Star Wars – Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig (Century, 2017) His penchant for the present tense notwithstanding, Wendig writes Star Wars much in the Legends (née Expanded Universe) vein of overblown military ops and political infighting. Ultimately, though, he does succeed in bridging some of the gap between Episodes VI and VII.
Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig (Century, 2015) Wendig writes informally but in a manner somehow not out of keeping with the original Star Wars films. The story, though broken by a series of semi-relevant, mostly unrelated vignettes (‘interludes’), kicks along nicely. Bones, the deranged battle droid, is a highlight.
Solo: A Star Wars Story dir. Ron Howard (2018) Origin stories are inherently problematic. Star Wars fans already know how Han Solo turns out, while his younger self is unlikely to equal the original (in characterisation or portrayal). Nevertheless, Solo presents a coherent narrative and does about as well as possible.
Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno (Del Rey, 2014) A relatively slim Star Wars volume, sketching out Tarkin’s formative years in flashback while teaming him up with Vader for a runabout battle of wits against anti-Imperial dissidents. Luceno provides constructive character development for Tarkin, Vader and the Emperor pre Episode IV.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (Del Rey, 2017) Star Wars fanatics may enjoy reconstructing A New Hope from this collection of short stories, each moving a peripheral character to centre stage. Mostly, though, background characters have been placed there for a reason. Some of these tales are truly, epically pointless.
Spaceballs dir. Mel Brooks (1987) The ultimate Star Wars spoof, corny beyond belief but laugh-out-loud funny in places and well worth watching every thirty years or so. Most of the highlights come courtesy of Rick Moranis, who surpasses genre as the nefarious if vertically challenged Dark Helmet.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi dir. Rian Johnson (2017) Not so much a clear, compelling story as a collection of moments modelled on someone’s favourite Star Wars memories. The balance of action and humour is about right, though, and The Last Jedi makes for a fitting end to the original saga.
Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, 2013) A peon to parenthood, expressed through a comic (and comedic) imagining/retrofitting of the father/daughter relationship between Darth Vader and Princess Leia. Amidst the Star Wars in-jokes, there lie such simple pleasures as tiny Leia cutting love hearts from Vader’s cape.
Star Wars – Fate of the Jedi: Ascension by Christie Golden; audiobook read by Marc Thompson (Books on Tape, 2011) After a slow start, Ascension builds into the classic Star Wars sweep of political intrigue and Jedi action, undermined by Golden’s obligation to keep the story unfinished and — at least in the audiobook — an often laughably melodramatic delivery,…
Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (Century, 2017) Grand Admiral Thrawn must rank as one of the all-time favourite Star Wars characters (including those from the films). Redacted by Disney to accommodate Episode VII, the Chiss strategist has been reinstated in this much-welcomed origin story charting his rise to prominence.