The latest blockbuster hit from Lucasfilm, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has wowed fans with its originality and creativity. That's all the more remarkable, given that the ending was never truly in doubt — the Death Star plans are safely transmitted, and the iconic group of Rebels become martyrs. One of the reasons for the film's incredible success, though, is surely the way Rogue One blends a pretty predictable tale with whole new elements, while tying the threads of the Star Wars franchise together in such a wonderfully efficient way.
But we were left with a lot of tantalizing questions, and even more hinted-at backstories. Just why did Saw Gerrera split off from the rest of the Rebel Alliance? Why did he abandon Jyn Erso? Who are the Guardians of the Whills, and what kind of trouble were they causing for the Empire? The film and novelization gave us some tantalizing hints, but that's about it.
Now, that's about to change.
The Backstories Are About To Be Revealed!
Lucasfilm has just announced two new Star Wars novels — and both are part of the backstory for #RogueOne! Rebel Rising and Guardians of the Whills are dedicated to revealing some pretty major backstories.
Rebel Rising is focused in on the relationship between Jyn Erso and Saw Gerrera. The novel Catalyst showed how Gerrera first crossed paths with the Erso family, and we know he fulfilled his promise to look after Rey when Galen was captured by the Empire. The backstory was described in detail in the novelization of Rogue One, but it's not time for us to see this relationship for ourselves.
Meanwhile, Guardians of the Whills is authored by Greg Rucka, a skilled writer who's worked on previous Star Wars comics and novels. Set on Jedha, it's focused on the characters of Chirrut and Baze, and is sure to reveal some of the movie's most tantalizing mysteries. To give you an idea of just how important these characters are, Donnie Yen — who played Chirrut — is still forbidden from mentioning his character's backstory! It's clear that the Guardians of the Whills are a crucial part of Lucasfilm's future plans for Star Wars, so this novel is going to be an important one.
Where Rebel Rising is a young adult novel, Guardians of the Whills is middle-grade. It's going to show the two Guardians' initial attempts to resist the Empire, and their uneasy alliance with Saw Gerrera when the Rebel finally arrives on the doomed planet.
Further Developing the Character of Saw Gerrera
There's a strange sense in which Saw Gerrera is becoming the most important character in Star Wars, in that his presence binds the different strands of the franchise together. Introduced in the Clone Wars animated series, Saw has already returned in #StarWarsRebels, while he's also being embraced by the novels. His story transcends almost every medium; given the Rogue One comic is set to include deleted scenes that are still to be considered canon, even the comics may be getting in on the act!
In this case, it's clear that the two novels are going to flesh out some truly important aspects of Saw's story. We'll be seeing his struggle against the Empire from the inside, and his tense but paternal relationship with Jyn; then, we'll be seeing the launch of his campaign on Jedha, and just how he wound up locked in a brutal guerrilla war in the Temple City.
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The Star Wars franchise has probably the best continuity I've ever seen, easily outpacing its closest competitor, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These two novels look set to be a welcome addition, fleshing out the wider Star Wars universe and giving much-needed backstory for Rogue One. Although they're both aimed at younger readers, previous young adult novels (including those by Greg Rucka) have been top-rate, so these are must-reads for Star Wars fans!
Are you planning to pick up these two books?
(Source: StarWars.com; Poll Image Credit: Lucasfilm)