The Internet basically exploded when Chuck Wendig announced he’d written a Star Wars novel set between Return of the Jedi and the upcoming film, The Force Awakens. Titled Aftermath, the book joins the new (“official”) Star Wars canon, which ignores decades of storylines outside of George Lucas’ movies and animated TV shows.
But hey, just because a book or comic series is no longer canon doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. There are plenty of Star Wars books that were considered non-canon long before the shakeup, like the Star Wars Infinities graphic novels boasting alternate timelines and what-if style stories. So while you’re waiting for Aftermath (and the film premiere of The Force Awakens, too), check out these thrilling Star Wars books to help you pass the time. Canon or not, they’re still awesome.
1. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
Deemed responsible for making Star Wars popular again in the early ‘90s, this series takes place after Return of the Jedi. In the trilogy, the Rebellion is still battling to rid the galaxy of the remaining Imperials. But an admiral has other plans, preparing to launch an attack against the Rebellion with a Dark Jedi at his side.
You can also read the novels in graphic novel form thanks to an adaptation by Dark Horse and a collected volume that came out in 2009.
Also Read: Dark Empire, which explores the timeline beyond the movies, shows Luke temporarily falling to the Dark Side and showcases the reappearance of Boba Fett.
2. Death Troopers & Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber
A duology of zombie novels in the Star Wars universe featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca? Yes, please! The first book introduces an experimental contagion that infects a ship carrying violent criminals, while the second novel is a prequel that explores the creation of the virus.
Also Read: Maul: Lockdown, another Star Wars book by Schreiber that takes place before The Phantom Menace … and involves Darth Maul breaking into a massive space prison.
3. The Star Wars: X-Wing Series by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston
As anyone who grew up during the golden age of LucasArts gaming will tell you, the X-Wing games were absolute classics. This series of 10 books follows the exploits of the X-wing pilots, starting with the incredible Rogue Squadron.
Even though there are 10 books in the series, the first four by Michael A. Stackpole tell a single story arc. If you enjoy those, pick up the next three by Aaron Allston, which form their own story arc as well.
4. The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
Taking place eight years before BioWare’s first videogame of the same name, this comic book series features a Padawan training at a Jedi Academy who ultimately becomes an outlaw with the smuggler he had sworn to capture. Why? Well, seeing the Jedi Masters you’ve been training under murder your entire class will make you reevaluate your priorities.
You can pick up the series’ 50-issue run in trade paperbacks and collected omnibuses.
5. Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
Set before The Phantom Menace, Darth Plagueis explores the life of … well, Darth Plagueis. He’s trying to manipulate the midi-chlorians and to go against the Sith tradition of slaying one’s master to gain immortality
Also Read: Millennium Falcon, another book by Luceno that explores a background character … well, kind of a character. The ship does feel like one, doesn’t it?
There are literally hundreds of novels in the Star Wars franchise. Which ones would you recommend? Share in the comments!