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A Star Wars Reading List

Plus how they fit into the timeline of Star Wars

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 26, 2023

The ever-expanding Star Wars galaxy

When the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977, it would have been hard to predict how massive the franchise would become. Now, with eleven feature films and upwards of a dozen TV series (several coming out this year), George Lucas's groundbreaking sci-fi space opera has become a rich and complex universe.

And we haven't even mentioned the books! There is a robust body of literature bolstering the various Star Wars storylines. If you're just dipping your toe into this macrocosm of content, it may seem overwhelming, even off-putting. That's why we've put together this list of some of the best Star Wars books and how they fit into the timeline of the movies and the series.

A bit of history

You may be surprised to learn that the first Star Wars novel actually preceded the movie. Star Wars: From The Adventures of Luke Skywalker came out in 1976, several months before the release of the film. It was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, but credited to George Lucas. Foster also wrote the first spinoff novel, Splinters of the Mind's Eye, continuing the adventures of Luke and Leia as they faced off against Darth Vader. Over the next several decades, many authors followed suit, writing books that expanded on the films and elaborated the backgrounds of the characters.

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, the company divided the previously written books into what they call the Legends series, and initiated a new era of publishing branded the Canon series. We are including favorites from both of these categories.

The Star Wars timeline (and where the books fit in!)

If you have ever wanted to watch the Star Wars films and shows in chronological order, here they are. We've also listed our top bestselling Star Wars books in the bullet points so you know where they fit into the entire Star Wars timeline.

  • The High Republic series begins hundreds of years before the prequel trilogy at the height of the Jedi's power. The bestselling Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule, is the first book of the series, which has several more titles slated for 2023.
  • Padawan by Kiersten White introduces a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. The novel gives insight into Obi-Wan's complicated relationship with his master.
  • Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray takes place about a year later and expands on the complex relationship between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Movie: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi try to protect Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo in the midst of an interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by young Anakin Skywalker, they must also contend with the return of the Sith.

  • The popular Queen Trilogy by K. Johnston includes: Queen's Shadow, Queen's Peril, and Queen's Hope. Readers love this series because of its strong female perspective and it does a good job of showing the way in which Padmé Amidala uses her intellect to fight political battles.

Movie: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Set ten years after The Phantom Menace, the newly-formed Confederacy, led by former Jedi Master Count Dooku has been growing in strength. This builds up to The Clone Wars, an animated film featuring key characters like Anakin and his apprentice Ahsoka Tano, as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda as they battle the forces of evil.

  • Brotherhood by Mike Chen focuses on an early mission of the Clone Wars with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
  • Dark Disciple by Christie Golden features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroes in the Star Wars galaxy.
  • The Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy by Timothy Zahn starts in the Clone Wars Era and continues into the Empires Era. One of the most important villains in the Star Wars franchise, Thrawn appeared as a Grand Admiral in Star Wars: Rebels and is set to be the primary villain of Disney+'s much-anticipated Ahsoka

Movie: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Three years after the onset of the Clone Wars, the Jedi are spread across the galaxy in a full-scale war against the Separatists. Anakin Skywalker, now married to Padmé Amidala, turns to the dark side.

  • Ahsoka by K. Johnston continues the story of fan favorite Ahsoka Tano after she leaves the Jedi Order near the end of the Clones Wars.

Movie: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, who join a heist within the criminal underworld ten years prior to the events of A New Hope.

Disney+ series: Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

Ten years after The Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi sets out to rescue the kidnapped Princess Leia, leading to a confrontation with his former apprentice, Darth Vader.

Disney+ series: Andor (2022)

The series follows thief-turned-Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the five years leading up to the events of Rogue One and A New Hope.

  • A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller is set between Episodes III and IV. Emperor Palpatine is in charge, but dissent is rising.
  • In Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno, war is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war.

Movie: Rogue One (2016)

Set just before A New Hope, the plot follows a group of rebels who band together to steal plans of the Death Star, the ultimate weapon of the Galactic Empire.

  • In Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden, a small group of Imperials called Inferno Squad have been tasked to infiltrate the partisans formerly led by Saw Gerrera.
  • Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is a sci-fi take on Romeo and Juliet-type love story. Ciena and Thane bond over their desire to become imperial pilots but they end up on opposite sides of the war.

Movie: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station and rescue Princess Leia from Darth Vader.

  • In Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, learn more about Luke Skywalker's experiences adjusting to his role as a hero of the Rebel Alliance after he blows up the Death Star.

Movie: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Rebels scatter after the Empire attacks their base on the ice planet Hoth. Han Solo and Princess Leia are pursued by Imperials, while Luke trains with Jedi Master Yoda. Luke battles Darth Vader and learns the shocking truth of his parentage.

Movie: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

The Empire prepares to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star. The Rebel fleet counters with a massive attack on the space station. Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in a final climactic duel.

  • Set just after Return of the Jedi, The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis further develops the love story between Han and Leia.
  • In Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, Leia is married to Han and expecting twins. Grand Admiral Thrawn has taken over the Imperial fleet, and is heading for the New Republic.
  • The Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig explores the adventures of lesser-known characters like X-wing fighter pilot Wedge Antilles and Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane.

Disney+ series: The Mandalorian (2019–present)

Beginning five years after The Return of the Jedi, the title character is a lone bounty hunter who goes on the run to protect the Force-sensitive child Grogu.

Disney+ series: The Book of Boba Fett (2021)

Boba Fett is another bounty hunter who appears in The Mandalorian. In this series, he establishes himself as the new crime lord of Jabba the Hutt's former territory.

Disney+ series: Ahsoka (2023)

This series will chronicle Ahsoka's experiences as she travels across the galaxy in search of Thrawn.

  • Two years after the Battle of Jakku Han and Lando are teamed up again in Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel by Daniel José Older. Lando is on the run from an assassin, someone from their past, when he shows up at Han's door.
  • Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher takes place nearly two decades after the Battle of Endor. The Empire is dead and the tattered remnants of Palpatine's forces have fled to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. But for the heroes of the New Republic, danger and loss are ever-present companions.
  • In Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, Leia, now a respected senator of the Republic, must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without.
  • One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, the commanding Captain Phasma remains an enigma. Discover her mysterious history in Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson.

Movie: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Thirty years after Return of the Jedi, Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Han Solo join forces with General Leia Organa to search for Luke Skywalker and fight in the Resistance against Kylo Ren and the First Order.

Movie: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rey seeks the aid of Luke Skywalker, in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order. While General Leia Organa, Finn, and Poe Dameron attempt to escape a First Order attack.

Movie: Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron lead the Resistance's final stand against Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are aided by the return of the Galactic Emperor, Palpatine.

Wowza! This is truly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Star Wars literature. In any case, we've enjoyed this journey through Star Wars history and now we're busy rewatching and rereading all our favorites from this vast universe. Hopefully you are similarly inspired for your own intergalactic mission. And may the force be with you!

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