5 Star Wars Novels That Had More Impact Than You Think — A Guest Blog by Cassie Phillips
After Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, many fans hoped they would touch upon characters and plots from the Expanded Universe (EU). Disney, however, wanted to create an original story and script, something that would be difficult as the original EU covered a century after the events of The Return of the Jedi. Eventually, Disney placed all of these novels into a separate category—Legends—to make way for their own expanded universe. With that said, Disney isn’t completely turning away from Legends. In fact they’ve reintroduced some fan favorites like Thrawn back into the universe.
While not all of the plotlines and characters will make it to canon, many of them had a larger impact on the current series than you might realize. So whether you want to look for potential clues in the books or just want something Star Wars related between movies, you should check out these books. They’re all available as e-books as well, so you can download them even if you’re in geo-restricted areas with a good Virtual Private Network service.
Legacy of the Force
Technically, this isn’t a single book; it’s a series of nine books following Han and Leia’s son Jacen Solo. As the series progresses, Jacen slowly turns to the dark side, eventually joining the Sith in order to take over the galaxy. Sound familiar? It’s very similar to the back story of Kylo Ren. While Jacen’s turn to the dark side starts differently, he still follows the same dark path. Eventually he crosses a line where there’s no chance of redemption.
It’s a gripping series and shows how someone can go from being a young, hopeful Jedi (trained under Luke Skywalker, no less) and turn into a Sith.
There’s been plenty of speculation surrounding Darth Plagueis; however, he’s always been a bit of a mystery. Most of the movies mention him in passing. This book follows his rise and fall and gives more insight into the character of Palpatine and Darth Sidious. The book also explains Plagueis’ involvement in Padme’s rise to power as well as Anakin’s birth.
While technically not canon, the newer novel Tarkin (by the same author) does take some of the elements and make them official. One of the most interesting is the ability and knowledge to create life.
Secrets of the Jedi
Unlike other books that focus on missions and battles, this one revolves around the sacrifices Jedi have to make, especially when it comes to love. For those who questioned why Anakin’s love for Padme would turn him to the dark, this is the book to read. It shows how three different Jedi (Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Anakin) handle love and highlights the difference between Anakin and the other two. While this is a novel for middle readers, it still offers an interesting perspective to the events of the Clone Wars.
Jedi Academy Trilogy
After the defeat of the Empire, Luke Skywalker seeks to rebuild the Jedi Order. Unfortunately, it’s not easy as he has to face an evil force ghost who seeks to manipulate Kyp Durron. Things take a turn for the worst when Durron gets his hands on the Sun Crusher, a ship capable of destroying the entire system. Does the Sun Crusher sound familiar? You’re not just imagining it. The Starkiller Base shares the same destructive power; it’s just much larger. They both also destroy suns to blow up entire systems. Then, of course, there’s the story of Luke attempting to restart the Jedi Order. In both versions, some of his students would turn to the dark side. At least in the books he didn’t go into exile.
John Jackson Miller
After the fall of the Republic, Obi-Wan goes into hiding on Tatooine. There he takes on the name “Ben.” As much as he stays away from the residents of the planet, he finds himself drawn to them and attempts to help once tension breaks out between the Tusken Raiders and normal residents.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the story is its departure from the standard Star Wars genre. While there are definitely sci-fi elements and familiar characters, it’s a more Western-themed book, complete with marauders, a frontier setting and a wandering stranger. While some would argue the original Star Wars counts as a space Western, Miller was the first to integrate fully a more Western plot with Star Wars.
With dozens of books both in the Legends, it’s almost impossible the current canon stories haven’t borrowed a bit from them. Do you know other ways the Legends stories have affected the current Star Wars franchise? Tell us in the comments below.
About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a freelance technology and entertainment writer. She’s a huge Star Wars fan and loves reading about the huge universe, characters and lore.Powered by Sidelines