The Dark Ages
The Dark Ages refers to the years 1985 to 1995.
This period of time is after the last of the movies, and before the special editions when Star Wars (briefly) fell out of the public consciousness.
Marvel had ended its original run with the movie license in 1986, and the adaptations of the Droids and Ewoks cartoons a year later.
Those cartoons, along with the two poorly-received live action Ewok adventure made-for-TV films helped to further the idea of Star Wars being more of a "kiddie fare" type of space entertainment, which led to the franchise's Dark Times.
Several things combined are credited for bringing Star Wars out of the Dark Ages, and re-establishing it as a viable franchise to be enjoyed by those of all ages and sensibilities:
- The rise of the internet
- The launch of Dark Horse's Star Wars comic book lines (1991)
- The first of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy (1991), which was the first set of official Star Wars novels to come out since 1983.
- Hasbro's The Power of The Force action figure line (1995), 10 years after the last Kenner line release.
Sources are hazy, but this historical tapestry sheds some light on this dark time.