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It’s May the 4th, the day to celebrate all things Star Wars. But what if you’ve seen the Original Trilogy and Force Awakens (and even the prequels, if that’s your cup of tea) so many times that you’re looking for something new? If you’ve never jumped into the world of Star Wars novels, now may be the right time.
Mind you, the pickings are pretty slim now for canon Star Wars novels (though there are some good ones, like Aftermath and the just-released Bloodline), but you can always read some of the classics from the Expanded Universe, now known as Star Wars Legends. Here are four books you need to pick up this Star Wars Day. Just remember that they’re no longer considered canon, just darn good stories.
Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry
Thanks in part to the 1990s video game (and lots of merchandise) of the same name, this is probably the one Star Wars book many people can name above anything else.
The book itself fills in a lot of blanks between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, including Leia’s search for frozen Han and Luke’s growth into Jedi Knight-dom. The main storyline, about a challenger to Darth Vader’s status as the Emperor’s apprentice, is also quite interesting, but ultimately doesn’t connect to the films.
Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
This story tells us much more about what Palpatine told Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, confirming that Plageuis was Palpatine’s Sith master.
We learn how Plageuis gained power over life and death and about his relationship to Palpatine. It gives a lot of insight into the world of the Sith, and was referenced a lot as fans debated the true identity of Supreme Leader Snoke.
Star Wars: X-wing Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole
The first of a series of X-wing books, a favorite among many fans.
It’s definitely fun for those who enjoy the Rebel pilot aspect of the movies, with a focus on Wedge Antilles and his crew, and takes place after Return of the Jedi.
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
The start of the much-beloved Thrawn trilogy, focusing on an imperial admiral, provides the scope of the movies, and in 1991, it was a rare bright spot in the Star Wars world eight years after the trilogy ended, before anyone thought we’d ever see more Star Wars on the big screen again. Read more about the series' legacy here.
What was your favorite Star Wars Expanded Universe novel? Let us know in the comments!
Four for the Fourth: A quartet of Legends books to read this Star Wars Day
May 9, 2016, 7:52 PM EDT (Updated)