As you may have noticed, the geek world has unofficially declared 2015 the Year of Star Wars. With a brand new movie coming out in December, and the existing saga being released in digital format for the first time, there’s plenty to get excited about. My coworker and fellow geek Joe has been valiantly covering the latest news on the new movie, and led an excellent trivia session for our Free Comic Book Day event here at the library.
What you might not know is that Star Wars is a lot more than just movies.
Since the early 1990s, there has been a growing collection of supplemental material–books, graphic novels, video games, television series, etc.–connected to the Star Wars universe, and it hasn’t shown any signs of stopping.
Some of this material is accepted as “canon” by the franchise owners (meaning they agree that, yes, it’s a thing that happened in this fictional setting, as opposed to something they’re going to ignore), and some of it isn’t. Fans have a habit of cherry-picking their favorite parts of any huge franchise, and this one is no exception. Some of us will continue to pretend characters like Mara Jade are still out there in the galaxy somewhere, refuse to accept the existence of Midichlorians, and no amount of editing magic will ever convince me that Greedo shot first. You’ll choose as you will. Meanwhile, there’s a new set of novels that has come out since the franchise was bought by Disney, and a new set of expectations around the upcoming movie. The older books were rebranded as “Star Wars Legends,” and the new books are the new “canon.”
The sheer volume of entertainment in so many different formats in this universe is so vast that it’s nearly impossible to know where to start. I have dipped my toe into the novels once or twice, but it’s largely unexplored territory for me. So, since this is the Year of Star Wars, I decided it’s time to fix that. With Joe’s help, I’ve put together a reading list of what I consider the “highlights” of the Star Wars novels:
Episode IV: A New Hope, by George Lucas
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, by Donald F. Glut
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, by James Kahn
Episode I: The Phantom Menace, by Terry Brooks
Episode II: Attack of the Clones, by R. A. Salvatore
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover
The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn:
Heir to the Empire
Dark Force Rising
The Last Command
Darth Plagueis, by James Luceno
Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, by Matthew Stover
New Dawn, by John Jackson Miller
Lords of the Sith, by Paul S. Kemp
Tarkin, by James Luceno
Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne
Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig
I haven’t read most of these books before, so this should be an interesting journey for me both as a reviewer and as a fan. If you want to join me, just search “Star Wars” in our library catalog and see what’s available in your neighborhood!