With the lackluster reception of Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans of the Star Wars franchise are understandably extra eager to erase that bitter aftertaste and see the third and final chapter of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. With Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams coming back at the helm, we can all gear up for the trilogy’s ending worthy of the term “saga.”
But the next Star Wars movie (Episode IX) is still a long way off—December 2019, if everything stays on schedule. The wait is going to be intolerable for some; luckily, there’s a host of books, movies, and games out there to tide you over until Episode IX finally comes around.
Stories through pictures
Let’s start with an easy dip. I really liked the idea of a Star Wars universe that’s not particularly focused on the Skywalker family drama. If you’re like me and you don’t mind standalone stories that don’t necessarily fall on the regular canon of the universe, check out Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars Tales. What can you expect from this series? Oh, nothing much—adventures like Luke’s showdown against Darth Maul’s spirit/hologram, Solo and Chewbacca stranded on a world of undead, a rebel and a scout trooper working together to survive, Mace Windu giving some no-nonsense training to a young apprentice, a Jedi with a (murderous) split personality… the Star Wars universe is a rich resource that extends far beyond the movies, and this comic series mines it well.
If you want something more canon and indisputably kickass, you shouldn’t miss Darth Vader Annual #1 and Vader Down. As one of the most iconic villains in movie history, it’s weird how rarely we get to see Vader’s sheer epicness. I don’t want to spoil it by giving away the plot highlights to you, but in this comic, readers are reminded of why Vader was the Big Bad feared throughout the galaxy.
Oh, also, there’s this:
Some fans may have already read and seen every single thing with a Star Wars logo stamped on it. For these uberfans, there is still hope—in the form of new books about to come out before Episode IX comes along. They may not feature shocking revelations that will rock the Star Wars universe, but they provide more stories about characters we know and love.
Imagine sneaking into what is perhaps the spookiest place in the galaxy. Star Wars: Tales From Vader’s Castle features the scary stories a group of rebels infiltrating Vader’s castle tell to distract themselves while they go deeper into the lion’s den.
Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy charts how the women of Star Wars—from “heroes and villains, Sith and Jedi, senators and scoundrels, mothers, mercenaries, artists, pilots”—drive the story of Star Wars.
In Star Wars: Master & Apprentice (expected February 2019), we get a look at Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s adventure set before Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Finally, we’ll be treated to a rare opportunity to walk with Padmé Naberrie, Queen Amidala of Naboo, as she steps down from the crown and then receive a request she cannot refuse—to be Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow is scheduled to come out in March 2019.
If it’s the theme of Star Wars that draws you in, you’re in luck. There’s no drought of stories with the same basic plot: an unassuming character lives a normal life. Tragedy/challenge/a big change (maybe he/she even discovers powers) happens, and the protagonist needs to go on an adventure to survive/achieve a goal. The hero succeeds in his quest, but not before undergoing a huge character change—a change so profound that he/she may be barely recognizable to those he left behind before he went on the adventure.
Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker basically has the same story arc. Tristan Thorn of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust was living in obscurity until he went on a quest and found that he was more than human. Similarly, Richard Mayhew (Neverwhere) became the unlikely hero of London Below and found out that his old life didn’t fit him anymore after his adventure. Thomas Anderson brought balance not to The Force but to The Matrix as Neo. Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story came from a galaxy far, far away and was fighting against Emperor Zurg… until it was revealed that the emperor was his father. Guardians of the Galaxy—Marvel’s attempt at a space opera—features a lovable outlaw leading a group of rebels against villains able to destroy planets… plus it also has the Sith-like Master-Apprentice dynamic between Thanos and Ronan. Really… the list can go on and on.
Forge your own adventure
If the allure of passive entertainment wanes, you can always try crafting your own story through Star Wars games, of which there is no shortage. The first Star Wars video game was launched way back in 1982, after all, and they haven’t stopped since then.
There are a lot of notable Star Wars titles out there (also a number of garbage ones). The ones worth checking out include Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Knights of the Old Republic. Just make sure your system is compatible with the older titles.
Your longing for Episode IX may be great, but The Force can be found all around us. Until December 2019 comes, may you live long and prosper (sorry, couldn’t help it).