Palpatine gets his mangled face from the reverberation of dark side lightning (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)
We had seen Palpatine’s twisted face in Return of the Jedi, but we didn’t know how it came to be.
Vader’s face is revealed (Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi)
This was especially surprising because audiences hadn’t necessarily associated a human face with Vader and the soulless mask he was wearing. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, he was more machine than man, and audiences probably saw him that way. Thus, seeing the human face of Vader (who had once again become Anakin Skywalker) likely changed the paradigm of the character for a given viewer.
Rey finds the Skywalker lightsaber (The Force Awakens)
Rey opened a chest and … there it was! The elegant weapon for a more civilized age, used by Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
Stormtroopers are clones, and Boba Fett comes from the stormtroopers’ template (Episode II – Attack of the Clones)
Obi-Wan Kenobi is talking to Jango Fett on Kamino and the dots begin to connect …
Vader’s top half is mostly revealed on his castle (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
What a great look Rogue One director Gareth Edwards offered us.
Obi-Wan appears as a Force ghost to Luke (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)
Obi-Wan has direction for Luke on the planet Hoth, and this was surprising as it was the first time audiences saw any Jedi as a Force ghost.
Darth Vader gets his suit and mask because he burned (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)
The Darth Vader we knew from the original trilogy wore a jet-black suit and mask. Why he had to wear them was unknown – though that didn’t mean that youth didn’t think up stories about why!
Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo (The Force Awakens)
That slash through Han’s heart after Han earnestly reaches out to his son, man …
Han Solo and Chewbacca appear on the Millennium Falcon after Rey and Finn leave Jakku (The Force Awakens)
“Chewie, we’re home.”
Jar-Jar Binks becomes a temporary senator (Episode II – Attack of the Clones)
Jar-Jar Binks was a blundering fool. That’s not exactly the ideal person to be a senator. Yet, Binks took the role when Padme Amidala was trying to avoid being assassinated. (And it led to dire consequences, as Binks made a motion that led to Sheev Palpatine becoming the dictator of an empire.)
Senator and Chancellor Palpatine is Darth Sidious (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)
Most knew this because they had seen the original trilogy, but it wasn’t clear at least to children that then-Sen. Palpatine in The Phantom Menace was Sidious. Thus, there was room for surprise.