Move over, Expanded Universe: This is the ‘Star Wars’ New Canon
The Star Wars franchise has spawned many thrilling sci-fi novels – Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy, James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis novel – but with the release of The Force Awakens, most of the pre-existing expanded universe media is no longer part of the canon storyline. To fill the void, several new Star Wars novels have premiered in the months before and after the release of the seventh movie.
These new novels manage to adapt contemporary issues to fit into the Star Wars universe. If you’ve ever wondered how the Galactic Empire feels about gay marriage, how rebel pilots deal with PTSD or how imperial soldiers rationalized the use of the Death Star to destroy an entire world, then these novels are for you. They also serve to identify some aspects of the Star Wars Legends media that can still be considered canon.Here are three of the biggest Star Wars New Canon novels and what they do for the series:
Star Wars: Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig
After the destruction of the second Death Star, many expected the Empire to fall apart, but things are rarely that simple. The death of The Emperor and Darth Vader has created a massive power vacuum within the Empire’s political structure and everyone from the most ambitious to the most incompetent is vying for a place at the top. Many of the Empire’s remaining heads, from Grand Moffs to the Emperor’s personal advisors, meet to discuss their next plan of action. Meanwhile, members of the Rebel Alliance try to piece their lives back together while still trying to fight the good fight.
The book makes several references to people and places in the Star Wars universe, many of which previously resided in an awkward state of limbo as part of the Star Wars Legends media. From casually mentioning the Nightsisters of Dathomir to tongue-in-cheek references to blue milk, the book manages to let fans of the old canon know they haven’t been forgotten about.
Star Wars: Lost Stars
Every child in the newly formed Galactic Empire wants to grow up to join the imperial navy to fly starships, fight terrorists, and bring peace to the galaxy. But eventually, they must face the grim truth that their Empire is a cruel illusion. Some remain loyal while others choose to fight for freedom. In the end, they’re all forced to fight their former friends, family, and lovers, with the fate of the entire galaxy on the line.
Lost Stars is like the Romeo and Juliet of Star Wars. Two children grow up to join the Imperial Academy, but when the horrors of the Empire come to light they end up on opposite sides of a great conflict. A major theme is how those who have been indoctrinated into the Empire try to justify war crimes like the destruction of Alderaan.
The book presents the events of the original movie trilogy from the Empire’s point of view and continues on until the Empire’s alleged destruction at the battle of Jakku, which will be explored in greater detail during the conclusion of the Aftermath trilogy.
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith, by Paul S. Kemp
Darth Vader is known throughout the galaxy as the Emperor’s unshakable enforcer, bringing the fist of the Empire down on any who would challenge his authority. Imperials officers hate him, storm troopers worship him and rebels fear him, and some just wonder what’s underneath that mask.
Lords of the Sith gives insight into the character of Darth Vader while he is still having doubts about the path that led him to the Dark Side. It explores the strange relationship shared by a Sith master and apprentice, one that will inevitably end with one destroying the other. It also explores the roots of the rebellion and how regular people stand up against the power of Dark Side. It goes a long way in helping understand how easy it was for the Empire to erase the Jedi and the Force from history.
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