Happy Star Wars day! Today, the final movie in the new trilogy arrives on Disney+ as we celebrate the punniest day in the galaxy.
Do you like Star Wars, dear reader? I’m not sure about you but the relationship I have with the franchise, rocky as it may sometimes be, is really founded more on nostalgia than actual creative enjoyment. I remember seeing the prequel trilogy as a kid, and as such, it’s formed a haze of endearment around the entire franchise for me. I vividly remember clutching my Padme Amadala Barbie and sobbing as a ten year old when I saw the end of Revenge of the Sith in theaters. It wasn’t until I was older that I saw the original series, so really when I think of my relationship to Star Wars, it’s the prequels. Say what you like about them, but ten year old me was enthralled. The power of Star Wars, for me at least, has always been in the escapism. There’s just something so magic in spending a few hours in a galaxy far, far away.
The joy of it all revived when the new trilogy was announced. When I heard Gwendoline Christie was involved, I was all in. When I found out who her character was, I was ready to spend any amount of money on Star Wars memorabilia. I gobbled up the book on her origin story when it was released, and to this day think it was one of the smartest, most engaging, and exciting books I’ve ever read. I do not acknowledge movie-Phasma at all (beyond Gwendoline, of course), because I think that compared to the mastery that Delilah Dawson displayed over her character in the novel, the movie did her so, so dirty. A completely wasted opportunity!
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the new trilogy. I dutifully attended theaters for all of them, sometimes more than once, and I was enraptured with the Star Wars magic when I first saw them, but when I think about them, well… I’d rather not. It’s not all because of the treatment of Phasma, but that’s a lot of it. I won’t get into it here!
While I didn’t love the new trilogy, I have been a huge fan of all the other things Disney has been putting out that are outside the Skywalker story. I’m DYING to visit Batuu in the new Star Wars themed park, I loved watching The Mandalorian, and don’t even get me started on my love for Rouge One. The farther we get away from the Skywalkers, the happier this galactic camper gets!
That said: Here’s a quick little rundown of some of my favorite Star Wars books, sans Skywalkers, for you to enjoy!
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson: I’ve already written a full review of this novel, so I’ll link that here, but I will say this is hands-down the best Star Wars book I’ve read. The character development, the settings, the adventure, the Easter Eggs — I ate it up. This was a book that I actually closed and reopened at the beginning. I’ve NEVER done that before.
Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson: This book picks up where Phasma left off, albeit without Phasma herself. Phasma is told through the interrogation of rebel spy Vi Moradi by Imperial big-man Cardinal as Vi gains intel on the famous chrome solider. Black Spire takes us to the outpost of Batuu where Vi deals with the aftermath of the Phasma mission. A bonus: Vi Moradi is a character in the theme park and a black Star Wars heroine, which is a big deal.
A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova: Fancy a little YA in your Star Wars world? Look no further! Cordova joined Dawson in writing fiction to help Star Wars lovers learn more about Batuu leading up to the park’s opening last summer. In this tale, star-crossed teens Izzy and Jules navigate the tough and sinister world of Batuu.
Rouge One by Alexander Freed: I’ve already said I loved the film version, but do you really get how I would die for Jyn Erso? Read this book and you’ll get it, dear reader. I loved the rag-tag gang of rebel heroes in the film, but I was really there for the broody and conflicted Jyn Erso. I read this book shortly after seeing the movie and I was blown away by the depths of her character that Freed was able to reveal. I laughed, I cried, I wished there was more of her. (At least we will get a little more of that scruffy nerfherder Cassian Andor).
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray: This one was a fun one ! I’ve said before that I didn’t really engage with the original trilogy on the same level as the prequels but this one really helped me connect to that storyline more. It tells the story of, you guessed it, another pair of star-crossed lovers from a backwater planet as they live out their drama and destinies in the background of the original trilogy. If you’ve ever caught sight of an imperial crew member or rebel volunteer running around behind Han Solo or Darth Vader and thought, “Hmm, what’s that story?” then this is the book for you! There is also a graphic novel version of the story available. My full review here.
So dear reader, whether you ship Kylo and Rey like a Star Destroyer into the face of Jakku, or you, like me, could do with a little less Skywalker-centric exploration of the galaxies, I hope you have a wonderful Star Wars day. May the Force be with you!