Star Wars

May the 4th Be With You, and With These Books!

May the Fourth Be With You, it’s May 4th! It’s Star Wars Day, so whether you’re a die hard original trilogy buff or a fan of the prequels or sequels, Star Wars has become so engrained in our society that we collectively celebrate George Lucas’ success each year in the first week of May. 


The Star Wars universe has continually grown with each added cinematic extravaganza, but did you know that there are Star Wars books as well? To be more specific, there are currently 456 different options for published Star Wars literature (not including reference books), including 69 children’s books.


Before Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the collective published work was known as the Star Wars expanded universe, however starting in April 2014, Lucasfilm rebranded their expanded universe as Star Wars Legends, and made clear that this material was non-canon to the original franchise, while all newly published work is certified canon to the series. This means that any new publications fit into the timeline created by the movies, and does effect that universe.


With so many options, it can be overwhelming to pick a starting point. So we’ll do it for you!


1. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn


Thrawn Trilogy

Image via Wookieepedia


As I am newly finding out about just how expansive the literary Star Wars universe is, I had to do some research for this list. Time and time again, The Thrawn Trilogy is the answer that Google provides. Published in 1991, 1992, and 1993 respectively, Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command take place give or take five years after the events in Return of the Jedi. According to The Verge, if you only ever read a couple of extra novels, make it these.


2. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray


Lost Stars

Image via Wookieepedia


Lost Stars dives deep into the society of the Empire, focusing on a youthful pair. It’s Romeo and Juliet reminiscent, with two star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a galactic skirmish. 


The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy is nothing less than a dream come true for both of them. But Thane sours on the dream when he sees firsthand the horrific tactics the Empire uses to maintain its ironclad rule.

Bitter and disillusioned, he joins the fledgling Rebellion–putting Ciena in an unbearable position between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for the man she’s known since childhood.


3. Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller


A New Dawn

Image via Nerdist


If you’d rather read about the Rebellion, then A New Dawn is for you. Between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the Rebellion unified from far and few between insurgent forces to what we then saw in the movies. But what happened? Read this book if you’d like to find out. The story centers around Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarus (from Star Wars Rebels) – you’ll find out how they met and how they came to work together.


4. Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston


Rogue Squadron

Image via Bantam-Spectra


Straight up, the X-Wing series is based on the old PC games, which was the first video game I ever played. My father, my sister, and I would spend stormy afternoons in the late nineties kicking the shit out of each other in the PC game, so this series holds a special place in my heart.


The first novel in the X-Wing series was released in 1996, and Stackpole controversially barely used the main characters of the franchise, instead introducing his own characters. The series takes place in the years following the Return of the Jedi and focuses on, surprise surprise, the militaristic efforts of the New Republic in their battle against the Empire. If you like X-Wing fighter dogfights, espionage, and an incredible cast of characters you might not know, this is the book for you. 


PS, this is a 10-book series. You’re welcome.


5. Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover



Image via Wookieepedia


Shatterpoint follows Mace Windu (played by Samuel L. Jackson, badass with a purple lightsaber, who graces the cover) at the start of the Clone Wars. According to Stover, he based the book on both Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now, so the novel thematically differs from many Star Wars books due to its dark nature, investigating the seductive nature of power. The book takes place six months after Attack of the Clones, and 21.5 years before A New Hope.


Featured Image via Time.