Star Wars: Hidden Empire by Charles Soule is a story within a story. While the reader follows the main story of Qi’ra and her scheme to destroy the Sith, a recording from a character known as the Archivist is telling the same story to a pair of hooded figures.
After two issues, the identities of the hooded figures remain a mystery. Their commentary while listening to the Archivist’s recording provides the best possible insight into their identities. They’ve discussed how they wish Qi’ra didn’t try to do all this on her own and that if they’d known the full extent of her plan, they could’ve helped her. They clearly knew Qi’ra, with one of them remarking how she was not a trusting type.
When the recording of the Archivist mentions that she wouldn’t be surprised if Emperor Palpatine created the Rebel Alliance–playing both sides as he did during the Clone Wars–one of the hooded figures comments that the Archivist got that wrong. The other hooded figure mentions that even though Palpatine didn’t start the Rebel Alliance, he did use their existence to his advantage in justifying tyranny and oppression.
While the story of Hidden Empire is taking place in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the hooded figures listening to the recording is happening at some point in the post-Return of the Jedi timeline. The Archivist says, “In the days of the Galactic Empire,” making it clear that the Empire is no more at the time of her recording, let alone when these individuals find and listen to it.
Given the clues that have been given so far, these are some of the possibilities of who the hooded figures listening to the Archivist’s story might be:
Luke and Leia
One of the most plausible answers is that the hooded figures are Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Before beginning his own Jedi Academy, Luke spent the years after Return of the Jedi searching the galaxy for information about the history of the Jedi Order and the Force. The Archivist’s deep knowledge of the Force and the dark side would’ve made her–and any information she left behind–deeply interesting to Luke, not to mention the fact the Archivist is lightly Force-sensitive.
While Qi’ra was not a Jedi or a Force user, she learned from the former Sith Lord Darth Maul, dedicated he life to destroying the Sith, and utilized weapons that were strong in the dark side of the Force as part of this fight, as seen with the Fermata Cage in Hidden Empire. Between the Archivist and the Knights of Ren, Qi’ra also worked directly with others connected to and knowledgeable in the Force. All of this would make Luke interested in hearing about the story of Hidden Empire.
As for the other hooded figure being Leia, this could be at the point where Leia is training with Luke to become a Jedi. Leia has met Qi’ra and gotten to know her more in some of the comics taking place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Leia could be the hooded figure who clearly knew Qi’ra and refers to her not being the trusting type, while the other hooded figure (Luke) is the one talking about how he wishes he’d known so they could’ve helped her. Luke’s idealism and Leai’s pragmatism match up well with these remarks.
It is also worth noting that the hooded figures seem to know how the Rebel Alliance started and know the Archivist is incorrect about Palpatine starting it. Given their intimate history and involvement with the Rebel Alliance, Luke and Leia would absolutely know this information.
If the hooded figures are Luke and Leia, perhaps this is setting up a future comic series where they explore secrets of the Force while Leia trains with Luke. With Return of the Jedi getting closer and closer in many of the comics, it would make sense to begin planting seeds for the comics in the aftermath of the Return of the Jedi.
Luke and Leia are the most plausible identities of the hooded figures, but there are other possibilities as well.
Luke and Ahsoka
One of the hooded figures could be Luke for all the reasons stated above, but the other one might be Ahsoka Tano rather than Leia. The Book of Boba Fett showed that Luke and Ahsoka have already met and have history between them several years after Return of the Jedi.
Both of them would be interested in the story of Qi’ra for its many connections to the Sith and the Force, not to mention Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka has a history with Maul as shown in season 7 of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which gives her a different perspective of Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn. Ahsoka also knows how the Rebel Alliance actually started. In fact, she was a part of the Rebel Alliance’s beginnings when Luke was only a small child on Tatooine.
Perhaps this is setting up a future comic series of Luke and Ahsoka adventures, showing audiences their first meeting and history prior to The Book of Boba Fett and the upcoming Ahsoka television series.
Leia and Han
Leia and Han Solo both have a great deal of familiarity with Qi’ra and the Rebel Alliance and would definitely be interested in learning the full extent of what she was really up to during the Galactic Civil War. They would also both have the sentiment of wishing they’d known so they could’ve helped more, while also recognizing she might not have been trusting enough to accept their help in the first place.
One issue with this theory is why Han would be wearing mysterious robes and sitting cross-legged. It’s one thing for Force users to be wearing robes like that and sitting cross-legged, but it does not seem like Han’s style at all.
When new or mysterious characters show up in a Star Wars story, fans are often looking for them to end up being familiar faces. That might be the case here, but the hooded figures could be entirely new characters.
For now, fans can keep on speculating, and keep on reading Hidden Empire as each new issue is released.
Who do you think the hooded figures are in Star Wars: Hidden Empire? Let us know in the comments!