This Year the Best Star Wars Can Be Found On Your Shelves

On my last day of vacation, I decided to watch Return of the Jedi on Disney+. Normally, I refrain from watching this version of the film because it makes my inner Rancor rage for several reasons that aren’t limited to the concert at Jabba’s palace and ending with the lack of Ewok cartwheels to the tune of “Ewok Celebration”. The thing is, I’m also lazy and can’t be bothered to walk the literal three feet from my chair to the DVD shelf so I can load the Special Edition DVD, that contains the original cut, and put it in the PlayStation. I’m aware that this is a tough look for me but it’s not just uploading the DVD, but the television must be reformatted, the sound has to be adjusted, and I just wanted to throw the movie on while I played some Mario Golf and maybe read some comics. I’m not the one on trial here!

Jedi was the comfort food I was seeking on my last day of vacation and the need to watch it was probably expedited by my recent purchase of the Funko Force Ghost three-pack containing Anakin, Obi, and Yoda. Have you seen this set?! Oh my god, it’s amazing and it glows in the dark. I love it so and won’t have it in my possession until October which is probably slowly killing me. Keep a lookout for it on my Funko Pops only Instagram account (@iamgeek_pops)… yeah, I have one of those now. Again, I’m not here to be judged.

The fact of the matter is I love Jedi. There are so many wonderful childhood memories associated with this film and it will always hold a special place in one of my heart chambers. Like, have you ever watched and just appreciated every Harrison Ford facial expression choice?! I mean, what a movie for our guy as there is some stunning work here.

Watching Jedi had me thinking though, there hasn’t been a lot of Star Wars for our screens this year. Granted, last year we only got the end of The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian but the epicness of both those projects made it seem like we had all the Star Wars. In some manner of speaking, I think we did. This year though, it’s been The Bad Batch and not a whole lot else. Sure, we have Visions coming out next month, a project that not only looks stunning but super exciting with its reimagining of a galaxy we love so dearly, and The Book of Boba Fett is set for December but right now our screens are sans Star Wars and that’s a bummer.  

Yes, there are tons of projects to look forward to in the coming year. We know we’re getting Mando season three, Bad Batch season two, Andor, Obi-Wan, and hopefully (maybe) Ahsoka all next year. That’s a tremendous amount of Star Wars and there’s a lot to be excited about. That’s 2022 though, what about now? How can you get your Star Wars on when there isn’t much new content for our screens? Surely re-watches aren’t the only options?  Well, Geeklings, you’re in luck. There is a solution to the lack of Star Wars in your life right now and this solution is magical. It’s epic. It’s wonderful. It’s everything you want from a Star Wars. Geeklings, move away from the screens and prepare yourself for the fact that some of the best Star Wars currently won’t be found on your screens (insert dramatic pause here) but on your shelves.

Whaaaaaat?!?!

I have been having quite a wonderful year full of Star Wars goodness because my shelves, virtual as they are, have been flooding with outstanding reads. Now, I understand that the books aren’t for everyone but please give me a second to pitch you on what’s going on here, because we are in uncharted territory and it’s both thrilling and glorious.

[Side Note- pitch will be sort of vague to maintain spoiler-free but to garner your excitement]

A while back I came here and wrote about something called Project Luminous which ended up being a massive Star Wars book initiative focusing on the High Republic era of a galaxy far, far away. This is an era of Star Wars that takes place hundreds of years before the Skywalker Saga. We’re talking the height of the Jedi. There’s not just a handful of Jedi making their way through the galaxy, no sir. We’ve got thousands. We’ve got padawans galore. We’ve got Jedi Knights. We’ve got a Jedi Council. We’ve got… Yoda, who is our only true link to the Skywalker Saga. The Force is strong here and the expansion of the Jedi lore is fascinating. This series is aiming to bring us to the events of the Skywalker Saga and why the Jedi numbers are diminished but for now, we’re getting allllll the Jedi.

After being delayed because of COVID, the High Republic era kicked off in January with Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi which lays the foundation for this era of the galaxy. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot going on here but it introduces us to all the major characters and shines a light on what’s transpiring in the galaxy. Spoiler alert, the Outer Rim has got Republic issues and the Jedi/Republic are looking to fix that. Also, hyper lanes can be attacked and the results are bad. We’re talking planet-destroying levels of bad. Insert the Jedi at maximum strength and your awe. We also get introduced to our villains, the Nihil, who are a bunch of space pirates who use loopholes in the hyperspace lanes to navigate in doing their bad deeds. Bad dudes.

After that, you can read the Young Adult novel, Into the Dark by Claudia Gray which is a contained adventure, much smaller in scope than Light of the Jedi, that focuses on a Jedi padawan looking to come to terms with what’s expected of him, your new favorite Star Wars character who has a Groot like vibe, some Dark Side exploration, and tons and tons of corruption. This was a really fun read that focuses on a specific area of the High Republic and tells a solid story. Feels very Star Wars while expanding the overall story nicely.

The latest novel, The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, might be my favorite. Things get dark here. Pulling from the events of Light of the Jedi we get a book that is filled with some intense action that is used to wonderfully shape characters. The action serves a purpose and really sets the stakes between the Jedi and the Nihil. I would say, The Rising Storm shows us how legit of a threat the Nihil are and that ending… we haven’t seen anything like that in Star Wars before and it’s terrifying. But also exhilarating. The Rising Storm feels like a sprint that leaves you breathless and wanting more. I demand answers!

But there is more! Another Young Adult book, Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland, that I haven’t read yet but is at the top of my “To Read” pile. I hear some characters from Into the Dark return and I’m curious as to how those characters are responding to the events of The Rising Storm. Throw in the fact that Cavan Scott is running the Marvel Comics line of the High Republic, which just released their first trade today, and there is a bantha sized pile of stories for you to dive into.

Speaking of Marvel, the Star Wars comic line is on quite the adventure at the moment too. If you want to hang out with some more familiar friends (Luke, Chewie, Vader, Leia, and Lando) then please turn your attention to Marvel’s line-wide event, War of the Bounty Hunters. What’s happening here, you ask? Well, you know how Boba Fett left Cloud City with Han Solo in carbonite, right? Well, Jabba gets pissed that Boba’s taking too long to drop off his newest trophy and a bunch of bounty hunters attempt to steal Carbonite Han from Fett. And one succeeds! What follows is the Rebels, Empire, and loads of bounty hunters trying to take claim of Solo so they can get paid or use him as leverage or you know, free him.

Why is this awesome besides the obvious? This event is playing out in literally every Star Wars comic being published right now, outside of the High Republic of course, and is filling in some gaps between the end of Empire Strikes Back and the before mentioned/always wonderful Return of the Jedi. You get to hang out with some old friends in new adventures and who doesn’t want that?! Not to mention, the ending of the first issue of War of the Bounty Hunters… let me put it this way, if you’re a fan of Solo and have been wanting more of that story and characters then you’re going to love this. I promise.

Geeklings, the best Star Wars is out there waiting for you to find it. Take a break from your Rebels rewatch, I finished mine a few months ago and I’m still deep in my emotions over it and dive into some new stories. While we wait for the Book of Boba Fett, pick up an actual book, novel or graphic, and get your Star Wars on. Then come back here and tell me how right I was. And then we’ll celebrate to the tune of “Ewok Celebration” on repeat. What more could you possibly want out of life?

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