The Star Wars franchise is one of the richest fictional universes ever created, complete with seemingly endless possibilities in a galaxy far, far away. With the films themselves producing a horde of endless tie-in merchandise, from toys to video games to cartoons, it only makes sense that books would be added to these ranks as well. The Expanded Universe of Star Wars literary material began back in the nineties and ran smoothly until Disney rebooted the canon in 2012. After buying Lucasfilm, Disney paved the way to produce new films that were no longer beholden to the Expanded Universe’s wealth of continuity. But never fear: the books continued, giving us more of those limitless stories about Jedi, Sith, and our favorite characters. Here are some of the best new Star Wars novels from all corners of the universe.
Image Via Starwars.com
1. PHASMA BY DELILAH S. DAWSON
Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, is one of the most intriguing characters in the new films. A steely, no-nonsense, leader of the Stormtrooper Corps (with a unique design), Phasma unfortunately received precious little characterization and even less screen time. But luckily, this novel gets inside the good captain’s chromedomed skull, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson chronicles the origins of Phasma herself. The book deals with two split time periods: ten years before The Force Awakens and shortly before the actual film, with the majority of the book’s content taking place in the former. To keep an aura of mystery about Phasma, her story is told by her companion, Siv. Phasma’s story finds her eking out a horrid existence on the planet Parnassos, helping readers to understand what made her into the brutal warrior she is by the time we see her in the films. Phasma’s character isn’t lightened in any way; instead, the film shows her as a manipulative, selfish, brutal woman who only looks out for one person: herself. Although the novel can be slow at times, the atmosphere of the planet is unmatched, and the conclusion is very satisfactory: a brutal end to a brutal tale.
2. TARKIN BY JAMES LUCENO
Image Via Starwars.com
Grand Moff Tarkin, played to perfection by Peter Cushing, only appeared in one film, A New Hope. Regardless, he remains an iconic figure. Tarkin by James Luceno expands on Tarkin’s backstory, showcasing his upbringing, his rise from boy to man, and his initial work with Darth Vader. Tarkin’s characterization is exceptionally well-handled, especially his slow turn to darkness. As he works with Vader side by side, you get to see two different men play off each other very well, especially as they face off against an enemy and a threat to the Galactic Empire. Tarkin chronicles the ascent of its titular character in a way that is sure to please any Star Wars fan.
Image Via Variety
3. Bloodline by Claudia Grey
Princess Leia Organa has always been a fan-favorite of the film series, a feisty princess who can match Han Solo blow for blow and snark for snark. Bloodline by Claudia Grey lets Leia take the spotlight, covering a gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Here, Leia attempts to pick up the pieces after the rebellion successfully destroys the Galactic Empire but is growing tired of wrestling with the senate of the New Republic. This is a political novel first and foremost, which may seem daunting considering the confusing politics. Leia herself grounds the novel quite effectively, her voice carrying just as much weight as in the films. Her ongoing themes are well explored, especially her relationship with her fathers, Bail Organa and Darth Vader. The novel offers surprising details of the era between film franchises, making it a must read for many fans.
Image Via Goodreads
4. Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Thrawn was a character introduced in the Expanded Universe before the reboot, and he became a quick fan-favorite thanks to what a three-dimensional-character he was. After the reboot, he was soon reintroduced into the new continuity, and his first new novel added to the canon is penned by his former writer, Timothy Zahn. Thrawn puts the audience into Grand Admiral Thrawn’s head for the first time, showcasing his very alien but still fascinating perspective as he works his way through the ranks of the Empire. Thrawn is laser-focused on the titular character, allowing the audience to truly know the antagonist through his flaws, his love of art, and his own personal desires amidst his apparent loyalty to his supposed master, the Emperor. A great character study and offering a fresh perspective on an old favorite, Thrawn is a perfect choice for any fan.
Image Via Starwars.com
5. From A Certain Point of View
From a Certain Point of View emphasizes the sheer number of stories that can be told in the Star Wars universe. An anthology story, it contains forty stories from forty different science fiction authors. Accessible to Star Wars old and new, the stories showcase various different characters around the time of the first film, A New Hope. Being an anthology, some stories are stronger than others, but there’s much to love here. Stand out stories in the collection include Master & Apprentice by Claudia Grey, Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon, and Contingency Plan by Alexander Freed. The collection, above all else, embodies a love for Star Wars and is a great read for any fan for the sheer variety it presents. Star Wars has endless possibilities and this collection showcases that very well.
Featured Image Via StarWars.com