A few months ago, Lucasfilm announced plans to publish a series of Star Wars tie-in books for a wide range of readers that would connect the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi to the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. More details emerged this week as the covers and plot synopses for several of the books were officially revealed.
As promised, the list of tie-in books includes general-reader novels, young-adult novels, children’s books, comic books, and even some activity books, all set at particular points in the Star Wars movie continuity. While the books are collectively grouped under the banner of “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” several books chronicle events well before Return of the Jedi, including several stories set before the events of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
The full list of covers and plot synopses can be found at StarWars.com, but, for book blurb and Star Wars enthusiasts alike, here are some of the highlights:
Star Wars: Aftermath (Del Rey), written by Chuck Wendig
As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but is taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.
Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former Rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world — war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.
Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit — to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on the Norra and her newfound allies — her technical genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector — who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.
Star Wars: Lost Stars (Disney-Lucasfilm Press), Young Adult novel written by Claudia Gray
The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy together to become fighter pilots for the glorious Empire is nothing less than a dream come true for the both of them. But Thane sours on the dream when he sees firsthand the horrific tactics the Empire uses to maintain its ironclad rule.
Bitter and disillusioned, Thane joins the fledgling Rebellion — putting Ciena in an unbearable position to choose between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for the man she’s known since childhood.
Now on opposite sides of the war, will these friends turned foes find a way to be together, or will duty tear them — and the galaxy — apart?
Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi — A Luke Skywalker Adventure (Disney-Lucasfilm Press), written by Jason Fry
Luke Skywalker returns in an all-new adventure! In this story, set between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke finds himself drawn to a mysterious planet, where he must use the Force to save a young girl — and survive in a dangerous duel against a strange new villain.
Star Wars: Shattered Empire (5-issue Marvel comic book series), written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Marco Checchetto
The second Death Star has been destroyed. The Emperor is dead. The galaxy celebrates. What happens next? Written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Marco Checchetto, Shattered Empire will help tell the story of what happened following the collapse of the Empire.
While there aren’t any specific release details for each of the books at this point, they’re all expected to hit shelves this fall, during the lead-up to the premiere of The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is directed by J.J. Abrams and is scheduled to hit theaters December 18, 2015.