tar Wars is nothing if not fuel for the imagination. George Lucas ignited the sparks of millions with his stories of spaceships, laser swords, Empires, and destiny. And with as much as we all love Star Wars films, there is no reason fans had to wait for camera crews and actors to bring the galaxy to life. Creative writers began telling stories in George’s galaxy all the way back in the 1970s! Now, more than forty years later, Star Wars books number in the hundreds—books about heroes, villains, classic characters, original characters, standalone books, and even series of books that took years to publish in their entirety!
In fact, new Star Wars books are continually being published each year. Want to stay up-to-date on everything coming your way? Check out our continually updated new release page at youtini.com/new-releases.
In addition to the shiny new Star Wars books with spines yet to be broken and mysteries unexplored, there is a massive back catalog of drama, humor, adventure, and heartbreak. The majority of these books belong to an alternate timeline from that of Sequel Trilogy films, called Star Wars Legends. In a nutshell, all Star Wars books published before April 2014 are labeled “Legends.”
The major difference between Canon and Legends is whether or not the events contained within the story has any bearing on the larger story of Disney-era Star Wars. Whereas Star Wars authors of old were given blank checks (for the most part) in deciding where the story could go, all of the books and comics published since April 2014 have had creative input from the Lucasfilm Story Group. As storytellers charted a new course for what happened in the galaxy far, far away after Return of the Jedi, certain characters and events didn’t mesh with where things were headed.
Thus Ben Solo is Canon and Jacen Solo is Legends.
Ultimately elements from the decades of Expanded Universe material is borrowed, adapted, referenced, and incorporated sparingly into new Star Wars stories, but its inclusion in Canon isn’t what makes it worthy of your attention. Star Wars is fundamentally a fictional property; no stories are more valid than any other!
Visually, you can identify a Legends book in one simple way: the infamous gold banner. Any Legends book reprinted after 2014—AKA 90% of the Legends books you’ll find on the shelves of your local bookstore or what will come in the mail if you order from Amazon—has the banner. Once you get a collection going, the Legends banner really starts to look good with a large assortment of books lined up next to each other.
If you’re looking to learn more about the difference between Canon and Legends, we’ve got a guide on that. We’ve also got a guide to Legends and a guide to Canon.
Reading Star Wars Legends Series for the First Time
One of the most rewarding parts of reading Star Wars Legends is the way the universe builds on itself over time. This is especially true when it comes to long series. Star Wars being Star Wars, Legends is rife with trilogies. Beyond that, Star Wars publishing committed to its stories and characters in long-form series such as the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, and Fate of the Jedi.
The Best Legends Star Wars Books to Read First
With the decades-long development of Legends continuity also comes a considerable amount of baggage—a baseline familiarity with the characters being the primary obstacle to just jumping in with any random Star Wars book. Thankfully, there are a few excellent series that serve as excellent starting points when reading Legends series.
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Legends books require a baseline knowledge of the characters and events of the preceding material. There are a few perfect jumping on places, however.
Out of the six foundational Star Wars books we unequivocally recommend at Youtini, four of them are Legends books and two of them begin excellent trilogies.
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn
- Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
- Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
- Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover
Types of Legends Series
In epic fashion, Star Wars loves its trilogies. The Original Trilogy. The Prequel Trilogy. And more recently, the Sequel Trilogy. Legends cornered the market on Trilogies back in the day—especially in the 90s. New villain? There’s a trilogy for that! New superweapon? Trilogy! Sith Lord? You guessed it—he gets his own trilogy. Let’s face it: there’s just something Star Wars-y about trilogies. Establishing the characters and the conflict, the heroes suffering a deafening blow and exploring the characters’ complexities, and the climactic culmination with a twist ending.
Legends has its famous trilogies: most notably the Thrawn Trilogy, the Jedi Academy Trilogy, the Darth Bane Trilogy, just to name a few standouts. Beyond those, the ‘90s was rife with trilogies, most of them set post-Return of the Jedi—the Callista Trilogy, the Black Fleet Crisis, and the Corellian Trilogy, the Bounty Hunter Wars, the Dark Forces Trilogy—not to mention Dark Horse’s Dark Empire Trilogy!
Beyond its classic Star Wars appeal, trilogies have a lot to offer. If you’re really dedicated, you can read an entire trilogy in a month. They allow for more space to develop complex plots and characters than a standalone novel. As opposed to a nine or nineteen book series, they’re also perfectly digestible.
Some of the most epic storytelling in all of Star Wars’s rich history has come in the form of its longest series. At the moment, Legends takes the cake in the sheer ambition in composing coherent long-form novel series (though the jury’s out on the High Republic, which looks promising!).
Among Legends books, three series in particular hold the honor of achieving truly out-of-this-world levels of storytelling: the New Jedi Order, the Legacy of the Force, and Fate of the Jedi. In tandem with the editorial staff at Del Rey, these were hugely collaborative projects that brought spectacular stables of authors together to carry the baton in their particular entries in the galaxy far, far away—to varying levels of success. The hit-or-miss nature of these kinds of projects is part of the fun! It’s extremely difficult to do storytelling in this way, but rewarding in a way that standalones and trilogies can never achieve due to the inherent difference in the media.
Each series has its own flavor. The New Jedi Order is closer to hard sci-fi with alien invaders with their own layered culture seizing control of the galaxy. Legacy of the Force is closer to classic Star Wars with a story of light and dark, Jedi and Sith, with a Skywalker descendent conquering the galaxy in the name of evil and a saber-wielding hero destined to set things right. Finally, Fate of the Jedi is more ambitious, a culmination of multiple genres as Luke Skywalker is exiled from the civilized galaxy and the Jedi Order is consumed by a strange psychosis. It involves the resurgence of a lost tribe of ancient Sith, Luke’s teenage son getting a dark side girlfriend, and a father-son road trip reminiscent of The Odyssey. Only series 2000 pages in length could possibly pull off something on such a grand scale!
Benefits of Each
Of course, we haven’t mentioned the Star Wars books with an unusual number of entries in their series. The Hand of Thrawn Duology, for example, is two very long books concluding the Bantam Era and paving the way for the New Jedi Order with Timothy Zahn’s return to the series after his smash-hit Thrawn Trilogy. Zahn famously had only signed on to write one book but found his imagination running wild and capitalized on the disequilibrium when the Star Wars license switched hands from Bantam to Del Rey in order to deliver more than twice the content than was originally planned.
Beyond Thrawn, we aren’t including two-entry stories on this list, though that doesn’t make them any less worthy of your attention.
Trilogies and long-form series are both unique and rewarding in their own ways. Trilogies expand otherwise single-book stories into something more substantial, but aren’t going to take over your life. Longer Legends series can do exactly that—which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your level of commitment, enjoyment of the story, and free time. One thing’s for certain, in the words of our favorite swamp-dwelling Jedi Master, “Size matters not.”
Star Wars Legends Long Form Series
Trilogies aren’t the only form of Legends series, though. Three major long-form series impact the continuity of Legends’ overall story arc in absolutely massive ways. And the three series are of wildly different tones and subject-matter as well.
New Jedi Order
Most famous of the three series is Del Rey’s insanely ambitious New Jedi Order, which was published from 1999 to 2003. It brought in extra-galactic technology-hating alien invaders to ransack the New Republic. It consists of nineteen full-length novels, several short stories, a novella, and even had a tie-in comics series from Dark Horse. It’s most likely a multi-year investment if you want to tackle the whole thing but is more than worth it for the way the series upends the status quo of Star Wars storytelling, invests in its core characters, and reaches a climax of epic proportions with James Luceno’s The Unifying Force.
In a way, the New Jedi Order is a series of series. Michael Stackpole, familiar to fans of the X-Wing books, wrote books two and three of the series which makes up the Dark Tide duology (which was originally slated to be a trilogy). We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the greatest Jedi to ever cosplay as Batman, Corran Horn, plays a major role. . . Beyond that, James Luceno of Darth Plagueis fame burst onto the scene of Star Wars books with the Agents of Chaos duology. Greg Keyes wrote the Edge of Victory duology, containing one of the standout NJO books with Conquest, which sees Anakin Solo on a mission to save the students from the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV. The Enemy Lines duology from Aaron Allston is essentially a couple of Rogue/Wraith Squadron stories backdooring into the NJO and are a ton of fun. Finally, just when you thought it was all duologies, Sean Williams and Shane Dix deliver the Force Heretic Trilogy, where our heroes explore the mysteries of the Force sensitive planet Zenoma Sekot. Of course, many of the standout books along the way are standalone entries without belonging to a duology, such as Traitor, Balance Point, Star by Star, and the book that dropped a moon on Star Wars fans everywhere: Vector Prime. If you’re looking for a series that will almost certainly take you more than a year of your free time, look no further.
Legacy of the Force
The New Jedi Order taught us a variety of lessons as Star Wars fans. First, and most importantly, we learned never to challenge Corran Horn to a swordfight. Well, maybe that’s not the most important lesson. . . On the one hand, we learned that series longer than trilogies have enormous storytelling potential. But on the other hand, we also learned that nineteen novels is just too long and that juggling a story between that many authors is inviting chaos.
Thus, a brain trust was formed at Del Rey and the subsequent long-form series were written by a trio of authors, each writing three books. A trilogy of trilogies, if you will.
The first of these nine-book series to follow the New Jedi Order was Legacy of the Force. Written by a beloved legend of Legends, Aaron Allston, along with Troy Denning and Karen Traviss, LoTF was a return to form as a more straightforward, traditional Star Wars story in which a heroic Jedi turns to the dark side. After all, what says back-to-normal after an alien invasion than a story of Jedi v. Sith? Rife with lightsaber fights, betrayal, drama, and even Boba Fett, Legacy of the Force delivers on everything it tries to accomplish and is unanimously recommended among the Youtini staff.
Fate of the Jedi
In many ways the swan song of Legends, Fate of the Jedi is like a victory lap of decades of Star Wars storytelling. This time around, the authors consisted of Allston, Denning, and Christie Golden, who would become a go-to writer for Del Rey for years to come.
Written alongside John Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe of the Sith short stories as a tie-in crossover event, Fate of the Jedi tells of the discovery of a hidden tribe of ancient Sith who set their sights on conquering the galaxy. Very on brand for Sith. One such Sith, Vestara Khai, strikes up a romance with none other than Ben Skywalker, the one and only son of the Grand Master himself. Add in a mysterious paranoia that threatens the sanity of the young Jedi and a corrupt political system that exiles Luke Skywalker from the Galactic Alliance, FoTJ is one wild series with a lot of moving pieces that strikes a drastically different tone than its predecessor, Legacy of the Force.
All three of the long Legends series build on the established characters and stories established in the ‘90s. While not required reading (there’s not an exam, we promise), investing in books such as The Thrawn Trilogy, the Jedi Academy Trilogy, the Corellian Trilogy, the X-Wing series, the Hand of Thrawn Duology, and the Young Jedi Knights are sure to enhance your appreciation and comprehension of the tapestry that the later Legends authors were able to achieve. These, along with The Courtship of Princess Leia and the notorious I, Jedi form the backbone of recommended reading to be a fully trained Jedi Knight who is ready to tackle these longer series. If you’re the type of person who read the Cliffsnotes of the book the night before the test in high school, then you’ll at least want to read up on the characters of Mara Jade, Corran Horn, Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, Tenel Ka Djo, as well as the flyboys Wedge Antilles and Tycho Celchu. Then you’re officially ready to be invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong!
Star Wars Legends Series by Era
Old Republic Era
The Old Republic Series
- Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
- Deceived by Paul S. Kemp
- Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams
- Annihilation by Drew Karpyshyn
Chronologically, the first Legends series is the Old Republic series. It’s less sequential than most Star Wars series, more episodic in nature. It consists of Revan, Deceived, Fatal Alliance, and Annihilation. Each book ties into 2010’s massively multiplayer online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic in its own unique way. Each book has its own protagonist, ranging from the infamous Revan himself to Darth Malgus to Theron Shan (descendent of KOTOR’s Bastilla Shan). While lacking in the epic conclusion that comes at the end of a more connected series, the Old Republic books made for an excellent tie-in publishing program to accompany the highly anticipated video game.
- Path of Destruction by Drew Karphyshyn
- The Rule of Two by Drew Karphyshyn
- Dynasty of Evil by Drew Karphyshyn
It’s dark. It’s epic. It’s the quintessential page-turner. The Darth Bane Trilogy is the shining example of the stars aligning in an author pairing with a Star Wars book. Drew Karphyshyn capitalized on his success with Knights of the Old Republic to deliver a delightfully dark grand-slam of a trilogy consisting of Path of Destruction, The Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil. Karphyshyn takes Bane from a lowly miner and son of an abusive father on his homeworld of Apatros to being not only a Sith Lord but one who entirely upended the culture of Sith Lords for centuries to come. Paired with his apprentice Darth Zannah and sought after by the light of the Jedi in Valenthyne Farfalla, the Darth Bane Trilogy has a small but near-perfect cast of characters to accompany the titular Dark Lord in his galaxy-altering trilogy.
The Clone Wars Era
- Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
- Triple Zero by Karen Traviss
- True Colors by Karen Traviss
- Order 66 by Karen Traviss
- Imperial Commando: 501st by Karen Traviss
Moving into the Clone Wars era on the one hand opened up the storytelling possibilities with introducing familiar characters like Anakin and Obi-Wan as protagonists, but also leaves the Legends novels as a bizarre alternate timeline when compared to the events that transpire in Dave Filoni’s Clone Wars tv show. Most significantly, Karen Traviss established Mandalorian culture from the ground up in her Republic Commando series.
Telling the tale of an elite squad of special ops Clone Troopers, Republic Commando follows Delta and Omega Squads as they defend the republic and slowly unravel the mystery of their existence and of a plot to conquer the galaxy... Ultimately the series ended prematurely as the creative direction between her books and the animated series dovetailed in different directions, leading to one of the greatest tragedies in Legends. Nevertheless, Traviss achieves character development and builds tension unlike any other writer in Legends and the series presents a view of the Clone Wars in which the Jedi are far from infallible and the Mandalorians’ role is much more prominent. Books one through four (Hard Contact, Triple Zero, True Colors, and Order 66) form the first storyline, while book five (Imperial Commando: 501st) begins a new storyline that was never completed but serves as an epilogue to the series.
Rise of the Empire Era
Dark Lord Trilogy
- Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno
- Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
Coruscant Nights Trilogy
- Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves
- Street of Shadows by Michael Reaves
- Patterns of the Force by Michael Reaves
For the longest time, the expanse between the Clone Wars and A New Hope was a dark void in the Expanded Universe timeline. George Lucas reserved the era to tell the kind of stories he wanted to tell how he wanted to tell them. Classic George. For that reason, the only Legends series in this era are ancient and mostly inconsequential to the larger arc of Legends. That being said, GL opened up the floodgates for creatives to expand this era following the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005. That’s when the Dark Lord Trilogy came to be, along with the Coruscant Nights trilogy (a 5-book series if you include Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and The Last Jedi), and The Force Unleashed (not included on this list of Legends series but worthy of note to be sure).
The Han Solo Trilogy
- The Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin
- The Hutt Gambit by A. C. Crispin
- Rebel Dawn by A. C. Crispin
- Han Solo at Star’s End by Brian Daley
- Han Solo’s Revenge by Brian Daley
- Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley
The Lando Calrissian Adventures
- Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu by L. Neil Smith
- Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon by L. Neil Smith
- Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka by L. Neil Smith
Everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder gets not one but two trilogies in this era. A. C. Crispin wrote Han’s original origin story in which he meets Chewbacca, falls in love with a girl (no not that one), acquires the Falcon, and starts working for Jabba the Hutt. Her trilogy is The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn. It takes place earlier in the timeline (mostly) than the other Solo trilogy, but was written much later in real time. Han’s other trilogy was the very first Star Wars series written! Brian Daley of the NPR radio drama fame brought the roguish scoundrel to life in the late ‘70s with Han Solo at Star’s End, Han Solo’s Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. They’ve since been compiled into a single paperback edition and go hand-in-hand with L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian Adventures.
Dark Forces Trilogy
- Soldier for the Empire by William C. Dietz
- Rebel Agent by William C. Dietz
- Jedi Knight by William C. Dietz
The most familiar era in Star Wars storytelling is the era encompassing the events of the Original Trilogy. With the Galactic Empire and a ragtag group of rebels, what more could you need? The old-school Legends days saw the publication of a handful of series set in this era, each with its own flavor.
Perhaps the most unique entry among Legends series is the Dark Forces Trilogy by William C. Dietz. The story follows wannabe Chuck Norris Kyle Kataarn, who starts off as an Imperial Cadet and eventually graduates to full-fledged Jedi Knight. But the Dark Forces Trilogy isn’t your traditional Legends trilogy; tt’s actually it’s own unique category of Star Wars media—the illustrated novel. They were originally published by Dark Horse Comics and feature twenty-five full-page illustrations to accompany the stories therein.
In a way, the trilogy serves as a companion piece to the video games Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, and Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, but the stories certainly stand on their own as some of the most underrated Legends stories ever written. They even received audio drama adaptations from High Bridge Audio!
- Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
- Tales from Jabba’s Palace
- Tales of the Bounty Hunters
- Tales from the Empire
- Tales from the New Republic
Less linear than your typical Legends series, the “Tales” books from Kevin J. Anderson in the mid-to-late ‘90s are a great example of the Expanded Universe doing exactly that—expanding the universe. The five books in the series all tell the stories of the characters seen on screen for mere seconds and make it feel like each and every character in the galaxy far, far away has a story just waiting to be told. In this series you can find out what happened to Greedo’s corpse after he was shot in cold blood in his seat in his favorite bar by Han Solo, what it’s like to be a father-figure to a rancor, and how Boba Fett escaped from the gullet of the sarlacc pit. The series is extremely eclectic and extremely Legendsy.
Bounty Hunter Wars
- The Mandalorian Armor by K. W. Jeter
- Slave Ship by K. W. Jeter
- Hard Merchandise by K. W. Jeter
The third trilogy told in the Rebellion era is especially relevant these days. Boba Fett, Dengar, Bossk, and the like chase after bounties and try to make their way in the universe. They navigate the tenuous alliances of the Bounty Hunters Guild, rocket through hyperspace, and make under-the-table deals with the likes of Prince Xizor and Darth Vader. From author K. W. Jeter, who wishes his contract included residuals on merch from the Mandalorian.
New Republic Era
The series with the greatest number of titles to its name is the New Republic Era. After the completion of the Original Trilogy, George Lucas gave writers free reign (for the most part—no major character deaths was part of the deal) to continue the story of Star Wars after Return of the Jedi. This meant the expansion of the story in ways that made for a world’s worth of characters and plots that would generate a fandom unto itself. While some stand up to the test of time better than others, these series are in many ways the heart of Legends.
- Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole
- Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole
- The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackpole
- The Bacta War by Michael A. Stackpole
- Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston
- Iron Fist by Aaron Allston
- Solo Command by Aaron Allston
- Isard’s Revenge by Michael A. Stackpole
- Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston
- Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston
The X-Wing books are, quite honestly, a conglomerate of two series and a few stand-alone novels. They were the first Star Wars books to feature an entirely new cast of characters, with the only major Original Trilogy character being a tertiary character at best in Wedge Antilles.
Calling Wedge Antilles a tertiary character essentially equates to treason for most Legends fans, however, and that’s due almost entirely to the success of the X-Wing books. Totalling ten novels and a decade’s worth of comics, writers Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston tapped into the heart of Star Wars with their stories of flyboys, teamwork, and subterfuge. They’re chalk-full of humor and larger-than-life antics and make for one leg of the foundation of the early days of Legends series that would eventually pave the way for the expansive creativity that would come years later with series like the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, and the like.
Under close examination, the X-Wing books could honestly be divided into two primary series: the Rogue Squadron books and the Wraith Squadron books. Books 1-4 follow the Rogues, the best pilots in the New Republic, as they reform the squadron following a disastrous series of defeats. The new team, consisting of dynamic personalities such as Corran Horn and Tycho Celchu, must learn to work together as they look to liberate the galactic capital of Coruscant from the grips of Admiral Ysanne Isard. Aaron Allston takes the reins with books 5-8 as the ragtag group of independent specialists on their last chance at redemption come together to do the jobs no one else is willing to do. Allston achieved greatness with his humor, heartbreak, and harrowing adventures behind enemy lines as the Wraiths sought to uncover the location of Warlord Zsinj and take him down from within.
Finally, books 8-10 are each standalone adventures that feel like keeping the party going just one more round each time.
- Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
- Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
- The Last Command by Timothy Zahn
What could we say about the Thrawn Trilogy without it sounding like an exaggeration? Heir to the Empire even charted at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List! Timothy Zahn revived the brand when it looked to be dormant.
The long story short is that Zahn was tasked with writing books for a property that was extremely visual and auditory in a way that captured the magic of the films and the heart of its main characters without being derivative. And he did exactly that. Not only did he write stellar versions of Han, Luke, and Leia, he created an enormous cast of original characters who would become some of the go-to characters for dozens of writers for years to come with Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Just about everything else to follow in the timeline in Legends continuity owes a debt to the Zahn and his out-of-this world trilogy.
Jedi Academy Trilogy
- Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson
- Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson
- Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson
Sci-fi legend Kevin J. Anderson took the galaxy in a different direction than Zahn in the follow-up trilogy to the Thrawn Trilogy. Continuing the idea that Luke would want to reestablish the Jedi Order, Anderson established a new Jedi Academy at the site of the former Rebel base on Yavin IV, where he would accidentally anger an ancient Sith spirit, and fall prey to not one but two students-turned-Dark-Jedi in the span of a single trilogy. Add in a superweapon, the spice mines of Kessell, and Lando falling for Mara Jade, and you’ve got one of the most unforgettable Legends stories that ever Legendsed. While wacky, the trilogy is undeniably foundational to the decades of development that would follow and has since been referenced in countless Star Wars properties, most notably the reappearance of Kessell and the Maw in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The Callista Trilogy
- Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly
- Darksaber by Barbara Hambly
- Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly
The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy
- Before the Storm by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
- Shield of Lies by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
- Tyrant’s Test by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Corellian Trilogy Trilogy
- Ambush at Corellia by Roger MacBride Allen
- Assault at Selonia by Roger MacBride Allen
- Showdown at Centerpoint by Roger MacBride Allen
The ‘90s birthed a lot of trilogies, as evidenced by the fact that we have to combine the three of these into a lone paragraph. The success of The Thrawn Trilogy gave way to the notion that the trilogy was the pinnacle of Star Wars storytelling. As the ‘90s wore on, however, it became apparent that Star Wars was suffering from trilogy fatigue.
That being said, these trilogies each have their own merits and are perfectly enjoyable in their own rights, especially as the time capsule of the throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall optimism of the early days of Legends. In a nutshell, the mid-to-late ‘90s explored the origins of the Jedi of old as Luke looked to rebuild the Jedi, while the New Republic looked to solidify its hold on the galaxy as numerous factions and power-grabbers encroached on its territory, including from within the Solo family itself.
It’s a good example of how awkward of a read some of these series are nowadays since the creation of the Prequels. Nevertheless there are countless “worth it” moments along the way if you allow yourself to get invested. Of the three, the Corellian Trilogy is the most consequential to the galaxy at large and has a bearing on numerous stories later on in the timeline.
The New Jedi Order
- Vector Prime by R. A. Salvatore
- Dark Tide I: Onslaught by Michael A. Stackpole
- Dark Tide II: Ruin by Michael A. Stackpole
- Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial by James Luceno
- Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse by James Luceno
- Balance Point by Kathy Tyers
- Edge of Victory I: Conquest by Greg Keyes
- Edge of Victory II: Rebirth by Greg Keyes
- Star by Star by Troy Denning
- Dark Journey by Elaine Cunningham
- Enemy Lines: Rebel Dream by Aaron Allston
- Enemy Lines: Rebel Stand by Aaron Allston
- Traitor by Matthew Stover
- Destiny’s Way by Walter Jon Williams
- Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams & Shane Dix
- Force Heretic II: Refugee by Sean Williams & Shane Dix
- Force Heretic III: Reunion by Sean Williams & Shane Dix
- The Final Prophecy by Greg Keyes
- The Unifying Force by James Luceno
With a turnover in hands with the real-world publisher of Star Wars books came a shakeup in how the stories were being told. The previously sacred rule of not killing off Original Trilogy characters was on the table for discussion for the first time. Beyond that, the creators realized that the EU was treading water to a certain extent in the late ‘90s. So the storytellers wanted to shake up the equilibrium of what you thought you were getting yourself into when reading a book with the words “Star Wars” on the cover. Add in an eclectic group of sci-fi authors at a French-Thai restaurant in New York City and the New Jedi Order was born.
The series ranges from hard sci-fi to lighthearted X-Wing adventure to a religious textbook for alien invaders but at its best was a story of a new generation of Jedi receiving the baton from the legends in their lives. You’ll learn more than you ever thought possible about dovin basals, Shamed Ones, and the living planet Zenoma Sekot. The series has proven to be controversial for its villains, its length, its major character deaths, and its utter lack of Timothy Zahn. Five of the nineteen novels were released as hardcovers for the masses, while the others existed only in paperback (unless you count the Sci-Fi Book Club editions).
- The Joiner King by Troy Denning
- The Unseen Queen by Troy Denning
- The Swarm War by Troy Denning
The New Jedi Order was followed by the Dark Nest Trilogy, which was written entirely by Troy Denning. He pitted our heroes against the mind-controlling insectoid Killiks, trained Leia as a Jedi, and saw Jacen Solo reckon with the trauma he experienced in the Yuuzhan Vong war. It’s incredibly bizarre but is foundational to the Legacy of the Force series, especially in regard to Jacen Solo’s storyline and the introduction of reptilian Jedi Master Saba Sebatyne.
Legacy of the Force
- Betrayal by Aaron Allston
- Bloodlines by Karen Traviss
- Tempest by Troy Denning
- Exile by Aaron Allston
- Sacrifice by Karen Traviss
- Inferno by Troy Denning
- Fury by Aaron Allston
- Revelation by Karen Traviss
- Invincible by Troy Denning
Fate of the Jedi
- Outcast by Aaron Allston
- Omen by Christie Golden
- Abyss by Troy Denning
- Backlash by Aaron Allston
- Allies by Christie Golden
- Vortex by Troy Denning
- Conviction by Aaron Allston
- Ascension by Christie Golden
- Apocalypse by Troy Denning
The final major era in Legends storytelling is an era entirely unexplored at this point in the freshly reborn Canon. The next generation of heroes such as Jacen and Jaina Solo are now seasoned by war and the galaxy is recuperating from the trauma of an alien invasion. This era encompasses two distinct long-form series of nine novels apiece: Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi. Both are right in the sweet spot of long enough to establish plenty of lore, twists, turns, and character development, and yet not nearly as tedious as the New Jedi Order.
Get Started Reading Star Wars
Want to know more about Legends books? Having trouble deciding where to start when there’s a mountain of interesting content? That’s where the Essential Legends Collection comes in. Classic Legends novels are being reprinted by Del Rey in a larger paperback size with stunning, fresh artwork. Check out the Thrawn Trilogy, Darth Bane Trilogy, Rogue Squadron Series, or amazing standalone novels like Shatterpoint and Kenobi. Rounding out the initiative is the production of all-new unabridged audiobooks—Rogue Squadron and Shatterpoint for example. It’s a great way to take your first steps into a larger world of the Expanded Universe.
Another solid option is to start with a character, theme, era, or author. We have an ever-expanding library of reading guides at youtini.com. If you’re looking primarily for Legends material, we’ve got guides characters such as Revan, Darth Plagueis, and Mara Jade, for example. Then there are our thematic guides, each loaded with Legends (and Canon) content—the Ancient History of the Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunters, and even Mandalorians! If you’re looking to enjoy these books in the company of good friends and an inclusive and positive community, check out our Legends podcast! Legends Lookback is live on YouTube every Thursday night at 9:30 EST.
We’d love to have you join our community! At Youtini, we have a vibrant Legends Discord channel, a place to show off our collections, as well as dozens of other channels full of love, inside jokes, and celebrating the galaxy far, far away.