Who would have thought that 40 years after A New Hope, Star Wars would still be thriving as well as a Hutt in their palace. Star Wars fans, who I think are the luckiest fandom in the galaxies, are experiencing a time where Star Wars is hitting on cylinders. From movies, to video games, to an animated series, to new canon comics and books, Star Wars is flowing through everything like the Force. My personal obsession with this Star Wars renaissance has to be the books (outside of the movies of course). Prior to Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, the Expanded Universe, which encompassed books, comics and games outside of the movies, had a wide variety of background stories that would give life to characters you never knew you wanted to know about. Renamed Legends by Disney, all of these wonderful stories that spanned thousands of years in the Star Wars universe, were no longer canon. As one could imagine, this vast timeline of stories – by various authors and in different mediums – created issues with knowing what was true canon vs what was fan theory. This left Disney with no real choice but to re-canonize these background stories.
With over 40 years of movies and animated series to retell, there are canon books for every kind of Star Wars fan. The new canon books still draw from the work of the more prominent stories in the Legends continuity; bringing in writers like Timothy Zahn and Paul Kemp, who had a hand in many Legends novel, to write characters back into canon and create new ones. In my opinion, they have done a fantastic job of this. Although the new canon has yet to cover extensively prior to the prequels, you can still find storylines and characters you love and enjoy. Here are some of my favorites.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Before I jump into the list, I would be a scruffy looking nerf herder if I didn’t mention the recent renews in Star Wars canon literature. Recently announced with the hype of the hashtag #OperationBlueMilk, this anthology will consist of 40 stories based on the background characters of A New Hope. They are bringing 40 authors who all have some sort of connection to Star Wars and a lot of them have written some of the books that I am going to mention below. It will be released in October 2017 with all proceeds going to the First Book Charity. Want to know what the Stormtrooper did after he didn’t find the droids he was looking for or more about your favorite minor character? Well, this anthology might give you some answers!
If you were a fan of the Clone Wars animated series, you will love this book. Dark Disciple consists of an eight-part story arc set during the Clone Wars, which was not fully realized in the animated series. The story takes readers through a wild ride of love, passion, and action with: Quinlan Vos, a Jedi Master that we see team up with Obi-Wan Kenobi on the hunt for Ziro the Hutt and the Sith Nightsister, Asajj Ventress. With a plethora of other notable figures from the Star Wars universe, this novel will give a newfound appreciation from the Clone Wars.
For years, fans of the Clone Wars wanted to know what happened to Ahsoka Tano after she left the Jedi Order. Thankfully, with her recurring appearance on the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels, we get some much needed Snips in our lives. But what happened in between? Ahsoka gives us plenty of insight. The story covers Ahsoka’s journey of living a life without the Jedi Order following Order 66 and how the universe would bring her back into the fray.
Do you love bad guys? If you were Force-sensitive, would your light-saber be red? Do you want to give all glory to the Empire? Well, these books may be for you. Even if you aren’t an Imperial sympathizer, Lords of the Sith, Tarkin, and Thrawn (releases April 11th) give a deeper look into some of the major villains of Star Wars. Lords of the Sith follows Darth Vader and Darth Sidious in a buddy-cop-movie style on the Twi’lek home planet of Ryloth. Tarkin takes you through the Grand Moff’s life story. You get amazing insight into why he is so feared and why Darth Vader even sees him as an equal. Thrawn just realized today so I can’t speak to it yet but the author, Timothy Zahn, wrote the Legends story of Thrawn years prior and had insight into his character portrayal on Star Wars: Rebels. If either of those things are any indication, Thrawn is going to be awesome.
Catalyst dives into life of Galen Erso and his family, as well as their relationship with Orson Krennic. This book supplements the Rogue One movie better than any of the canon books out right now. It gives more meaning the moments with Galen and Krennic in the movie. You understand the manipulation that Galen was put through and how he really isn’t that bad of guy. As they go through the growth of the Death Star, you also gain insight on the kyber crystals, what happened to other worlds like Scarif, and the political maneuverings of the Empire with Krennic and Tarkin constantly at odds. If you didn’t like Rogue One or you loved it, this book will give you the background information you need to make you a fan or love it even more.
Following the destruction of the second Death Star, this trilogy follows new characters Norra Wexley and her crew, as the Rebellion tries to overtake the crumbling Empire. If you are looking for some answers on events following Return of the Jedi, this is the trilogy for you. The best part of this series, in my opinion, is that you gets this creative mix of totally new characters and ones that we have come to love like Han, Leia, and Chewie. I do not want to go into too much detail about the plot, but the books get progressively better as we see the characters develop and the stakes begin to raise.
Bloodline takes place a few year before the events in the Force Awakens and focuses on Leia Organa. The book follows the Senator as she tries to stop the collapsing of the New Republic political atmosphere in the midst of corruption and a growing threat to rival the power of the Empire. We get to see Leia be badass, despite her age. All of this while also getting background for the events in Force Awakens like: Why is Han so distant from Leia? Why did Luke leave? And why did the Resistance need to form?
Honorable Mention – Darth Plagueis
Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise? I thought not, since this book isn’t officially canon. This book had the misfortune of being released a couple years before the rebranding and was relegated to Legends. However, nothing has really come out to contradict its overall story. This book follows the Emperor’s former master, Darth Plagueis. It essentially gives us the story that the Emperor tells Anakin during the opera scene in Revenge of the Sith. At the end, you realize how much of a mastermind Palpatine was and the unpredictable nature of the Force. Until something major comes out to retell this story, it is canon in my head. It’s also the reason why I think the Emperor is one of the greatest characters in the Star Wars universe.
There are dozens of new books and comics out that fall into the new Star Wars canon. These are just a few of my favorites. If you are a Star Wars fan, I highly suggest looking into the new age of Star Wars comics and novelization to hold you over during the long wait in between films.
Do you have any favorites? Do you hate any of the books I recommended? Let me know! I love talking Star Wars and always want to hear about new perspectives.