If you were like me leading up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I was trying to consume all I can to get me ready for the movie. I not only watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens the night before premiere night, I started reading a few canon books to give me some more in depth background of certain characters which not necessarily had to do with The Last Jedi. Honestly though, I will read, watch, theorize anything and everything about Star Wars. I have tried to stick to canon books lately even though there a bunch of Legends books and comics out there. Canon refers to the description from the first issue of Star Wars Insider as
“‘Gospel,’ or canon as we refer to it, includes the screenplays, the films, the radio dramas and the novelizations. These works spin out of George Lucas‘ original stories, the rest are written by other writers. However, between us, we’ve read everything, and much of it is taken into account in the overall continuity. The entire catalog of published works comprises a vast history—with many off-shoots, variations and tangents—like any other well-developed mythology.” (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Canon)
I like the idea of continuity within the Star Wars universe and something about certain events occurring at the same time as other major events during the Skywalker Saga is happening. To think that characters may have crossed paths with other characters during the time period is so awesome and with the audience demanding more background information of these characters, we are able to see how some characters develop into those lovable or villainous characters we love or hate.
The first novel I read to get me ready for The Last Jedi, I started with Thrawn by Timothy Zahn who actually created the character in his Thrawn Trilogy. With the induction of Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon, we got a character first introduced in the Star Wars Legends who has not been seen in any previous Star Wars movies. I did not know much about Thrawn before seeing him in Star War Rebels so I was very excited to get to know more about him like where did he come from and how did an alien who doesn’t seem to be from a Core World rise the ranks of the Imperial Navy because there isn’t anyone else like him. I found myself not being able to put this book down. I think I even finished the book in what felt like less than a week and I usually only read a chapter or two a night before going to bed. I found that Timothy Zahn’s style of writing was very easy to follow and enjoyed the direction he went with the novel not being of Thrawn’s main perspective, but mostly narrated by another Imperial cadet Ensign Eli Vanto. You do follow Thrawn’s perspective here and there thoughout the book but it doesn’t take away from Eli’s story telling which makes Thrawn, the character even more interesting. I actually started to see and side with the idealogy of the Empire and respected how Grand Admiral Thrawn used it to his advantage and all that he accomplished. I for one will be on the lookout for the Zahn’s sequel to Thrawn due out on June 26, 2018 called Thrawn Allegiance with the inclusion of Darth Vader as well!
I’ve always gravitated to the light side or good side when it comes to Star Wars. I imagined myself as a Jedi Knight fighting for justice and peace in the galaxy. I aligned myself with the Rebel Alliances flying in my X-Wing and shooting down ‘eyeballs.’ And, after watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last year, that feeling only deepened even though I did dig those Shoretroopers on Scarif. I instantly liked the two former Guardians of the Whills, Chirrut îmwe and Baze Malbus not only of their conviction and faith but of their close relationship to each other and the banter that comes with knowing each other so well. I craved more stories of the two guardians and was excited to read Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka. I knew that most of the stories that are going to come out after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will precede the events of the movie and I did not mind that. You must remember after Order 66 in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, we really do not have much information what happened until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope. We do have some books and the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels cartoon series, but so many things could of happened in so many planets across the galaxy. In this book, we get to see Imperial occupation of the holy city of Jedha where guardians Chirrut and Baze reside. Rucka is able to capture the banter we see in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story between the two and make it even more enjoyable and endearing. I enjoyed the book because of the simplicity of the story but loved the picture I painted when reading the book of the different characters introduced in the book as well as the vibe of Jedha in the height of the Imperial occupation. It was a short book compared to Zahn’s Thrawn or even Dawson’s Phasma, but definitely would recommend a read.
The last book I read which I finished right before The Last Jedi premiered was the novel by Delilah S. Dawson titled, Phasma. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I wanted more of this badass female chrome armored trooper and Phasma gives me that and more. Similiar to Zahn’s Thrawn, the book isn’t narrated by the subject, Phasma, but is told through stories recounted by a resistance spy named Vi Moradi to a First Order stormtrooper named Captain Cardinal during her “secret” interrogation. I really enjoyed and thought Vi Moradi a fascinating character which to me sums of the idea of the resistance, a person who isn’t really seem of worth especially by the First Order, but does what she can to assist in the resistance. But, really connected with Captain Cardinal and learned a lot from the way he acts when Vi tells him the stories that revolves around Phasma and her particular origins. I think I came to connect and root for Captain Cardinal more than Captain Phasma by the end of the book. It could be the color of his stormtrooper armor though. Phasma’s origins was very eye opening to say the least. And, it made sense of the steps she took to become a trooper in the First Order. SPOILER ALERT (do not finish this sentence if you have not watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi; you have been warned) Because I finished reading the book before the movie, I did not feel cheatedwith her seemingly demise on Supereme Leader Snoke’s flagship, the Supremacy. I understand the fans wanted to see more of Phasma because she did not get much screen time but we did get to see an epic battle between her and Finn on the Supremacy. Sometimes, novels are the only way to get more background and stories of our favorite side characters from the Star Wars universe.
With Thrawn and Phasma, I didn’t see the good vs evil. Republic/Resistance vs the Empire/First Order as a black or white decision. I began to understand the Empire/First Order’s perspective and for the first time of my life, side with some of their ideologies. Grand Admiral Thrawn and Captain Phasma are two great characters and the self titled novels do not disappoint. I would recommend reading both of these novels as fast as you can. Greg Rucka’s Guardians of the Whills is a great novel to read before re-watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as well.
I am currently reading Rebel Rising by Beth Revis following the events after Saw Gerrerra finds a very young Jyn on Lahmu to I assume her imprisonment at the beginning of Rogue One. I have become a huge fan of the film, Rogue One and hope their are more books and comics of the same time period to consume. One last novel I can not wait to start as well is Battlefront II: Inferno Squadron by Christie Goldie which follows the members of the Inferno Squad which takes places right after the destruction of the Death Star. Even though I am focusing on the canon novels, I do hope to peruse the other stories that are now make up the Star Wars Legend genre. If it’s about Star Wars, I will read and watch it just because I want to know everything about everyone and with the canon material threading and intertwining so many stories together, it feels that every new book or movie that is released is another tidbit or morsel of the bigger picture that makes up the Star Wars universe.
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Have you read any Star Wars canon novels? If you have, which ones are your favorite Please feel free to leave a comment below or on our Facebook page here or Instagram page here or our Twitter page here.