Your Complete Guide to The Canon Star Wars Universe

Your Complete Guide to the Canon Star Wars Universe

The Star Wars universe features more than 40 years of storytelling that goes far beyond the film. Since George Lucas first brought his vision to the silver screen in 1977, creators have produced a galaxy's worth of stories for us to enjoy.

So far, there are 11 live-action films alone, plus a growing number of TV series, video games, and an ever-expanding library of books and comics.

It all makes for a vast amount of content. Even people who have watched the films for years can find the number of books overwhelming. Seasoned readers can find themselves baffled by the comic series. The sheer amount of material can be daunting for anyone. What to watch? In what order? Do I need to read all the books and comics?

Fortunately, we can help with making sense of it all.

The first thing to know is that there are two different narrative timelines. The first Star Wars books and comics came out in the late 1970s. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 with the intent to develop new films, there were already 35 years of stories. The timeline extended from thousands of years before Luke Skywalker's time to more than a century after.

To give creatives room to work and to have an integrated overall storyline, Lucasfilm reset the franchise's timeline in 2014. At the time, only the events of the first six films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series were considered to have officially “happened.” Aside from that, it was a clean slate ready for storytellers to create new adventures.

The earlier stories — now branded as “Legends” — are still around, many being reprinted today. Many of them are certainly still worth enjoying. But we'll talk about them another time.

Almost everything created since April 2014 is considered “Canon,” and that's what we focus on here. Since the reboot, Canon has grown to include the Sequel Trilogy, two anthology films, popular television shows, and an ever-expanding number of books, comics, and video games.

To organize Canon Star Wars storytelling, Lucasfilm has divided the timeline into six distinct eras: The High Republic, Fall of the Jedi, Reign of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, New Republic, and Rise of the First Order. We've used those same eras here for simplicity and convenience. In each period, we'll look at the films and television shows as well as the most important books, comics, and video games.

There's a lot to cover, so you might want to buckle up.

The High Republic

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The earliest era on the timeline features some of the newest Star Wars storytelling. The High Republic is an ongoing, interconnected multimedia initiative that includes adult and young adult novels, comics, manga, children's books, audio dramas, and short stories. Planned for three distinct phases, it will eventually include the forthcoming Disney+ series The Acolyte and the video game Star Wars: Eclipse.

These stories take place more than two centuries before the films when the Jedi Knights were at the height of their power as “guardians of peace and justice.” The Galactic Republic is also at its peak and in a golden era of expansion and prosperity. We meet all new characters, encounter fresh perspectives on the Force, and behold epic courage.

We also confront new villains and witness devastating tragedies. As Lucasfilm Publishing's creative director Michael Siglain said at the launch event, we see first-hand “what scares a Jedi.”

Fall of the Jedi

After the films began in the middle of the saga with the Original Trilogy, George Lucas went “back in time” to tell the backstory of the Empire and Darth Vader. We see the Jedi Order and the Republic meet their fates and discover the origins of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Since they take place before the first three films, fans call this the Prequel Trilogy.

But there is much more to the era than the three films. Currently, the earliest title in this era takes place more than 60 years before The Phantom Menace. Plus, with a decade passing between the first two films and a monumental war changing the face of the galaxy before the third, there's a lot left to tell.

Films

the phantom menace
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace takes place over three decades before we meet Luke Skywalker. It shows us a galaxy and republic at peace but with dark shadows on the horizon. Tensions over trade routes and taxes threaten to boil over into open conflict. Admittedly, politics, economics, and parliamentary procedure might not sound exciting. But rest assured, there's still plenty of action with pod racing, starfighter dogfights, and lightsaber duels. And with iconic characters like Anakin Skywalker, Padmé Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Grand Master Yoda all making their entrance, The Phantom Menace sets the stage for the rest of the saga.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Picking up the story a decade later, we find Anakin as an adolescent training to become a Jedi Knight under Obi-Wan Kenobi. After her reign as queen, Padmé now serves in the Republic Senate. When there's an attempt on her life, Chancellor Palpatine asks the Jedi to help. Obi-Wan's investigation uncovers an army of clones mysteriously ordered by a long-dead Jedi. Meanwhile, Anakin finds himself as the senator's one-Jedi protection detail — potentially a challenging assignment for a teenage boy in a quasi-monastic order. Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan meet again as prisoners. When other Jedi come to the rescue, the ensuing battle ignites the Clone Wars.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

After three years of combat, the Clone Wars careens to a climactic finish as the mastermind behind the epic conflict brings his sinister and long-simmering plan to fruition. With a new apprentice at his side, he declares an Empire in place of the Republic. As Anakin, Padmé, and the Jedi Order meet their destinies, the galaxy's last hope lies with infant twins. The trilogy concludes as they go to new homes, split up for their own protection.

Television

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Clone Wars premiered three years after Revenge of the Sith. While the films only showed the war's beginning and end, this show covers the intervening years. The series takes us to new worlds and introduces us to memorable new characters, including fan favorites like bounty hunter Cad Bane, assassin Asajj Ventress, clone Captain Rex, and Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano.

The series initially aired on the Cartoon Network, but don't let that trick you into thinking it's just for kids. It explores the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan and greatly enriches Anakin's arc in the third film. The Clone Wars developed a passionate fan base with its grand scale, rich character development, fascinating Force lore, massive space battles, and lightsaber combat. In fact, director Dave Filoni credited the fans' enduring loyalty and passion for helping to bring the show back for its seventh and final season in 2020.

Significant Books

Dooku: Jedi Lost

This era's earliest story sheds light on the origins of both Count Dooku and his apprentice Asajj Ventress through a series of flashbacks. We witness Dooku's earliest days in the Jedi Order, his eventual departure to rule over his home world, and his recruitment of Ventress. First released as an audio drama, Dooku: Jedi Lost features an entire cast of voice actors in addition to sound effects and music.

Master & Apprentice

Master & Apprentice shows us Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi seven years before The Phantom Menace. Unlike the duo we see in the first prequel, the book shows us a 17-year-old apprentice's strained and uncertain relationship with his unconventional master. The tension between them foreshadows the occasional uneasiness between Obi-Wan and Anakin in Attack of the Clones. A high-stakes mission gives them a chance to reflect on their partnership, which evolves in a way that will change the way you see them together on screen.

Queen's Hands Trilogy

Queen's Peril, Queen's Shadow, and Queen's Hope comprise a trilogy that follows Padmé Amidala through the Prequel Trilogy. Together, they showcase her growth through the challenges posed by the Trade Federation's blockade, service in the Senate, and the new realities of war and complex personal relationships. The stories add depth to the Prequel Trilogy's only major female character and reintroduce Padmé's handmaidens. They become compelling characters in their own right, with arcs that expand to other works.

Brotherhood

Immediately after Attack of the Clones, Brotherhood focuses on Obi-Wan and Anakin. After a catastrophe on an officially neutral planet, the Jedi Order sends Obi-Wan to investigate in the hopes of preventing the war from spiraling out of control. At the same time, the Jedi — traditionally peacekeepers — must adapt to their new role as generals in the Republic's new clone army. Amid this upheaval, Obi-Wan must reframe his relationship with the newly knighted Anakin. The book closely follows Queen's Hope, and the two nicely complement each other.

Dark Disciple

This novel adapts a storyline intended initially for Star Wars: The Clone Wars before its 2013 cancellation. As Dooku's tactics become more ruthless, the Jedi Order finds itself increasingly desperate to stop him. To locate him, maverick Jedi Quinlan Vos first poses as a bounty hunter to track down the Count's former apprentice, Asajj Ventress. Still nursing a sense of betrayal, Ventress joins the mission. As their partnership becomes more than expected, the novel puts a unique spin on the traditional Star Wars theme of redemption. It also invites us to consider just how far the cataclysmic war has pushed the Jedi from their ideals.

Significant Comics

Darth Maul (2017) / Darth Maul ­— Son of Dathomir

Darth Maul's iconic double-bladed lightsaber and menacing appearance nearly stole the show in The Phantom Menace. Two comic series focus on this fan-favorite villain. Darth Maul takes place before the first prequel and explores Maul's origins and early days under the tutelage of a ruthless Sith Master. Darth Maul ­— Son of Dathomir is, like the novel Dark Disciple, an adaptation of unused scripts developed for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Several years after his experience on Naboo (no, he didn't actually die), Maul rises to the top of a criminal organization. His former master plans to use him against potential opponents, but Maul has other plans. And now, he also has an army of his own followers.

Obi-Wan & Anakin

Filling part of the gap between the Prequel Trilogy's first two films, Obi-Wan & Anakin shows the new Jedi Knight and his young Padawan three years into their partnership. Still new to his rank and responsibilities, Obi-Wan questions his teaching ability. At the same time, Anakin struggles with missing his mother and finding his place in the universe. Much like The Clone Wars, the comic series deepens our understanding of their complex relationship and makes the final scenes of Revenge of the Sith — and significant moments in the Obi-Wan Kenobi television series — that much more poignant.

Reign of the Empire

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Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

After the events of Revenge of the Sith comes what an older Obi-Wan famously describes as the “dark times.” Out of the ashes of the war-torn Republic, an Empire rises and rules with an iron fist. But even from the beginning of its reign, opposition slowly and quietly builds. As the Emperor seeks to consolidate control over the galaxy, survivors of the Clone Wars must learn how to make their way in a changed galaxy.

Films

Solo: A Star Wars Story

This 2018 anthology movie presents the famous smuggler's origin story. We meet him on the planet Corellia, where he lives underground and scrapes by running scams for a cruel crime lord. After his attempt to escape with Qi'Ra goes sideways, he serves a brief stint in the Imperial military before striking out on a new path. He eventually winds up with a crew trying to pull off a high-stakes heist. Along the way, we see the beginnings of a legendary partnership as Han discovers one of his two true loves.

Television

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

This spin-off of The Clone Wars features a group of elite clone troopers designed with genetic mutations giving them unique skills. With the war now over and the Empire after them for disobeying orders, they take odd jobs as mercenaries. Beneath the entertaining veneer of their adventures, the show examines the plight of those created especially for war after that war ends. It's not the first time Star Wars animation has invited reflection on the moral considerations of creating human beings specifically for combat.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

This show picks up the story 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. The Empire tirelessly hunts Jedi with a team of fearsome Inquisitors under the command of Darth Vader. Tormented by loss and guilt, Obi-Wan lives under an assumed name and maintains a lonely vigil on Tatooine, watching over young Luke Skywalker. It takes an old friend's desperate call for help to get the old Jedi Master to dig out his lightsaber and venture back into a dangerous galaxy. The show features the much-celebrated return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to the Star Wars universe.

Andor

In a two-season series exploring the life of Rebel intelligence agent Cassian Andor before the events of Rogue One, Andor shows the recruitment and development of one of the Alliance's most effective spies. While much of the saga focused on dashing pilots and legendary Jedi, Andor explores the harsher and grittier lives of spies, saboteurs, and foot soldiers. With Tony Gilroy, who worked extensively on Rogue One, returning as the show's writer, director, and showrunner, Andor has all the danger and suspense of the popular film.

Significant Books

Ahsoka

Introduced in The Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano became a fan favorite. This book finds her keeping a low profile after the war and hiding from the Empire. She takes odd jobs as a farmer and mechanic while trying to keep her identity and Force abilities secret. All the while, she wonders what became of her former master. But she can't deny her nature when Imperials arrive and begin to exploit the locals. As she becomes a target for the Inquisitors, she finds a new opportunity to serve the light.

Catalyst

This prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells how Orson Krennic leveraged the chaos at the end of the Clone Wars to recruit Galen Erso into Imperial service. Indebted to Krennic, Erso works on what he initially believes to be peaceful energy sources. Eventually, however, he and his wife Lyra grow suspicious about the true purpose of his research and plan an escape. Krennic earns a demotion for losing his most important asset, and the scene is set for that film's beginning.

Lords of the Sith

Five years after the rise of Darth Vader, he and the Emperor set out to personally reassert control over a rebellious world. The resistance movement's leader sees an opportunity to wipe out the core of the Empire's leadership and sends a daring mission to sabotage their Star Destroyer. The Emperor and Vader escape, crash-landing on the hostile world where the insurgents begin to hunt them down. The ordeal shows us the unique dynamic between the Dark Lords and the true power and brutality of the dark side of the Force.

Most Wanted

Most Wanted is a fun and fast-paced adventure published with the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Set before the film, it gives us a closer look at life under the streets of Corellia, and it's easy to see why Han yearns to leave. His crime boss keeps control by playing her underlings against each other, and Han and Qi'ra had been fierce rivals for some time. But when a heist goes wrong, they must team up to survive. This changes the nature of their relationship and leads to the dynamic we see between them on screen in a way that adds weight to some of the movie's key scenes.

Significant Comics

Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith is one of the best-regarded comic series in Canon. Picking up immediately after Revenge of the Sith, the series spotlights Vader's efforts to leave the last of his former self behind. He struggles to adapt to his new reality, complete with omnipresent armor, prosthetics, and the intrusive machinery keeping him alive. At the same time, he has his first mission from the Emperor: leading the Inquisitors in the hunt for surviving Jedi.

Lando: Double or Nothing

This miniseries follows Lando Calrissian and L3-37 shortly before Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lando has no shortage of swagger, daring, and capes as he undertakes missions from crime lords, helps worlds enslaved by the Empire, and works to clear some debts. Documenting his exploits for his growing memoir, Lando stays one step ahead of the Empire and other assorted enemies. Eventually, stuck on the planet Vandor with his beloved ship impounded, he bides his time playing sabacc with his earnings from the mission. That is until fate and Han Solo find him.

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet fills in the time gap in Solo: A Star Wars Story between Han joining the Imperial Navy and the muddy end of his short military career. How did the former Corellian hoodlum adapt to life in the military? How did someone with his heart set on flying wind up in the infantry? This entertaining series shows Han's training as a TIE pilot and his demotion. He demonstrates a unique ability to keep making things worse for himself until he and Chewbacca join Tobias Beckett's crew.

Games

Jedi: Fallen Order

This single-player video game takes place five years after Revenge of the Sith. Cal Kestis, a former Jedi apprentice, works in a scrapyard and tries to avoid drawing attention to himself. However, an Imperial probe droid records his use of the Force to save a friend from a potentially fatal accident. With the Inquisitors hot on his trail, Cal finds refuge with a former Jedi Knight. Together, they search the galaxy for artifacts that could help rebuild the Jedi Order.

Age of Rebellion

Star Wars Rebels Zeb
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

This Age of Rebellion encompasses the Original Trilogy and Rogue One, the era when the tide finally turns, and the Emperor's reign comes to a tumultuous end. It is the era of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie, where one man's creative vision launched decades of imaginative storytelling. In many respects, the period is the core of the saga, establishing many of its most central themes.

Films

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

An anthology film that premiered nearly 40 years after the franchise's groundbreaking first installment, Rogue One quickly became many fans' favorite Star Wars movie. In its depiction of an unlikely team banding together in a challenging mission against long odds, the film follows plot elements familiar to fans. With a grittiness that evokes classic war films, it tells how the Rebels stole the Death Star plans immediately before the first movie. In doing so, it paints a more “gray” or morally ambiguous picture than the original movies' classic good vs. evil paradigm.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Released in 1977 and known then as just “Star Wars,” this was the one that started it all and became an icon. You don't have to take our word for it; the Library of Congress thinks so, too. The film is one of the most commercially successful and culturally influential ever. In creating his modern mythology, George Lucas blended influences from samurai movies, 1930s sci-fi fiction serials, and World War II films, then added trailblazing special effects. The subtitle, “Episode IV: A New Hope” was added to the film after 50 successful weeks in theaters (before running for six more months) and a sequel was greenlit. The now-classic film built a foundation for all the Star Wars stories that followed.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Original Trilogy's second film is one of the most successful sequels ever. A mythos that began as a rollicking space adventure takes a more philosophical tone as our heroes face higher personal risks and sacrifices. The Rebels are on the run from a vengeful Empire, while Luke, after his introduction to the Force, seeks more training. One of the biggest plot twists in movie history upends Luke's worldview, and the swaggering Han Solo's luck seems to finally run out. In the film's closing moments, however, our heroes' resolve, resilience, and loyalty to each other remind us that hope lives on.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

In 1983, many of us expected this to be the last we'd see of Star Wars. In the climactic conclusion to the Original Trilogy, our heroes save one of their own as the Empire and the Rebellion race toward a final, ultimate clash. Combat rages on the ground between Imperial troops and the Rebels (along with unlikely allies). At the same time, starships and fighters tangle in an epic battle the likes of which moviegoers wouldn't see again for more than 20 years. Against this epic backdrop, a more personal struggle highlights one of the franchise's most fundamental themes: redemption.

Television

Rebels

Five years before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope, we see the roots of the rebellion take hold as the Empire's oppression affects more and more people across the galaxy. An eclectic but cunning and resourceful team undertakes missions to undermine the Empire's rule as part of a fledgling rebellion. Although in many ways a successor to The Clone Wars, Rebels features a more intimate look at one core group of characters instead of its predecessor's grand, galaxy-wide scale. Nevertheless, it's as rich in lore, lightsabers, and starships as any other part of the franchise.

Significant Books

Leia: Princess of Alderaan

In this coming-of-age story, Princess Leia prepares to state her claim to the throne of Alderaan in a time-honored tradition. The rite of passage involves three challenges she must undertake to prove her worth. As she completes them, her adoptive parents struggle with deciding whether to include her in their covert activities. Rich in Alderaanian culture and custom, the book perfectly complements the younger Leia we see in the Obi-Wan Kenobi television series. It also gives us some fascinating glimpses of the early rebellion.

Lost Stars

This fast-paced story introduces a pair of original characters who grew up together before one joining the Empire. Their paths diverge (sending one to the Rebel Alliance) as smoldering resistance explodes into open warfare, and the book follows them both through the pivotal events that follow. From the daring raid on the Death Star to the Empire's final defeat, the book presents a fresh look at the Original Trilogy and sets the stage for the sequels. With plenty of touchpoints to familiar events in the first three films, the novel is an excellent way for fans of the movies to jump into Star Wars books.

Thrawn Trilogies

In the early 1990s, Timothy Zahn published a trilogy of novels that launched a new era of Star Wars books and helped maintain interest in the franchise between Original and Prequel Trilogies. It also introduced a character who became a fan favorite, Grand Admiral Thrawn. An all-new Canon trilogy, beginning with 2017's Thrawn, tells how the legendary tactician came into the Empire's service and rose through its ranks. A second Canon trilogy, set earlier than the first, examines Thrawn's origins before coming to the Empire, rising through the ranks of his own civilization's Fleet.

Rebel Rising

The film Rogue One begins with a prologue that shows a young girl's escape after the Empire comes for her father. After a time jump, Jyn Erso is a hardened young woman living under an assumed name and serving a prison sentence. Rebel Rising fills that missing period, showing us Jyn's time with Saw Gerrera and his fierce band of partisans. The book offers a welcome look at her growth into the strong fighter portrayed so memorably by Felicity Jones.

From a Certain Point of View Series

With the first volume published to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of A New Hope and a second timed to commemorate The Empire Strikes Back, we fully expect one for Return of the Jedi. These books are collections of short stories adjacent to the films' on-screen events. Often told from the perspective of background characters, the narratives offer fresh takes on events seen on screen. The format lends itself to different storytelling styles and has given several writers new to the franchise the opportunity to showcase their work.

Significant Comics

Star Wars Series (Mainline; 2015 & 2020)

This comic series began in 2015 with the continuing adventures of Han, Luke, and Leia between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. As Luke learns more about the Force, Leia works to build support for the Rebellion, and Han navigates the path from smuggler to freedom fighter. We witness their transformation into the characters we encounter on Hoth's frozen wastes. Meanwhile, Darth Vader strives to learn the identity of the young pilot who destroyed the Death Star. The series relaunched in 2020, following the characters through the year leading up to Return of the Jedi.

Darth Vader Series (2015 & 2020)

In parallel to the mainline Star Wars series, Darth Vader follows the iconic villain between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. While hunting the Rebel pilot responsible for the Empire's stunning setback, he makes an unexpected discovery. All the while, Vader must negotiate the internal politics of the Imperial military, routinely frustrated with officers and bureaucrats lacking faith in the Force. Like the mainline series, it reset in 2020 to follow Vader's journey after The Empire Strikes Back. His personal crusade takes him to unexpected places and leads him to encounter ghosts from his previous life.

Doctor Aphra Series (2016 & 2020)

An original character created for the 2015 Darth Vader series before starring in her own, Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra is a maverick archeologist — something of an amoral Star Wars version of Indiana Jones. She has become a wildly popular character in her own right, a cunning and resilient anti-hero. Aphra is the first character not from the films to lead a comic series. A lesbian depicted with Asian features, she is also a beacon of representation. The series has won multiple GLAAD awards, and StarWars.com writer Bria LaVorgna has described her as “an absolute gift to both the Star Wars world and so many LGBTQ+ fans.” There is also an audio drama and script book combining fresh looks at some comic arcs with new material.

War of the Bounty Hunters/Crimson Reign

These are the first two of three five-issue miniseries set in the year between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. When bounty hunter Boba Fett stops on the way to Jabba's palace, he finds his precious cargo stolen. Fett's hunt for the thief and missing prize leads to a shocking revelation that sets the Empire, Rebellion, and every other heavy hitter in the galactic underworld on a collision course. Featuring the surprise return of beloved characters, this trilogy of comic miniseries forges entertaining ties between Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Original Trilogy, and the sequels.

The New Republic

the mandalorian series
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

This is the period between the fall of the Empire and the Sequel Trilogy. Even after defeating Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader at the Battle of Endor, the Rebels' work is not done. Remnants of the Empire refuse to go quietly as the victors establish a new government and work to bring peace and freedom to a war-ravaged galaxy. Some of the first books published after Lucasfilm's reset are set in this period. It continues to be a fruitful era for storytelling that builds bridges between the Original Trilogy and Sequel Trilogy.

Television

The Mandalorian

Set five years after Return of the Jedi, this was the first live-action television series in the franchise. Its depiction of a lone gunslinger on the edge of the galaxy leans into Star Wars' spaghetti western influences while also evoking the classic samurai story Lone Wolf and Cub. The protagonist makes his living as a bounty hunter in a restless part of the galaxy until one job changes everything. He finds himself pursued by his guild and in the crosshairs of a powerful Imperial veteran. Rich in callbacks to the Original and Prequel Trilogies, The Clone Wars, and Rebels, the series touches nearly every part of the franchise.

The Book of Boba Fett

As the legendary bounty hunter who captured Han Solo, Boba Fett has been a fan-favorite since his debut in The Empire Strikes Back. Despite what seemed to be an abrupt end in Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett proves hard to kill. This limited series shows Fett's escape from his would-be resting place, how the ordeal changed him, and his subsequent mission to fill the leadership void on Tatooine. With several surprise cameos, The Book of Boba Fett is an entertaining interlude between seasons two and three of The Mandalorian.

Significant Books

The Princess and the Scoundrel

This novel picks up after Return of the Jedi amid a well-deserved victory celebration tinged with mourning many losses. After an impromptu proposal, we witness the beautifully depicted wedding between Han Solo and Princess Leia. But with a galaxy in chaos, their honeymoon becomes a diplomatic mission. In well-executed character moments, Han reflects on his past year while Leia struggles with the newly revealed truth of her origins and begins to ponder the Force.

Aftermath Trilogy

Just as the cover of this trilogy's first book promises, the battle is far from over after the Battle of Endor. As surviving Imperial officials attempt to rally their scattered forces for a counteroffensive. The New Republic attempts to negotiate a comprehensive peace amid this chaos, even as it pursues Imperial loyalists across the galaxy. One faction, led by a mysterious Fleet Admiral with a hidden agenda, works to force a final showdown over the planet Jakku as part of the Emperor's secret final contingency plan.

Alphabet Squadron Trilogy

This series also picks up immediately after Return of the Jedi, focusing on a team of pilots tracking down an elite wing of TIE fighters wreaking havoc as the Empire crumbles. Themes of betrayal and justice, guilt and redemption, and seemingly shifting loyalties weave through the narrative as Alphabet Squadron and their foes careen toward a final decisive clash. With thrilling fighter combat and poignant reflection by compelling characters, it invites us to consider the cost of war, even for those who survive it.

Shadow of the Sith

Shadow of the Sith explores some of the plot points introduced in The Rise of Skywalker. With a class of students training in his new Jedi temple, Luke Skywalker is haunted by dark visions and resolves to find out what's behind them. Meanwhile, Lando Calrissian has been facing his own challenges. When he overhears talk suggesting that Sith are not extinct, he knows he must tell his friend. The two are soon on the trail of assassin and Sith devotee Ochi of Bestoon, who hunts a fugitive family on behalf of a mysterious dark side cult.

Bloodline

Part biography, part political thriller, Bloodline depicts Leia Organa's transition from senator to Resistance general. More than two decades after Return of the Jedi, the last vestiges of the Empire appear to have long since vanished. With the war an increasingly distant memory, the Senate quarrels over how to organize and defend the New Republic. Even as Leia sees new threats emerge, some argue for complete demilitarization. A terrorist attack complicates Leia's efforts to steer the New Republic between these opposing viewpoints and prepare for an uncertain future. At the same time, a shocking disclosure compromises her position in the Senate.

Significant Comics

Shattered Empire

A four-issue comic series leading up to The Force Awakens, Shattered Empire examines the ramifications of the Emperor's defeat over Endor. The abrupt end of his reign triggers one final command for his followers, relayed by haunting messengers. Even as Rebel leaders try to begin forging a new future, they find themselves in a race to prevent the remaining Imperial Starfleet from exacting a horrible vengeance across the galaxy.

The Rise of Kylo Ren

This four-part comic book miniseries shows how one of the most promising students in Luke Skywalker's new Jedi temple became the Sequel Trilogy's mercurial villain. Under the weight of the potential and expectations of his family legacy, the young man struggles with competing visions of who he should be. The films tell us who he once was and show us who he is now. The Rise of Kylo Ren shows us his journey between the two. We follow him through leaving Luke's temple, finding a new master, confronting his former friends, and plotting a new path despite its steep admission price.

Games

Squadrons

Squadrons is a space combat video game with a single-player campaign mode set shortly after the Battle of Endor. The plot revolves around a secret New Republic project as the player alternates between two pilots for the New Republic and the Empire. It offers a unique opportunity to explore a dynamic and unsettled galaxy from a first-person perspective.

Battlefront II

The plot for Battlefront II‘s campaign mode spans nearly the entire three-decade period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. After Iden Versio witnesses the Rebel triumph at Endor, she pledges to avenge the loss. But when the Emperor's secret contingency plan endangers her home world, she defects. Eventually becoming a valued leader in the fledgling New Republic, Versio helps save other planets from the Empire's wrath.

Rise of the First Order

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Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Currently the last era in Lucasfilm's Canon Star Wars timeline, this includes the Sequel Trilogy — the most recent and, for now at least, final installments of the Skywalker Saga. These films introduced new characters, brought back old friends, and relaunched the franchise. Along the way, they inspired nostalgia, attracted a new generation of fans, and sparked a bit of debate.

Films

The Force Awakens

With the line “Chewie, we're home,” The Force Awakens brought Star Wars back to theaters. The movie included plenty of nostalgia for older fans while opening the door for a new generation of enthusiasts. Like another hero before her, a young woman answers the call to adventure. Venturing off her backwater planet, Rey becomes swept up in the galaxy's struggle between good and evil. A new generation of heroes joins with legends, and together they confront the new face of evil in the galaxy.

The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi is a visually striking film with bold choices that fans still debate years later. After Leia sends Rey to find the galaxy's last best hope, our heroine's encounter with Luke Skywalker does not go as expected. We learn about the fate of his temple and the loss of his most promising student from different perspectives. Meanwhile, with their secret base exposed, the Resistance hastily evacuates and is on the run from the First Order. After a tense pursuit, they prepare to make what may be their last stand on the planet Crait.

The Rise of Skywalker

In the Skywalker Saga's final film, the Resistance tries to rally as Rey trains to be a Jedi. After a mysterious and haunting broadcast heard by the entire galaxy, Kylo Ren hunts tirelessly for its source. A greater evil lurks behind the First Order, and only the embattled Resistance can stop it. Haunted by disturbing visions of her possible future, Rey must confront the truth of her origins and choose her destiny. Her choice will determine whether the Resistance, like the Rebel Alliance before it, will defy the odds and whether the Jedi will rise again to defeat the darkness.

Television

Resistance

An anime-inspired television series, Resistance overlaps with The Force Awakens. There are no generals, Jedi, or princesses here. We see everyday people trying to live their lives in the days before the First Order made itself known and open conflict once again engulfed the galaxy. While indulging in humor and adventure, Resistance explores philosophical questions as characters must decide how to respond to the emerging danger.

Significant Books

Phasma

This novel tells the origin story of one of the Sequel Trilogy's most fascinating villains, the chrome-armored and cold-as-ice Captain Phasma. The book features an innovative narrative style, as Resistance spy Vi Moradi finds herself in First Order custody. She soon discovers that the officer interrogating her appears to have his own agenda. He seems more interested in Phasma than the Resistance. As Moradi shares what she knows of Phasma's life before the First Order, we learn the extent of her cruelty and will to survive.

Resistance Reborn

Resistance Reborn bridges the gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. After the Battle of Crait, the Resistance is short of forces and friends. Leia needs Poe Dameron to take on more of a leadership role, but he — and some of the Resistance fighters around him — struggle with the fallout from his choices in The Last Jedi. The book incorporates characters and plot points from several other Canon books, setting the stage for an epic finale.

Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire

Vi Moradi returns with an unlikely ally on a mission to the planet Batuu to investigate and disrupt First Order activity. Building on some of the fascinating original characters introduced in Phasma, this book also adds new allies and antagonists in a compelling story, all in a setting you can visit. The book is one of the projects tied to the opening of Disney's Galaxy's Edge parks in Anaheim and Orlando, but don't be fooled into dismissing it as an overgrown advertisement.

Significant Comics

Poe Dameron Series

How good was this comic book series? Initially planned for a 25-issue run, fan interest prolonged it for another six. Set before The Force Awakens and his fateful mission to Jakku, the series follows Poe Dameron as he investigates the growing threat the First Order poses. The narrative and the art offer a closer look at the Resistance's origins, its complicated relationship with the New Republic, and the quest to find out just what it is that lurks in the shadows.

Your First Steps Into a Larger World

There you have it: the most important stories in the Canon Star Wars timeline. Believe it or not, there are even more books, comics, games, and television shows than we've showcased here!

With that in mind, where do you go from here?

First, it's important to remember that there's no wrong way to enjoy these stories. And you certainly don't have to consume everything.

The Star Wars universe has several entry points for new fans: Successive generations discovered the franchise through the trilogies. Some people became Star Wars readers first. Other fans fell in love with one of the TV series.

If you're entirely new to Star Wars, beginning with the films is the quickest way to get a common frame of reference with other Star Wars fans. Plus, most other stories assume that the reader/viewer is familiar with the movies.

The films will also introduce you to all the different aspects of the saga — Jedi and Sith, fighter pilots and smugglers, bounty hunters and crime syndicates — and its most important themes. Everyone has their favorite aspect of the mythos, and once you've seen the films, you'll likely have your own favorites.

Once you know which characters, topics, and eras interest you the most, you can choose where to go next. For example, if ships and pilots are your things, you can read the Alphabet Squadron trilogy and play Squadrons. If Jedi and Force lore fascinate you, then you'll probably enjoy Master & Apprentice and Fallen Order.

Of course, like many of us, you might be fascinated by it all and come to view Star Wars as an almost limitless buffet of content.

Either way, one thing is for sure: you'll have plenty of storytelling to enjoy for years to come, and you can count on us to keep you up to date on all of it. Be sure to check our Star Wars hub regularly for up-to-date reviews, character analyses, features, and more!

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Author: Karl Sander

Title: Writer

Expertise: Travel, skiing, hiking, Star Wars, military/veterans, aviation

Bio:

Sander photo scaled e1701654581624

Karl Sander is a writer covering travel and entertainment for Wealth of Geeks. He has been writing and editing professionally since 2017. His work has also appeared on Youtini, 57Hours, Snowpak, We Are The Mighty, and The Alaska Life. A 20-year career “seeing the world” in the United States Navy ignited an enduring appetite for travel and adventure that has taken him to Alaskan mountaintops and Dublin pubs. Between trips, he spends entirely too much time marinating in Star Wars lore and following Pacific Northwest Sports. He lives on Whidbey Island, Washington.