Good news, Star Wars fans! The trailer for The Last Jedi has left us with more questions than answers, just as all the best trailers do, but Lucasfilm is ready to give you those answers! When The Force Awakens was released in 2015, Lucasfilm built up to that cinematic event with a range of tie-in novels and comics under the banner 'Journey To The Force Awakens.' Now, Lucasfilm, Del Rey, and Marvel have announced that they're revisiting that approach. Get ready for the 'Journey To The Last Jedi'!
'The Legends Of Luke Skywalker' By Ken Liu
Ken Liu is one of the hottest talents in modern sci-fi and fantasy, and now he's joining #StarWars! The franchise has a history of attracting some of the best writers, including the likes of Timothy Zahn and Matthew Stover, but this time Lucasfilm and Del Rey have truly outdone themselves. To give you an idea of the author's prestige, Liu's short story The Paper Menagerie is the first work of fiction to win the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards.
In a touch that's sure to delight Star Wars fans, Liu took the opportunity to proclaim his love for Star Wars. Incredibly, it seems that the Chinese translation of The Empire Strikes Back was the first full-length sci-fi book Liu ever read!
"Empire literally blew my mind. I had never seen a world like this: where magic and technology were both vital; where ancient archetypes, some of which I recognized from Chinese myths and legends, pulsed with a futuristic sheen; where hope was not easy, but was always the right choice.
The Star Wars universe was where I wanted to live. It was home."
So far, the tie-in comics and novels have deliberately kept Luke as something of a side character. Now, it seems, that's about to change.
'Leia' By Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray is no stranger to the Star Wars universe; she's already proven herself with two fantastic novels, Lost Stars and Bloodline. Now she's set to return to our beloved Galaxy Far, Far Away with a Young Adult novel simply titled Leia.
To be released less than a year since the death of Carrie Fisher, many fans will approach this as a tribute to the character. But Claudia Gray is definitely the right woman for the job; Bloodline was largely from Leia's point-of-view, and it was easily one of the best in the current range of Star Wars novels. Another positive aspect of this announcement is that Gray is no stranger to the difficult challenges of writing an official tie-in to a film that's still in post-production! As she explained when discussing Bloodline:
“With my original work, the imaginary universe works the way I think it works, and nobody has ‘moved things around’ without me knowing. But with Star Wars, there's so much out there—and, of course, since this was a pre-TFA novel that had to be written pre-TFA's release, I didn't even exactly know what the obstacles were! My editors did a great job of guiding me through it, but still, there were things I couldn't understand fully until I'd seen the movie. Fortunately, we did get to do revisions post-film. Nothing major needed to change, thanks to my editors' hard work, but there were points that needed to be polished or refined.”
Welcome back, Claudia Gray.
'Phasma' By Delilah S. Dawson
A popular fantasy writer, Delilah S. Dawson has previously published Star Wars short stories in Star Wars Insider. Now, at last, she's set to write her first full novel, Phasma. So far, the rise of the First Order has been cloaked in secrecy; we've had tantalizing hints about the Order in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy and Claudia Gray's Bloodline, but that's about it. Now, at last, Lucasfilm is set to reveal the First Order's secrets.
Who is Captain Phasma? How did she become part of the First Order? How did she rise through the ranks? Dawson's novel is sure to answer those questions, giving us our first in-depth look at life in the First Order. What's more, Phasma's story is also going to be fleshed out in comics. Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Marco Checchetto are returning to Star Wars for a five-issue Captain Phasma miniseries, exploring the character's journey from The Force Awakens through to The Last Jedi. What, you really thought a trash compactor could stop Captain Phasma?
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If you're getting hyped for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, then these are the books you're looking for. These novels are sure to reveal the secrets of some of the most important, and beloved, characters in our Galaxy Far, Far Away. What's more, all these are being published under the watchful eyes of the Lucasfilm Story Group - meaning they'll have been carefully coordinated, and will drop some tantalizing hints for The Last Jedi.