ing' thing.
Before Having to Deal With the Fact That She Totally Made Out With Her Brother
So, when we see her struggling to keep it together in Episode VII, having spent three and a half decades trying to forge a fractious collection of rebels into a functioning government, then maybe we should give her a break. After all, literally everyone she grew up with is dead.
Meanwhile, her smuggler beau doesn't exactly get off scot-free...
Han is Repeatedly Tortured, Kidnapped and Almost Killed
Because Boba Fett is an ass-hole, is why.
And Spends Most of the Movies Convinced That His One True Love is Into Her Brother
Which, in fairness, it does kinda seem like she is.
Before, It Seems, Losing His Only Home
After all, that glorious, tear-inducing line in the most recent trailer? The one about being home?
That sure does imply that he and Chewie were kept away from the only place Han ever truly felt was home for a long, long time.
Lando Lost the Cloud City He Won in a Bet...
Or, at least, he temporarily did.
...And Was Then...Immediately Made a General...
So...actually, wait a minute...Lando was totally fine.
Which is probably why he apparently isn't in Episode VII - because just take a look at the brief glimpses of Luke and Han we get in the most recent trailer...
...those are some seriously messed up people.
And that's before we get to the rumors that one of Han and Leia's (or possibly Luke's) kids is going to betray them all...
So, the main takeaway from all of this? If all of our heroes don't have severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by the time Episode VII rolls along, it's a sign that their galaxy far, far away has some seriously good therapists...