Here are the ‘Star Wars’ canon books you need to read ASAP
Since Disney acquired the rights to Lucasfilms, the Star Wars canon as fans knew it, including the Expanded Universe books, were no more. Mara Jade, Jacen & Jaina Solo, and more EU fan faves were kicked to the curb. Disney rebranded them as “legends” so they could reshape the Star Wars canon as they saw fit, planning on releasing the sequel trilogy, new shows, and books.
However, bummed-out Star Wars fans saw a glimmer of hope that their old canon faves from the books would be resurfaced, even though they may be repurposed. In the trailer for Star Wars: Rebels season 3, a familiar blue figure emerges from the shadows. When the trailer premiered at the Disney Celebration convention in 2016, when said blue figure appeared on screen, fans went nuts. Thrawn was back in canon.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is an iconic Star Wars book villain who first appeared in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series in 1991. While his inclusion in Rebels had a mixed reception (eaten by space whales, really Disney?), Timothy Zahn has released new Thrawn books, which are part of the Disney Star Wars canon now.
If you’re an Expanded Universe fan, and are looking to check out what Disney has to offer (trust us, the books are much better than the sequel trilogy), the new Star Wars book canon has some decent offerings. Check them out here.
The Thrawn series
Thrawn is back in books, as his creator Timothy Zahn has written a whole new Thrawn trilogy. Unlike Heir to the Empire, Thrawn’s the protagonist, or rather, the deuteragonist with Eli Vanto, the book’s new version of General Pelleon, Thawn’s sidekick in the Heir series.
The Thrawn trilogy begins by following the Grand Admiral’s ascension through the ranks of The Empire. Thrawn goes from being an exile of the Chiss Ascendancy, his homeworld, to being one of the best-performing admirals in the Galaxy, pleasing Emperor Palpatine greatly.
These Star Wars books have more tie-ins to the animated series Star Wars: Rebels & Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The second book in the series covers Thrawn’s alliance with Darth Vader, told partly in flashbacks, which would make for an intriguing Clone Wars episode (frankly, we wish Disney tied this into season 7 rather than the prolonged Ahsoka plotline).
Dave Filoni’s darling gets her own book. Penned by Filoni himself, Ahsoka follows the story of what happened to Anakin Skywalker’s plucky padawan between Order 66 & Star Wars: Rebels. Having to stay one step ahead of the Empire’s Inquisitors, Dark Side users who hunt down any remaining Jedi, Ahsoka Tano finds a new way to use the Force. It also delves into how Ahsoka became Fulcrum in Rebels.
Do you stan Grand Moff Tarkin? Does Disney have a treat for you! The Grand Moff from Star Wars: A New Hope & Rogue One’s backstory is fleshed out in this book, from his early military days outlined in The Clone Wars to his demise aboard the first Death Star.
Wilhuff Tarkin is stationed on Sentinel Moon five years after the ascension of The Empire. The book flashes back to his childhood growing up in the Outer Rim, a dangerous place per Star Wars canon. Chapters taking place in the present, about 14 BBY on the Star Wars Timeline, show how – and why – Tarkin became instrumental in quashing the nascent Rebellion.
Elsewhere in Star Wars canon
While most Star Wars books take place during the Trilogy timelines (roughly from 30 BBY to 30 ABY), Disney’s latest books will delve into the High Republic, a time in Star Wars canon that isn’t very well explored. Disney planned to pivot their universe to this era after they were finished with the Sequel trilogy.
Announced in March 2020, the new books would follow Jedi students from that era and their adventures bringing law & order to the Star Wars Galaxy. The novels are set to take place in 232 BBY and will feature young adult novels, and “young reader” books suitable for younger kids.
The first three High Republic novels were released on January 5, 2021 with more releases scheduled to be rolled out later this year.
Were there any Star Wars books we missed that you love? Do you prefer the Disney canon or the original Expanded Universe? Let us know in the comments!