ByJames Buxton, writer at
Professional Nerf Herder. Twitter: @JayDBux
James Buxton

So the next episode in the Skywalker saga, Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, is just over two months away and everyone and their mother seems to be getting excited about it. As with any huge franchise, the movie has generated a vast amount of supplementary material before release to allow the fans to grow more familiar with the characters and settings before we’re dropped in it later this year. With several novels, comic books and games on shelves in preparation for The Force Awakens, it can be a hard decision working out what you’ll need to check out before the film hits.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of everything you’ll need to read, watch and play to get the most out of the new movie when it hits theatres.

1. Star Wars: Shattered Empire

First up is Star Wars: Shattered Empire, a four part comic series that documents what happens to our main heroes during the aftermath of the Battle of Endor. As of yet, it’s the only piece of canon literature that gives any hint towards what happened to Luke, Han and Leia after Return of the Jedi. This makes it a definite must-read for anyone wanting to keep up to date on the goings on in a galaxy far far away.

Shattered Empire is currently available as an ongoing four part comic series published by Marvel. It will also be released as a trade paperback in November.

2. Star Wars: Lost Stars

If teen literature is more your thing, then you should definitely check out Lost Stars. In fact, even if it isn’t your thing, you should still pick up a copy because it’s probably the best canon novel out there right now, rivalled only by Dark Disciple and Lords of the Sith.

Lost Stars tells the story of two heroes, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, childhood friends who are separated by the ongoing conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a war that neither of them believe in, following their stories from their early childhood on Jelucan through to the Battle of Jakku, the primary setting of The Force Awakens.

Lost Stars is a truly heartwarming tale that gives the reader a handful of memorable characters and an excellently crafted story as well as giving a further insight into the inner workings of both sides of the war. It also hints towards future events to be seen in The Force Awakens, making it a worthwhile read even if sci-fi romance doesn’t really interest you all that much.

3. Star Wars: Battlefront & Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company

The Force Awakens notwithstanding, EA’s attempt at rejuvenating the Battlefront franchise has taken the top spot in regards to Star Wars hype. The game promises to be a return to the classic [Star Wars: Battlefront](tag:2684021) formula as well as a step forward into a new generation of Star Wars.

Battlefront will be set almost exclusively during the Original Trilogy with future DLC hinting at other periods, including the Battle of Jakku, which will be available for free in early December.

Much like Lost Stars, Battlefront also provides us with an image of the state of the Empire following the Battle of Endor, particularly during the final battle of the Galactic Civil War on Jakku. Further DLC has been confirmed which will likely start to fill in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens over the coming months.

The tie-in novel, Twilight Company, tells the same story from a more personal point of view, focusing on a smaller band of rebels rather than the battle as a whole. It tells the story of the Twilight Company, a small force tasked with a solo attack against an Imperial base using nothing but their wits. The novel looks set to be a solid addition to the canon that will hark back to some of the classic Expanded Universe stories.

4. Star Wars: Aftermath

Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath is an unusual take on the Star Wars franchise, introducing brand new characters on a brand new planet with just brief hints towards the goings on of our heroes. While many critics disliked the book for its writing style and hidden agenda, I personally found it an excellent read that provided a much broader look into the galaxy following Jedi. The main story itself rarely involves itself with the political state of the Empire, however the brief interludes that feature every few chapters make up for it. The interludes manage to allow Wendig to create a cohesive story without sacrificing plot for the sake of fan service. Characters such as Han and Chewie, Mon Mothma and a certain Mandalorian bounty hunter all make appearances and help paint a picture of what to expect from The Force Awakens. While Wendig’s style may not be to your liking, Aftermath is worth picking up purely for these little snippets of information.

5. Star Wars: C-3PO #1

And finally, C-3PO’s solo comic adventure, C-3PO #1, which hits shelves in December, wraps up this list by answering the question everyone’s been asking: why does Threepio have a red arm? This one off comic promises to give us the answer we crave plus much more, because let’s face it, you can never have enough of C-3PO.

[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) promises to be an adventure and a half without any help, but if you really want to get the most out of it, picking up just one of these is going to do the job.

Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens hits cinemas on December 17th in the UK and December 18th Worldwide.


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