Star Wars: The Force Awakens ushered in an entirely new generation of fans looking for more adventures in the galaxy far, far away, but with the whole issue of Legends canon vs. the new canon and a whole slate of new books, comics, and movies arriving in the next few years, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Luckily for you, it’s become a bit easier to dive into the canon materials now that a clear line has been drawn between Legends (pre-Disney) and new canon (post-Disney) stories, but that new material is quickly growing, too.
In order to help new fans get a clear look at the official Star Wars timeline, we’ve put together a list of the most central Star Wars books, comics, and games and detailed how they relate to the movies and TV series.
What won’t you see on this list?
Most Star Wars Insider short stories, Star Wars Rebels Magazine comics, Forces of Destinyshorts, or Disney novelizations like The Princess, The Farmboy, and The Scoundrel. Star Wars Insider stories have been included where we felt they contributed most to the overarching timeline — or if we felt they were particularly good.
This timeline is intended to help you find the best jumping-on point. (There’s always the “pick up whatever you find first” approach, though.) Dates are sometimes approximate and are based on years before (BBY) and after (ABY) the Battle of Yavin, equivalent to before and after A New Hope,as per the official canon chronology.
32 – 20 BBY – Age of Republic
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Cory Smith and Luke Ross
The Age of Republic comics miniseries is composed of one-shot issues that prove writer Jody Houser is a powerful new addition to Star Wars fiction. The series focuses on Prequel characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Maul, Jango Fett, Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, Count Dooku, and General Grievous. They each get their own issues, which can be read together or separately. Age of Republic Special stars Mace Windu and brings in heroes and villains from across the Clone Wars.
32 BBY – Marvel’s Darth Maul
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Luke Ross
Set before the events of The Phantom Menace and the villain’s first demise at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, this comic book miniseries follows Darth Maul in the early days of his apprenticeship under Darth Sidious. While he’s not allowed to engage the Jedi just yet, Maul still manages to come face to face with a young Jedi Padawan during one of his missions for the Dark Lord of the Sith. The events of the series show how the dark side makes Maul more powerful but also incredibly flawed.
32 BBY – The Phantom Menace
Directed & Written by George Lucas
29 BBY – Marvel’s Obi-Wan & Anakin
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Marco Checchetto
This comic series, written by Charles Soule and penciled by Marco Checchetto, is Disney’s first foray into deep Prequel territory, without even The Clone Wars to hang on to. Devoid of any ancillary material. Obi-Wan & Anakin paints a slightly different picture of the iconic Jedi team-up than the Legends stories did before. Anakin is a headstrong tinkerer, but there is also an edge of vengefulness or self-hatred around him in the first issue when he summons a hologram of Darth Maul that surprises and disgusts the Jedi Council.
The series expands on how Anakin’s life as a slave affects the way he views the Jedi. This isn’t an easy apprenticeship for either Jedi, but we know that it’s leading up to at least some camaraderie by the time of Padme’s attempted assassination in Attack of the Clones.
28 BBY – Queen’s Shadow
Written by E.K. Johnston
This young adult novel details the lives of Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens. The loose plot follows Padmé as she transitions from queen to senator, but the episodic story is much more than that. It confronts the idea of slavery in Star Wars, the tragedy of the way Papatine manipulated Padmé’s political path, and the problems and privileges of ruling at such a young age. Padmé is presented as a formidable warrior, a teen still learning to hold her own, and a shrewd negotiator.
Before Jyn Erso embarked on her fateful mission to steal the plans to the Death Star from the evil Empire in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, she lived on Coruscant with her parents, Galen and Lyra. Galen is a scientist who means to use his kyber crystal research to produce renewable energy for the galaxy, but his friend Orson Krennic has very different plans. The scientist doesn’t know that he’s actually helping create a weapon for the Death Star!
19 BBY – Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
Written by Jeremy Barlow
Art by Juan Frigeri
Although Mother Talzin appeared to have perished in The Clone Wars, she returns in what may or may not be a spiritual form during the many battles in Son of Dathomir. This comic miniseries, like Dark Disciple, was adapted from unused scripts from The Clone Wars, and is something of a battle royale, pitting Darth Maul against a variety of foes, including Count Dooku and General Grievous.
19 BBY – “Kindred Spirits”
Written by Christe Golden for Star Wars Insider #159
Often, Star Wars Insider stories will tie directly to one of the recently released novels, exploring side characters or presenting scenes before or after the book. In the case of “Kindred Spirits,” the author was also the same: Christie Golden penned this tale of Asajj Ventress finding an unlikely ally shortly before Dark Disciple. Readers interested in the bounty hunter persona Ventress adopted during The Clone Wars might especially appreciate the tone of this one, which also features another tough female character.
19 BBY – Dark Disciple
Written by Christie Golden
While fans clamored for more of The Clone Wars after the animated series’ cancellation, stories set in this era, and overseen by many of the same writers and producers, began to emerge in different formats. Some unaired episodes of The Clone Wars were aired during conventions or released online; others were adapted into comics, as in Son of Dathomir. Dark Disciple was one of the more high-profile results of this effort, as it is a full-length novel telling the story of Asajj Ventress after her story on the television show had ended.
Ventress is reluctantly recruited by Quinlan Vos, a morally ambiguous Jedi in pursuit of Count Dooku. Dark Disciple is, in part, a love story, showing Ventress and Vos’ relationships with one another and how that affects their views of the Force. It’s also a war story, with the inventive action typical of The Clone Wars.
19 BBY – Revenge of the Sith
Directed & Written by George Lucas
19 BBY – Marvel’s Kanan
Written by Greg Weisman
Art by Pepe Larraz
If you watch Rebels but haven’t read Star Wars books or comics before, Kanan series is a good place to start. The stories alternate between the crew of the Ghost undertaking what at first seems to be a simple mission on Lothal, and Kanan’s memories of Order 66 and his training with his Jedi Master. This is a good way to learn about this fan-favorite character.
19 BBY – Marvel’s Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
This series literally starts at the moment Darth Vader is born, a second after the end of Revenge of the Sith. Unlike Marvel’s first Darth Vader series, this new ongoing book tackles the earliest days of Anakin’s transformation into the feared Sith apprentice, more machine than man.
18 BBY – Ahsoka
Written by E.K. Johnston
What happened to former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano after leaving the Order in The Clone Wars? This is the story of what led Ahsoka down the path to becoming the Rebel agent Fulcrum. Anyone who loves the character’s appearances in the animated series should read this book.
14 BBY – “Orientation”
Written by John Jackson Miller for Star Wars Insider #157
Like “Kindred Spirits,” John Jackson Miller’s “Orientation” has some of the same characters as the Star Wars novels that came out around the same time. It was packaged along with Lords of the Sith, but touches some other Star Wars material, too.
Darth Vader is ostensibly the main character of the story, strutting his way around an Imperial training ship. But the other star of this story is Rae Sloane, a young cadet. Remember that name.
14 BBY – Lords of the Sith
Written by Paul S. Kemp
Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine have crash-landed in the dangerous wilderness of Ryloth in this dark side road trip. Lords of the Sith also has a connection to Rebels and The Clone Wars:freedom fighter Cham Syndulla sees a potential advantage for his rebels and tries to assassinate the Sith while they’re working their way through the wilderness.
The novel explores Vader and Palpatine’s tense power struggles as well as the things that bind them together. Lords of the Sith also has the new canon’s first LGBT character, the slovenly Imperial Moff Mors, who has her own character arc as the story goes on.
14 BBY – Tarkin
Written by James Luceno
Another tale from the dark side, Tarkin shows the history and martial rise of the man who would one day command the Death Star. James Luceno was known for writing big, encyclopedic novels in the Legends timeline—he’s particularly good at fitting different parts of the canon together and talking about the political landscape of the galaxy far, far away. The Tarkin novel brings both of those things into the new canon and tells the story of Tarkin’s attempt to retake an experimental starship from Rebel saboteurs.
13 BBY – Lando’s Luck
Written by Justina Ireland
Disney Publishing has been knocking it out of the park with the young adult Star Wars novels, and Lando’s Luck is the most entertaining of the Solo tie-ins. Funny dialogue and a fast-paced adventure make this story—in which Lando and L3-37 team up with a young princess—a good one to pick up if you liked Lando in either Solo or The Empire Strikes Back.
13-10 BBY – Solo: A Star Wars Story
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan
11-5 BBY – Lost Stars
Written by Claudia Gray
Although Lost Stars spans throughout the Original Trilogy, it starts beforehand, with two young people joining the Imperial Academy. It’s essentially a love story, with Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree still holding their feelings for one another even after Thane joins the Rebellion. This book is also a great look at the psychology of the people inside the two armies.
The new Star Wars books have dispensed quickly with the idea that all Rebels are noble (or noble scoundrels) and that all Imperial loyalists are scheming. Lots of different things drive people to make their choices in war, and Lost Stars shows that. It also culminates in an exciting battle that ties into The Force Awakens. After reading this one, you’ll never look at Jakku quite the same way again.
11-2 BBY – Thrawn
Written by Timothy Zahn
When the old continuity was turned into Legends, it meant that many of the greatest characters introduced in the old EU were no longer canon. It seems like even that couldn’t keep the Empire’s greatest tactician down, though. The cold, Chiss admiral Thrawn returns to continuity with this new origin story from writer Timothy Zahn, the man who created the character back in the ’90s.
11 BBY – A New Dawn
Written by John Jackson Miller
For fans of Rebels, A New Dawn shows the origins of some fan-favorite characters and sets the tone for the new canon Imperials. It introduces the ruthlessly efficient Count Vidian, who goes up against Hera and Kanan when the fate of a planet is on the line. Joining them are the unlikely duo of conspiracy theorist Skelly and ex-Imperial surveillance officer Zaluna. Although it explains more about Kanan’s history than Hera’s (more about her can be found in the short story “Mercy Mission,” in the Rise of the Empire collection), A New Dawn is a good piece of the continuity puzzle for Rebels fans.
It was also the first book in the new canon, making its title doubly appropriate. Author John Jackson Miller was well-known for Legends material, like the novel Kenobi and the Knights of the Old Republic comic series, before he contributed the first book to the new canon.
6-4 BBY – Servants of the Empire
Written by Jason Fry
This four-book young reader series follows Zare Leonis, the Imperial cadet who helped Ezra escape the stormtrooper academy in season one of Rebels. Like Rebels itself, the series can be enjoyed by people outside of its grade-school audience, too. Part of the appeal is the characters: the story switches between Zare and his conflicting ideas about the Empire to his friend, hacker Merei Spanjaf, who launches her own investigations while trying to avoid being caught by her security expert mother.
Zare is on the hunt for his sister, a promising, Force-sensitive Imperial recruit taken by the Grand Inquisitor. Like in A New Dawn, Rebels fans will be able to find plenty of connections to their favorite characters.
6 BBY-3 ABY – Battlefront / Battlefront: Twilight Company
Video Game Developed by DICE
Novel Written by Alexander Freed
Like John Jackson Miller, Battlefront: Twilight Company author Alexander Freed came to Star Wars novels through short stories and comics. His canon short fiction has appeared in Star Wars Insider before (“One Thousand Levels Down” and “The End of History”).
Twilight Company visits some of the same locations available to players in the 2015 Battlefront video game, but its characters are new and unique. The cynical protagonist is Namir, a soldier who fights doggedly for the Rebellion’s cause without ever really believing that the cause is as noble as others do. He finds an unlikely ally in Chalis, a former Imperial governor whose ruthless plans for the Rebel squad’s success cause some dissent in the ranks.
5-2 BBY – Rebels
Created by Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, & Carrie Beck
3 BBY – Leia: Princess of Alderaan
Written by Claudia Gray
After winning fans’ hearts with the political novel Bloodline, Claudia Gray returned with a young adult novel about Leia’s youth on Alderaan and her first missions with the Rebel Alliance. Leia: Princess of Alderaanfocuses on the princess and her parents, Breha and Bail, but also includes cameos from characters such as The Last Jedi‘s Amilyn Holdo, Captain Panaka, and Grand Moff Tarkin.
2 BBY – Thrawn: Alliances
Written by Timothy Zahn
The wildly popular canon Thrawn novels continue with a story set during the Clone Wars. Alliances jumps between the Original Trilogy and the Prequel era, showing how Thrawn worked with Anakin Skywalker before and after he became Darth Vader. The book also features Padmé on her own mission during the Clone Wars. She finds herself reluctantly teaming up with the titular Chiss mastermind.
0 BBY – Guardians of the Whills
Written by Greg Rucka
A fun look at Jedha before the decidedly less fun events of Rogue One, Guardians of the Whillscaptures Baze and Chirrut’s voices well and shows what Jedha City was like before its destruction.
0 BBY – Rogue One
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by John Knoll, Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz, & Tony Gilroy
0 BBY – A New Hope
Directed & Written by George Lucas
0 BBY – 5 ABY: Battlefront II/ Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
Video Game Developed by EA DICE, Motive Studios, Criterion Software
Novel Written by Christie Golden
A prequel to the video game Battlefront II, the novel Inferno Squadintroduces players to Iden Versio, special forces commander and daughter of Imperial loyalist Admiral Garrick Versio. Assigned to infiltrate a group of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans, she and her team grapple with the morality of both the Empire and the violent splinter group of the Rebellion.
The video game’s campaign follows Inferno Squad from shortly before the destruction of the Death Star to the Battle at Jakku, where the Empire finally fell. Fans who read the novel will have much better context for the relationships between the characters in the campaign, which also introduces playable versions of Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren.
0 BBY – Marvel’s Princess Leia
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Terry Dodson
Many of Marvel’s Star Wars comic series so far take place in the Original Trilogy time period. Before information about The Force Awakens was public, Marvel was already doing all it could with its re-acquisition of the Star Wars brand, launching three ongoing series (Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Kanan), along with a succession of miniseries. The Princess Leia story picks up immediately after the end of A New Hope, touching on Leia’s feelings—or lack thereof—about the destruction of her home planet.
Although Rebel High Command wants her to keep a low profile, Leia makes it her mission to recruit surviving Alderaanians to the Rebel cause. They are in diaspora, but not all of the people she meets want to go to war. She’s helped by Evaan, a Rebel pilot with a not-so-favorable view of the woman she calls “ice princess.”
0 BBY – Heir to the Jedi
Written by Kevin Hearne
Heir to the Jedi was published right in the middle of the transition from Legends to new canon. Originally branded as part of the Empire & Rebellion series, along with Razor’s Edge and Honor Among Thieves, it alone of the three books in that series survived the cut-off. Kevin Hearne’s story explains how Luke learned the telekinesis he used in The Empire Strikes Back.
Since Obi-Wan never taught him that, someone had to encourage Luke to use the Force—and in Heir to the Jedi, it’s Nakari Kelen, a fellow Rebel pilot with whom Luke goes on a mission to retrieve a Rebel codebreaker.
0 BBY – Marvel’s Chewbacca
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Phil Noto
Some time after the events of A New Hope, Chewbacca finds himself comfortably crash-landed on the planet Andelm IV. He’s willing to have a bit of a nap before beginning a leisurely search for parts for his ship, but there are other people on the planet who aren’t so relaxed.
A girl named Zarro and her father have been conscripted into working essentially as slaves in a mine run by a man who plans to profit off of the Empire. Chewie and Zarro hatch a plan to free her father in this fun, five-issue series with beautiful art by Phil Noto.
0 BBY – The Weapon of a Jedi
Written by Jason Fry
Prolific Star Wars writer Jason Fry tells a quintessential Luke story in The Weapon of a Jedi. A young Luke travels to Devaron on a hunch sent by the Force and discovers an ancient Jedi Academy where he can hone his skills—and where he fights with a lightsaber for the first time.
Although we don’t know for sure whether the Jedi Temple on Devaron will affect the Star Wars universe going forward, it’s Luke’s best canon example of a place where Jedi can go to learn, and maybe influenced the academy he eventually built in the New Republic. The book also features flash forwards to Jessika Pava, the Resistance pilot who flew with Poe Dameron at the battle of Starkiller Base.