Star Wars Books For Newcomers To The Legends Canon | Comic Years
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Star Wars Books For Newcomers To The Legends Canon

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BY June 6, 2022

Where does one begin with the growing library of Star Wars Books? If you’re someone who has no experience reading these, then you’re going to have a lot to choose from. Overall, the Star Wars books explore two general areas. Firstly, we have the Canon novels that Disney determined when they purchased the franchise. The books that don’t fall into canon are considered Legends novels. Of all of the latter, there are countless ways the core characters continue their journeys. Favorites like Boba Fett, Han, Luke, and Leia, plus so many more get more action on-page then on-screen. So, with that said, where do you start? We’re here to help you find your way through Legends canon with this list of the best Star Wars novels for newcomers to this side of the galaxy.

What is Legends Canon or Main Canon?

Star Wars Books Image Credit: Disney Publishing Group

Let’s quickly address a question we see a lot online. In October 2012, the Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm. At that point, Disney became responsible for content within the Star Wars media landscape. That includes games, movies, and yes, novels. Overall, the stories that occurred before Disney began controlling the official canon became Legends canon. This is not a multiverse situation. Instead, they are two continuations of Star Wars stories that do not co-exist.

I think it’s tricky to see something get this messy for newcomers. Of course, if you only watch the movies, then all of this is going to seem so confusing. Whether or not you dive into every novel that’s available is up to you. Really, you don’t need to worry about reading Legends novels to extend the movie canon. Instead, think of them as “what if” moments within the Star Wars universe.

Some elements of the Legends canon carried over into Disney canon. That said, the actual stories themselves did not become Disney canon. So, where does someone start with all of this? If you’re confused, then let’s make it easy and just recommend the best Star Wars novels within the Legends canon.

Best Star Wars Books to Start With for Movie-Only Fans

best Star Wars novels legends canon Image Credit: Disney Publishing Group

If we’re talking Legends canon, then the best Star Wars novels to start with are the original Thrawn Trilogy by author Timothy Zahn. These include Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992), and The Last Command (1993). The three novels take place five years after the events of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. If you watched that movie and wanted more from these characters, then that’s what you get with these books. Of course, not everyone came into their love of Star Wars during the Original Trilogy.

For Prequel folks, there are plenty of options as well. I have a few favorites that include Master and Commander by Claudia Gray. The novel explores the time spent between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before the events of Episode I. Darth Plagueis by James Luceno goes even further in Star Wars history. This novel takes place during the heigh of Darth Plagueis’ power. Of course, this is a character briefly mentioned in Episode III. That minor mention led to a great book fans should read.

The recent novels published around the Sequel Trilogy are all canon. Those films and their books released since the acquisition of Star Wars by Disney don’t fall into Legends territory. That said, if you’re looking for something in that area, I don’t mind dropping a few recommendations. Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse is a great look into post-The Last Jedi activities before Episode IX. Bloodline by Claudia Gray is also wonderful. The novel’s activities occur six years before 2015’s The Force Awakens and follows Leia Organa as she navigates troubles brewing in the Galactic Senate. Canon or not, the Legends novels are an amazing ride.

Legends Canon is Still Well Worth the Adventure

best Star Wars novels legends canon Image Credit: Disney Publishing Group

If you’re someone who only wants to read Disney canon, then the Legends novels might seem option. That said, they’re still a ton of fun to explore. The way that I see it is that a good story is a good story. I’d argue many of the Legends novels are some of the best Star Wars stories we have. There’s plenty of room to explore these without feeling like you’re just reading fan fiction.

Plus, the array of talented authors who wrote for the Star Wars books is vast. Overall, some of the most talented sci-fi and fantasy minds of the last quarter century contribute work. For someone who loves Star Wars, the novels offer more of what you love. There’s no reason to skip these – especially if you’re already an avid reader. You have ample room to explore the past novels. Plus, the upcoming lineup of media for The High Republic Phase 2 is exciting. Those novels are canon to the Disney-verse. Of course, whatever you choose to explore in Star Wars is up to you. I’m not one to gatekeep the fandom.

If you have a favorite book or opinion on the best Star Wars Books of the Legends canon, then let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading Comic Years for all things gaming, comics, and pop culture. Don’t forget – we cover all things Star Wars here on the site. If you’re not already, then follow us on social media!

Featured Image Credit: Disney Publishing Group

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Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.

          

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