Connect with us

Books

The complete Star Wars canon timeline

Five years ago Star Wars was purchased by Disney and became incorporated within their juggernaut of a system. Shortly after that the old universe of novels and comics (known as the Expanded Universe, or EU) was wiped away for a new canon, where this time everything will be equal and all the stories will matter. If you want to get yourself up to date on how we got to where we are today, I wrote a three part history on this very topic:

Since the break from the old EU, the novels of the Star Wars universe have been going strong and steady. For those interested in reading up on what has been going on in a galaxy far far away, I present here a primer of the novels, presented in chronological order (but since many of the novels progress over a long period of time, the placements will be estimates based on when a good chunk of the action takes place). I’ve listed the films as well so that you can understand their placement. In addition to the novels, I’m going to provide a short take on the book and a link to our review (should it exist).

The movies and TV shows are marked by when they take place within the canonical universe. These dates are centered around the Battle of Yavin, which took place at the end of A New Hope. Dates listed are in years Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) or After the Battle of Yavin (ABY).


Prior to Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Cavan Scott
Price: $21.00

Dooku: Jedi Lost (Read full review) – The first audio-drama in the new canon, this story tells the tale of how Dooku left the Jedi Order as told through Asajj Ventress. This story I would have to say this was a great listen. The overall storyline makes sense with how it is laid out and how we jump from one time period in Dooku’s life to the next but I would have loved more. I want more with Dooku as a student. His master-padawan teaching style and how his padawans got along with him. That is a major missing puzzle in his life story and this book dances around it. The performances were generally spot on and a lot of fun. Dooku’s first padawan, Rael Averross, was definitely an audio highlight for me. As the first audio-drama within the new canon I feel this was a home run and I hope they are planning for more of these, but maybe with a physical release possible for those of us collectors of such materials.

Claudia Gray
Price: $14.49
Was: $28.99

Master & Apprentice (Read full review) Taking place shortly after Dooku: Jedi Lost, this is a tale set about 7 years before The Phantom Menace showing a young Obi-Wan with his master Qui-Gon struggling to connect on that Master-Padawan level. This may be my favorite book of the new canon. Rarely have been so enraptured by a Star Wars audiobook that I had to sit down and stop what I was doing just to listen to it. I give it a perfect 10, which I haven’t given to any of the Star Wars books I have reviewed yet. I was practically in tears by the end, which also rarely happens for me. Time may temper my feelings for the book but for right now I recommend you just go and check it out. It’s a fast paced, fun, funny, mystery-action/adventure story, and everything a Star Wars story should be. I’d recommend you seek out the audiobook version as well, but really any version of this book will leave you satisfied.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace [32 BBY]

Terry Brooks, George Lucas and DefaultBrand
Price: $3.88
Was: $25.00

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

E. K. Johnston
Price: $8.99
Was: $17.99

Queen’s Shadow (Read full review) – A look at how Padmé grew from Queen in The Phantom Menace into senator in Attack of the Clones. The book is a political intrigue/personal growth story about a major time period in Padmé’s life. The characters are fascinating, especially Sabé who easily becomes one of my favorite characters from this book. Her story is left unresolved and this makes me want to know what is next in store for her. My only major sticking points are the plot threads which, if not dangling at the end of the story, are still clouded in mystery.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones [22 BBY]

R. A. Salvatore and Star Wars Novels Del Rey
Price: $7.59
Was: $7.99

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

The Clone Wars (movie) [22 BBY]

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

The Clone Wars (TV series) [22 to 19 BBY]

Christie Golden and Del Rey
Price: $8.49
Was: $9.99

Dark DiscipleThis is a novelization of eight episode scripts from cancelled episodes of The Clone Wars TV series, which were written but never fully fleshed out before the show was canceled. It stars Quinlan Vos (a major Legends character who was briefly in The Clone Wars series) and Asajj Ventress (a major character from both Legends and The Clone Wars). Considered a high point of the new canon novels at that point, the story is a romance novel set during the trials of war.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith [19 BBY]

Matthew Stover and Stover, Matthew Woodring
Price: $7.59
Was: $7.99

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

E. K. Johnston
Price: $9.77
Was: $9.99

Ahsoka – This is a YA novel that tells part of Ahsoka’s tale between her time on The Clone Wars and her appearance on Rebels. I enjoyed it but it was a bit of a shorter time span than I was expecting.

James Luceno
Price: $6.89
Was: $9.99

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Read full review) – A prequel to Rogue One, this story tells the backstory of Krennic and Galen Erso, not so much paying attention to Jyn for the majority of the story. Overall, the story isn’t bad. If you were to sit down you could chug through it pretty quickly. But I just felt the story itself was kind of ‘meh’ and I could have done better spending my time reading something else. It also felt like half of a book with the Rogue One novelization taking the place of the other half. Perhaps I’ll like the sequel better.

Paul S. Kemp and Del Rey
Price: $6.99
Was: $9.99

Lords of the Sith – This is a buddy comedy (of sorts?) between Palpatine and Vader as they are stranded on the planet Ryloth, featuring Cham Syndulla, a returning character from The Clone Wars and Rebels.

James Luceno
Price: $9.20
Was: $9.99

Tarkin – This story provides background for Grand Moff Tarkin, seen in A New Hope, as well as appearances in The Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith, and Rebels. This was actually really well constructed, giving us good reasons on why he’s such a dick in the original movie.

Rae Carson
Price: $11.29
Was: $17.99

Most Wanted (Read full Review) – Released in conjunction with the Solo movie, this is a prequel to the movie staring a young Han Solo and Qi’ra. The book ends up being a character-driven action story — something that we don’t always get in the new canon. By the end of the novel we aren’t butting right up to Solo, but we have set Han and Qi’ra on a path to be where we find them at the time of the movie. This is perfect because there are plenty of opportunities for more adventures in this time period (about a year) but still gives us a fulfilling character and story arc.

Solo: A Star Wars Story [13 and 10 BBY]

Mur Lafferty
Price: $13.49
Was: $28.99

Movie Novelization (Read full review) – Instead of being a straight retelling of the movie, this book offers multiple points of view, giving a much more in-depth view of the movie. Overall, I loved the book. Mur’s writing style is smooth and flows perfectly with the movie dialogue that we had been given before. I love all the expanded scenes, specifically the ones from the character’s perspective, getting a bit more on their backstories. And I don’t know what it was, but I love Lando even more now after this book than I did before, and I loved him before. When he shows up in the second half of the book, things kicked into high gear and I couldn’t put it down. Not something I would have anticipated if you asked me back in May after the movie’s release.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV Series) [~11 BBY]

John Jackson Miller
Price: $8.49
Was: $9.99

A New Dawn – The first new canon novel released is a backstory for some of the major characters (Kanan and Hera) from the Rebels TV Series. An entertaining story delving into the backgrounds of two of the main characters of the show.

Beth Revis and Disney Lucasfilm Press
Price: $10.35
Was: $17.99

Rebel Rising (Read full Review) – Presented as a YA novel, this novel definitely did not feel like one. This follows Jyn’s trail during the gap in the beginning of Rogue One until we see her again when Rogue One picks up after the prelude. Overall, the story was alright. A bit dull at times, but I think that is more a result of the format issue than any problems with the writing. How else do you fill in every second of Jyn’s life? She goes from Catalyst, where she is born, directly into Rebel Rising, which leads directly into Rogue One. Pretty much every second of her life is covered, which is rather remarkable figuring she was a completely new character in the Star Wars canon as of late last year. The writing itself was solid and I did find myself engaged by the end of the novel so I can give this a pretty competent rating.

Cassian Andor (TV Series)

Leia: Princess of Alderaan (Read Full Review) – This is a story about Princess Leia set three years before A New Hope as Leia starts to get brought into her father’s rebellion against the Empire. This is an excellent book, written by Claudia Gray who rarely seems to have a misstep, with great character depth. This is a tale about the emergence of a little girl to the prominence of a rebel leader. I would put this as one of the best books of the new canon.

Timothy Zahn
Price: $6.49
Was: $9.99

Thrawn (Read full review) – A beloved Legends character gets brought into the new canon, how could it go wrong? Well, in this instance, it didn’t. This is by far the fastest I have read a Star Wars book in a very long time and I absolutely loved it. The story is fast paced and the characters generally are fantastic. I got into caring for almost everyone and the portrayal of characters that we already know and love (i.e. Tarkin) were spot on. The only thing that was a drawback for the story was Price’s storyline. It often felt like she was ancillary to the story, and no matter how hard Zahn tried to wedge her in there, she was a square peg in a round hole.

Rebels (TV series) [5 to 1 BBY]

Timothy Zahn
Price: $20.48
Was: $28.99

Thrawn: Alliances (Read full Review) – The sequel to the original canon Thrawn novel, we see Thrawn go toe-to-toe with Vader. This book works out as a mystery compared to the first book. What is going on? And how does that secret, when solved, lead to the next mystery? I am keeping a lot of these mysteries vague within the novel because the reveals along the way are so fun that I want the reader to get the full enjoyment out of the book that I did. Overall, I would put this book on par with the first Thrawn novel. It is not better, but it is not worse. They are both fantastic reads and some of the best adult fiction that have been put out in the new canon to date.

Timothy Zahn
Price: $16.29
Was: $28.99

Thrawn: Treason (Read full review) – Finishing off the new canon Thrawn trilogy, Zahn is back to write another adventure of Thrawn’s during the Rebels TV show. Thrawn is tasked to solve a supply chain problem that Krennic is running into trying to get his Operation: Stardust up and operational. This small problem obviously turns into something much bigger that has threats to the whole Empire. I would say that Thrawn: Treason read like the last two Thrawn novels. If you like Thrawn, then you will like this book. If you had issues with the last book, Thrawn: Alliances, which I know some people did, then I think this book picks back up the quality and overall is a lot stronger novel. I would say this is my second favorite of the three books just after the first Thrawn novel. The story had some problems, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [10 and 0 BBY]

Alexander Freed
Price: $9.99

Movie Novelization (Read full review) – Typically movie novelizations, especially Star Wars movie novelizations are pretty “meh”. This one was something different though. This novelization is amazingly awesome. The storyline of the Death Star is carried through these two novels and while Catalyst felt rather rote at times, Rogue One has the benefit of being polished over by many writers before being transformed into a major blockbuster movie and THEN being converted into a novel. The story has had a lot of hands on it, and it shows. Not in how muddled it is, which it isn’t, but by how polished it feels. The novelization is able to convey all of the aspects of the story that the movie wasn’t, or couldn’t, portray and Freed does it remarkably well.

Episode IV: A New Hope [0 ABY]

Alexandra Bracken and Disney Lucasfilm Press
Price: $10.39
Was: $17.99

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Renée Ahdieh, Meg Cabot, Pierce Brown, Nnedi Okorafor, Sabaa Tahir
Price: $18.99
Was: $35.00

From a Certain Point of View (Read full Review) – A compilation of 40 short stories by more than 40 authors that retell A New Hope from characters across the movie even extending into the other movies who wasn’t seen onscreen for Ep. IV. The stories range from really great to really terrible. I had to switch from the text to the audiobooks just to get through some of the more terrible stories.

Christie Golden
Price: $5.99
Was: $9.99

Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (Read full review) – This is another video game tie in novel, this time with the current Battlefront II. And I know that a LOT of people absolutely adore this book. I felt that the novel is extremely well written with characters I could usually get behind. I felt invested in the main characters’ lives, including the main Dreamers, and their nuanced psychologies had me believing in them as characters. However, there were several problems I had with the story. But in the end, the problems weren’t big enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

Kevin Hearne and Del Rey
Price: $5.99
Was: $9.99

Heir to the Jedi – A slower, self-contained Luke Skywalker story set shortly after A New Hope as he is trying to get a handle on his Force abilities. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it. It’s more of a character study than anything else.

Alexander Freed and Alexander Freed
Price: $8.49
Was: $9.99

Battlefront: Twilight Company – Although this is a video game tie-in novel, I found it incredibly interesting, following a Rebellion squad through various conflicts during the Original Trilogy. One of my favorites actually in the new canon.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back [3 ABY]

Adam Gidwitz and Disney Lucasfilm Press
Price: $9.45
Was: $17.99

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Claudia Gray
Price: $9.64
Was: $9.99

Lost Stars – A YA novel that is astoundingly long, yet it is one of the best canon novels to date regardless of publishing category. The novel focuses on a pair of star-crossed lovers as they traverse through the Original Trilogy.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi [4 ABY]

Tom Angleberger and Disney Lucasfilm Press
Price: $11.79
Was: $17.99

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Alphabet Squadron (Read full review) – This book is set in the brief period after Return of the Jedi and the Battle of Jakuu set at 5 ABY. It is a re-imagining of the X-Wing series, which were one of the hallmarks of the old Legends canon. This book had some problems for me, but also things that I loved about it. We had callbacks to the original novelization of Star Wars, to Rogue One, to Rebels, and even a reference to The Avengers. It had the makings of a great story, but it just didn’t click for me. The aftermath of Operation: Cinder is a story I felt needed to be told, but it didn’t work. I’m hoping the next two novels in the series can bounce back from this, especially since I know how great an author Freed can be in the Star Wars universe.

Chuck Wendig and Del Rey
Price: $6.89
Was: $9.99

Aftermath (Read full review) – The first post-Return of the Jedi novel released that introduced a whole host of new characters that proceed on through the trilogy. Generally panned from what I could tell due to the writing style and other issues with the story, I actually generally enjoyed it. The characters were intriguing and I could stand to see more of them.  The writing style didn’t bother me in the least — it added something different to the mix, something that I can get behind. It also sped up the feel of the novel and got the action scenes really moving.

Chuck Wendig and Wendig Chuck
Price: $6.89
Was: $9.99

Life Debt: Aftermath (Read full review) – The follow up to Aftermath, Life Debt is a fun, in-depth view of the Star Wars galaxy post-Return of the Jedi, and at 430 pages, also one of the longest Star Wars novels to date. But don’t fret about the length, it’s far from a trudge to get through. I much preferred the writing style in the first Aftermath book but I think this story was much tighter and flowed a hell of a lot better.

Empire’s End: Aftermath (Read full review) – The final book in the Aftermath trilogy and what a fantastic addition it was. Easily the best of the three and one of my favorite books of the new canon. Out of the 100+ books in the entire Star Wars pantheon, which includes all of the Legends Universe, I only recall tearing up a handful of times and it definitely happened here. I cared about these characters. I liked them for the most part. And I wanted various characters to “win” regardless of which side they were on. 

Daniel José Older
Price: $6.44
Was: $9.99

Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel (Read full Review) – Here is a Han and Lando novel that ties in the new Solo movie with the characters from the Original Trilogy. Overall, my favorite part of the story was the characters. It felt like a return to the old “western” style adventures of Han and Lando that were just a joy to read (and still are a joy to read). The story was unremarkable but that wasn’t really what makes this type of novel compelling. You go into this type of book expecting an action/adventure story with great characters and that is exactly what you get.

The Mandalorian (TV Series) [7 ABY maybe]

Delilah S. Dawson
Price: $20.57
Was: $28.99

Phasma (Read full Review) – This is the backstory on everyone’s favorite shiny stormtrooper leader. Overall, the story is good to great. It really picks up speed towards the latter half and I really got into it. The writing style is a bit rough for me though. Several phrases are repeated throughout the story that don’t need to be repeated. I feel this could have used a couple of more passes through an editor to smooth out the wrinkles, but it’s not too bad. I would be greatly interested to see what she can write as she hones her skills. Her story construction is spot on and I feel that Phasma is an intricately constructed story that really pays off in the end.

Claudia Gray and Del Rey
Price: $8.49
Was: $9.99

Bloodline – A Leia-centric story written by the same author of Lost Stars, Claudia Grey. It takes place six years before The Force Awakens and is partially about the formation of the Resistance. Not too bad. The first half felt useless to me and I wondered why the author went through so much pains to describe it until we get to the second half and everything starts making sense.

Landry Q. Walker and Disney Lucasfilm Press
Price: $7.99
Was: $12.99

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens – Volume 1 – This rather interesting entry is not really a novel but a collection of short stories based on the aliens seen in Maz Kanata’s castle during The Force Awakens. This book harkens back to the story collections in the Legends Universe like Tales of the Empire, Tales of the New Republic, and Tales of the Bounty Hunters. Fun little stories but often having no impact on anything. If you missed this one, you didn’t miss much.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens [34 ABY]

Alan Dean Foster
Price: $9.20
Was: $9.99

Movie novelization – Pretty much a straight up retelling of the movie. Nothing overly special.

The Legends of Luke Skywalker (Read full Review) – This book is a series of short stories set up with a framing story where the characters within that frame are relating stories that they had heard about Luke Skywalker over the course of the novel, making it unique among the short story compilations. Overall, this is the first audiobook I have listened to that I actually didn’t want to listen to. I despised getting back in the car for my long commute, knowing that this story was what awaited me on the drive — I hated it that much. It’s one thing to make a not good book, but this is a book doesn’t actually tell any real stories in the Star Wars canon. Who thought this was a good idea? The only redeeming value for this book was that it was short; only ~6 hours on audiobook. You could say “but this is a YA book,” however in this new publishing world, that doesn’t really hold water since many of Lucasfilm’s best books have been under the YA banner.

Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, John Jackson Miller
Price: $6.62
Was: $9.99

Canto Bight (Read full Review) – This is a novel about the casino seen briefly in The Last Jedi. It is a series of short stories set shortly before the movie. Overall, the book is a roller coaster. Each story lagged in the beginning and eventually picked up speed until I didn’t want to get off, but then it bottomed out again at the beginning of the next story. Fortunately, since these were longer stories I had more time to enjoy and soak in the narrative. And even though the stories don’t have any (noticeable) impact on the movies, they were fantastic stories; ones with characters that I want to see more of in the future. If I had to chose between getting a backstory of a film character or getting more stories like these, I choose more stories like these, please.

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi [34 ABY]

Jason Fry
Price: $18.29
Was: $28.99

Movie novelization (Read full review) – If I had to rate this novelization I would place it as my second favorite behind Rogue One and that is only because the novelization of Rogue One lifted that movie so much higher than it had been before. The Last Jedi novelization “suffers” from the great baseline of the movie, which (in my opinion) it would be difficult to greatly improve upon. But Fry manages, and much to the betterment of the movie. If you have a loved one on the fence about The Last Jedi, or perhaps you are one yourself, then take a dive into the novelization, it will likely pull you through to the light side of the Force.

Delilah S. Dawson
Price: $17.39
Was: $28.99

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire (Read full review) – A tie in to the new Galaxy’s Edge park in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This is really a character-driven book about setting up the Resistance base on Batuu. We get to meet and go in-depth with not only the Black Spire Outpost, but many of the denizens of the town that we hear about from the park like Oga and Dok-Ondar. It is very enjoyable, if you’re able to get past the travelog feel of the first half of the book and the uneasy pacing of the story.

Pirate’s Price (Read full review) – This is one of the quintessential novels that needs to be read to fully understand the new Galaxy’s Edge theme park at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This is also told from the point of view of one of the best characters from both The Clone Wars and Rebels, Hando Ohnaka. Overall, I absolutely adored this book. The author, Lou Anders, nails the voice of Hondo. I can’t imaging how many hours of cartoons Anders needed to watch to fully become Hondo for this story, but whatever he did, it works. Everything down to the gun firing sound effects that Honda recites are all spot on. Just listening to Hondo describe his many adventures makes getting this audiobook a must read/listen for me. Since this book ties so closely to the new park I feel that anyone heading out to the parks should give this book a listen to get a background of the Millennium Falcon ride. 

Galaxy’s Edge (theme park attractions)

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker [35 ABY maybe]

Comments

In Case You Missed It

X-Men Monday #32 – Jonathan Hickman answers your House of X and Powers of X questions

Comic Books

‘There were so many things I wanted to do’ – Cullen Bunn reflects on his time writing the X-Men

Comic Books

The laugh factory of Adam Hughes: Talking ‘Hellboy & the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club’

31 Days of Halloween

X-Men #1 review: It’s all about family

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup