What was Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s relationship like before they ended up on Naboo? When did Finn’s First Order conditioning start to crack? Star Wars stories extend far beyond the films, and the pages of novels and comics hold treasure troves of details and context that enrich what you’ve seen on screen. You can expand your exploration of the broader galaxy as much or as little as you wish. As we count down the days until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final film in the Skywalker saga, let’s look at eight stories that complement each of the movies in the series so far.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Master and Apprentice
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan have an easy back and forth in The Phantom Menace. They tease each other like they’re family and give each other their honest opinions — and constructive criticisms. But it wasn’t always that way. They both had doubts about their roles as master and Padawan, which you can discover in Claudia Gray’s Master and Apprentice. The novel gives the relationship you see in the movie a deep history. It features intriguing information about the Jedi Order and Count Dooku, too.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow
Padmé Amidala ends her time as Naboo’s queen and becomes a Republic senator before Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Even though both roles serve the public, it’s not a straightforward transition from royalty to committees and bills. Padmé struggles to balance representing her homeworld and the greater galaxy. Get a glimpse into how Padmé finds her path and how her handmaidens help her in Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. Bonus: the pages divulge everything you ever wanted to know about Padmé’s wardrobe.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
Anakin Skywalker goes from powerful Sith Lord to limbless and clinging to life in Mustafar’s fiery heat within a day. It’s a big adjustment. And Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith from writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli picks up right where we left off, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and instantly provides key insight into Vader’s vulnerabilities. Emperor Palpatine pushes the nascent Sith Lord’s limits immediately, and the comic illustrates more of Vader’s early trials inside the life-supporting suit.
Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan
By the time we encounter Leia Organa in A New Hope, she’s a respected member of the Rebel Alliance. But she didn’t earn the esteem of her peers overnight. Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray details how Leia learns about her parents’ covert organization — Breha and Bail Organa helped build the Rebellion as we know it — and puts herself at risk because she wants to make a difference. Knowing more about her past, and seeing her insistence to throw down for her belief in the cause makes Leia all the more impressive on screen.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
Every war has two sides. Christie Golden’s Battlefront II: Inferno Squad focuses on the Imperial perspective on the galactic conflict, specifically on an elite team of soldiers called Inferno Squad. Formed in response to the Empire’s defeat at the Battle of Yavin, Inferno Squad exists to work against the Rebellion through subterfuge. The story illuminates Imperial operating procedures and takes you into the minds of its soldiers before the events of The Empire Strikes Back. And the story includes remnants of Saw Gerrera’s partisans, illuminating some perspectives you may not have considered.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Marvel’s Star Wars: Shattered Empire
The Galactic Civil War doesn’t end the second Palpatine dies in Return of the Jedi. He’s a cornerstone of the Empire, but he’s not the entire organization. Shattered Empire, a Marvel Comics miniseries by writer Greg Rucka and artists Marco Checchetto, Emilio Laiso, and Angel Unzueta, begins with the attack on the second Death Star and introduces rebel pilot Shara Bey. After Endor, Shara, along with her husband, Kes Dameron, goes on multiple missions to stop the Imperial machine and stifle their propaganda, teaming up with Leia, Lando, and more.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Before the Awakening
New heroes step into the spotlight in The Force Awakens; Rey, Finn, and Poe begin their journeys at completely different places before their paths converge on Starkiller Base. Their backgrounds are wildly different, and Greg Rucka’s Before the Awakening reveals each character’s history in a short story. Think of them as vignettes. Find out about the day-to-day dangers Rey faces on Jakku, see the first hints of Finn’s First Order betrayal, and spend time in the cockpit with Poe. After you read it, watch the film again and see if you view the trio differently.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: Cobalt Squadron
The Last Jedi‘s intense opening sees Paige Tico sacrifice herself to save the fleeing Resistance, including her sister Rose, from the First Order’s overwhelming firepower. Their bond becomes apparent through Rose’s grief. Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein dives headfirst into Paige and Rose’s relationship and delivers it from the page into your heart. You’ll get to know the sisters from their humble origins on Hays Minor to their complementary roles on a Resistance bomber ship. The story follows them on a key mission just before the battle above D’Qar.
Amy Ratcliffe is passionate about Star Wars and coffee. She always has her nose stuck in a book. She’s the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and a co-host of the podcast Lattes with Leia. Nerd out with her on Twitter at @amy_geek.
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