Warning: this article contains spoilers for the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While the first-ever standalone Star Wars film, Rogue One, is still blowing up the box office, it has one tiny issue that most big-budget franchise films do not: by the film’s end, nearly all of the main characters are dead.
That means, unless they’re miraculously resurrected, we won’t be seeing the motley crew that stars in the film in any sequels or other upcoming movies. Fortunately, though, we can always explore the past, and two new Young Adult novels aim to do just that.
Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills will delve into the lives of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus on Jedha, prior to the events of Rogue One. The two characters, played by Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, were clearly fan favorites so getting to explore their roles protecting the Kyber Temple is sure to satisfy many fans.
The synopsis for the new book by author Greg Rucka indicates the book will see Chirrut and Baze adapting to life on Jedha after the Empire arrives and destroys the Kyber Temple. When Saw Gerrera (played in the film by Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker) arrives on Jedha, the duo consider helping him fight the Empire, but must weigh the costs.
Another new book, Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis, will explore the life of Jyn Erso between the time of the film’s prologue and her mission to find the Death Star plans. Felicity Jones played the heroic lead character in Rogue One.
The synopsis for Rebel Rising reveals it will deal with Jyn’s upbringing at the hands of Saw Gerrera. From the sounds of it, the book will also explore Saw’s betrayal when he’s forced to abandon Jyn during a mission.
While it’s easy to dismiss these new books due to their Young Adult label, there are two reasons fans of all ages should pay attention. First, after Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, they reset the continuity in the novels and other supplemental material. They then created a story group that ensures all new materials fit into the new continuity without issue. That means, unlike other media tie-in novels, these new Star Wars books are canon. The second reason to read them is that Young Adult novels still tend to have the kind of depth and interest we expect from adult novels, but the page count is much lower, making them quick and easy reads.
Guardians of the Whills and Rebel Rising will both his store shelves on May 2, 2017. A new junior novelization of Rogue One will also be released on March 28.