This is kind of an amalgamation of two posts I made in the new Ep. VII forum, but I want to have a separate discussion here with the more open-minded Lit people. Long post ahead. Before some of you throw up your arms, I'm not talking about Palpatine reborn or any specifics of the story. I'm talking about in general as a story arc for the characters involved, and specifically the scale of the threat. Before I ever read any Post-ROTJ EU material, this is what I imagined happened would have to happen in a sequel trilogy, combined with my current knowledge of 3-act structure. Like ESB, the Empire would get revenge for their defeat, and it would be up to the heroes to stop them. I'd also expect to see the heroes struggling to restore the government to what it was - only better, without the things that caused it to fall in the first place. Following the 3-act structure (assuming that there will be only 3 "Episode" trilogies), where each trilogy is an act in the overall saga, the 3rd trilogy would have the heroes overcome their problems and come out better. But within the trilogy, things have to get much worse before they get better. While I don't think they should adapt any of these, I think these stories really captured the elements I expected before reading any EU: X-Wing series - struggle to retake the government and begin to build a new one Jedi Academy Trilogy - the Jedi are reborn with mistakes along the way in an effort to support the new direction Thrawn Trilogy - strong new villain who tests the heroes Dark Empire - heroes come the closest to being defeated and are tested to the point of becoming evil, but unite and emerge victorious, signifying the birth of a new generation, and a new hope Crimson Empire III/Hand of Thrawn - peace is made with their enemies without wiping each other out completely If Episode VII is indeed set around 30+ years after ROTJ, then the story will likely focus on the next generation of heroes with Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, etc. in the background as supporting characters. I think most of us agree that even under new leadership, the Empire is not just going to say "oh no Palpatine's dead, oh well it was a good run". In the OT we see a lot of officers in the Empire actually firmly believe in what they are doing. The EU has plenty of proof that the Empire would endure for a long while. In Dark Empire, the Empire strikes back in a huge, merciless way. In a lot of ways it's the doctrines of the Empire (and the Dark Side) completely unrestrained and unstoppable. Lucas himself praised the story, saying that it was the closest to his idea of a sequel trilogy. In the story, Luke almost becomes what he fought against to defeat his enemy (like Ulic Qel-Droma in TOTJ). If the unbridled wrath of those defeated by the OT heroes were to come back, it would be a perfect test for the new generation instead, really challenging what they have been told is right by the OT generation. On the other hand, if it's a new enemy, it should still be more powerful than the OT Empire in some way in order to be a threat, otherwise it won't live up to expectations. Either way, the new generation has to face this threat in order to ensure the direction of the future. It has to be more threatening - look at how Blackbeard fell flat for most people after having Davy Jones in the Pirates series. It won't be the Jedi having a pesky pirate problem or having to face filibusters. It has to raise the stakes even more than the Empire did before. Something that they have no obvious way of defeating. Look at Bane in TDKR. I've seen several ideas thrown around about a new Sith leader or the return of Darth Plagueis, but it doesn't even have to be Sith to be that kind of threat. Maybe it's the Empire badder than ever, maybe its a twisted version of it separate from the remnant. Maybe its something new. We've seen this over and over in the EU. Even if the new films somehow keep the existing EU, is it likely we could see the Empire or some form of it come out as an unstoppable force when it takes place? (let's say after Crucible) Thoughts? Was Dark Empire on the right track? Do you think Lucas' treatment has the Empire, or some form of it, as the main threat?