Before [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) was released, Disney and Marvel published a few canon comics to tie in to the new movie. One of these was Shattered Empire, a story which follows Poe Dameron's mother Shara Bey as she works with the heroes of the original trilogy. It's pretty awesome, both establishing Shara Bey as a hero in her own right, and giving hints about the Star Wars 7 plot which are now even more intriguing...
Spoiler warning – this article reveals plot points from The Force Awakens, as well as some of the Shattered Empire story!
So let's get to it. I definitely recommend you read the Shattered Empire comic, as it's fantastic, so I'll try not to spoil too much. But here's the basics.
Shara Bey: Rebel Hero
When preparing for the role of Poe Dameron, confessed Star Wars fan Oscar Isaac thought long and hard about what it would be like to grow up in the Rebellion/Resistance.
He liked the idea of Poe being born before the Battle of Endor, and living on the Rebel base Yavin IV. This is partly because the base was filmed in the Guatemalan temple of Tik'al. As Oscar Isaac is Guatemalan, he felt a strong connection with Yavin as a child, and his character preparation inspired the comic Shattered Empire.
"He grew up with those stories, he knows about Luke and Han. And his family comes from a long line of Rebel fighters as well. So he's committed, totally, to the Resistance."
As the visual dictionary confirms, Poe Dameron grew up to idolize General Leia and the other heroes of the Rebellion, thanks in large part to the stories his parents told him. Shara Bey and Kes Dameron were popular and hardworking X-Wing pilots, dedicated to fighting the Empire even after the Battle of Endor.
Shattered Empire reveals is that the war was NOT over: the destruction of the second Death Star may have been a triumphant victory for the Rebellion, but the Empire kept fighting until the bitter end. This really helps to explain the rise of The First Order in The Force Awakens, as they re-formed from the remains of the Empire.
Shara Bey fought long and hard to stop the Empire from rising again. She even teamed up with Leia and the new Queen of Naboo to protect the planet from being annihilated!
But it's Shara Bey's missions with Luke Skywalker that provide us with vital clues to the plot of The Force Awakens.
How Shara Met Luke
Shara Bey first met Luke Skywalker when escorting him from the second Death Star, just as it was destroyed. Later on she teamed up with him on a daring mission to the Imperial Base Vetine, to take back a powerful Jedi relic stolen by the Emperor.
"These are all that remain of the tree that grew at the heart of the Jedi temple on Coruscant. The Force is with them."
Unfortunately, Shattered Empire doesn't reveal what significance these Force sensitive trees have, or why Luke Skywalker would risk everything to steal them back from the Empire. At the end of the comic, Luke gives Shara Bey one of the trees as a gift, and she plants it on her new home on Yavin IV. It's no wonder Poe Dameron believes in the Force, when he grew up with a powerful Force tree in his backyard!
What Does This Tells Us About The New Jedi Order?
Clearly, Luke Skywalker was already planning to train new Jedi even as the war with the Empire ended. Establishing a new Jedi Order must have been crucial to continue the fight against evil, and restoring balance to the galaxy. So how many Jedi did Luke manage to train before Ben Solo betrayed him? That's still uncertain, but The Force Awakens script does confirm that Luke built a new Jedi temple...
We PIVOT and see a BURNING TEMPLE AT NIGHT. We PAN to:
R2-D2 -- who watches the flames -- and a MAN appears (LUKE, whose face we do not see). He falls to his knees, reaches out to the droid -- with a MECHANICAL RIGHT HAND.
Was the Force tree intended to help new Jedi acolytes hone their abilities? Or was it just a nice decoration? We may never know, but Shattered Empire does give some interesting background to Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Order.
If nothing else it proves that Luke had a plan for the new Jedi, one which Supreme Leader Snoke thwarted... Here's hoping that as Luke trains Rey in Star Wars Episode 8 we get some answers to these mysteries!