Star Wars fans know that there’s a lot of new content on the horizon. With the arrival of Disney Plus and the Mandalorian TV show, there are huge amounts of buzz surrounding the Lucasfilm property. However, the main event is of course the finale of the latest trilogy that has created a new generation of Star Wars fans.
The Rise of Skywalker is set to be released in December and everyone is anxiously waiting to see how this epic saga will conclude. After this there’s going to be quite a large gap until we get to the next Star Wars film, but that produces a great opportunity to explore the wider continuity. Fans can jump into the video games, animated series, or even the comic books to see the story continue. If you need that dose of a galaxy far, far away right now though, there’s enough time to start reading the canon novels! So here are 10 books to read ahead of The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: Aftermath launches a brilliant trilogy of books that explores the state of the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. It’s a cracking read for any Star Wars fan and is littered with extra details about the turmoil across the galaxy; visiting locations and characters from the films in various interludes within each carefully crafted chapter.
The story is really centered on a group of misfits, gathered together by chance in order to foil the creation of a new Empire. With a bounty hunter, an ex-imperial, a rebel pilot, a wild droid and a young inventor, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The sequels continue this journey and starts to become far more connected to the wider universe, even introducing characters such as Han Solo into the mix. To really understand how the First Order eventually rose Aftermath is a must read.
With Matt Smith starring in The Rise of Skywalker in an undisclosed role, there’s been heaps of speculation as to who the former time lord will be portraying. There’s talk that after his disappearance in Rebels, Smith might actually be playing the imperial alien known as Thrawn; an extremely dangerous threat for any form of resistance in the galaxy.
The veteran leader has had his journey well documented across the Timothy Zahn books that have made the New York Times number 1 bestseller spot! The first Thrawn novel follows the young man as he is taken in by the Empire and given the most elite training. It shows the resistance he faced within the organisation and his sudden and controversial rise. It also demonstrates just how dangerous an enemy he could be in live action.
8 Lords Of The Sith
It’s no secret that the Emperor is returning in some form in the latest galactic film. His villainous laugh at the end of the trailer was a clear message that we should expect a revival from Palpatine. The prequel trilogy showed the rise of the evil Sith lord and the original trilogy showed him at his absolute height until his apparent death at the hands of Darth Vader.
It’s important to see the duo at their most powerful however, to understand the threat that faces Rey and the team. Lords of the Sith showcases the two warriors stranded on a planet which faces an insurgency. Vader and Sidious are tracked down and hunted, with the precarious allies having to work together to ensure their survival in an almost impossible situation. It’s an interesting exploration of their relationship and Palpatine’s own willpower and values.
The chrome stormtrooper was very much an underrated element of the new trilogy. Captain Phasma has been featured in two films thus far, but it seems she has now met her demise in The Last Jedi. However, there’s always hope that this isn’t the end for the First Order trooper and that she will make another appearance, miraculously surviving her scrape with death.
With the possibility that Phasma could return, especially with J.J. Abrams at the helm, it makes sense that fans check out the book based on the character. It fleshes out her backstory much further and gives readers a true sense of the woman behind the mask. She’s an interesting personality and it’s a shame that what has been shown in the novel hasn’t been transferred onto the big screen successfully.
6 The Force Awakens
If you’re preparing for The Rise of Skywalker through reading the canon books and want a completely different perspective on the stories that we’ve already seen, then it’s worth checking out the novelizations of the films. First up is The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars sequel within the newest trilogy produced by Disney.
In the book you’ll travel back to Jakku and follow Rey’s journey from scavenger to Jedi hero. As the story unfolds you’ll understand some of the choices that the characters make through a further development of their inner processes. Finn in particular is fleshed out as he moves from his life as a stormtrooper to part of the resistance. All of the locations are also fleshed out further, giving unique details for fans to obsess over.
5 The Last Jedi
To continue on from this, the novelization of The Last Jedi also supports this quest to better understand the two films that are in this new trilogy. In order to really prepare for the finale it’s great to do a deep dive into this new mythology, to get into the details of the state of the Resistance and the First Order.
The book does an especially good job of helping us to understand all of the working of the force throughout the film. The relationship between Luke and Rey and Kylo and Rey are explored in much more detail and we can get a better look at what would have been the emotional directions within the film script; especially for the more dramatic moments which get more of an explanation, such as when Luke is about to kill a young Ben Solo.
4 Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
The campaign of Battlefront II was fun but left a lot to be desired from fans. The state of Star Wars video games isn’t too good at the minute, but there are a few concepts within the game which may be used within The Rise of Skywalker. The plot is essentially prompted by a hologram droid that carries out Palpatine’s dying orders. This could be a way that the Sith lord returns in the future.
The book Inferno Squad is a great way to explore some of the other concepts that play into the game. The novel follows the elite squad which is led by the imperial hero Iden Versio as she struggles with the partial defeat of the Empire. It’s an interesting exploration of what life is like to live on a planet that’s within the clutches of the Empire and helps to further explain the character decision made in the game’s campaign itself.
Rey and the crew are set to explore the ruins of the Death Star in The Rise of Skywalker. There have been two destroyed versions of this massive weapon of war but it seems that it will be the second one that they are exploring. However, to find out more about the creation of this monstrous device, Catalyst might be a great place to start.
While Catalyst isn’t quite as compelling as Rebel Rising in terms of the character development within it, it does at least show the initial journey of Galen Erso as he struggled with designing such a horrific piece of technology for this terrible organisation. It shows his life with the Empire and is a great prequel to Rogue One, perfect for any fans of this film in the series.
2 Resistance Reborn
This is one of the most important novels on this list if you want to be prepared for The Rise of Skywalker. The book picks up right after The Last Jedi and is pitched as part of the journey towards the final film in the franchise. It follows all of our heroes as they deal with the consequences and the fallout of the defeat of the Resistance at the hands of the First Order.
It details the way that the crew rebuild what they have lost and work from the hope that is formed from a brand new Jedi that’s leading them into a brighter future. It’s designed to specifically set up some of the themes in this film, as there’s said to be a time different between episode 8 and 9; this novel will be a great way to bridge this gap and fill in any necessary details that are of importance to the story.
1 Black Spire
This is one of the most recent releases from the Del Rey books that are working on the many Star Wars novels and is designed to set up the Galaxy’s Edge experience at the Walt Disney Parks. If you’re prepping to make a trip to the galaxy far far away, or want an in canon story which is fun and continues to develop the world, then this may be the book for you.
While it does feature some of the famous characters, including General Leia, there’s a larger focus on a set of new characters. What’s most interesting about this though is that in the general timeline this book is set the closest to The Rise of Skywalker. It’s therefore useful to read this to get a greater understanding of the state of the galaxy as the film draws ever closer.
NEXT: Star Wars: The 10 Best Canonical Star Wars Books, Ranked