Best 'Star Wars' Expanded Universe Books

Expand your view of a galaxy far, far away with the best 'Star Wars' Expanded Universe books.

In a galaxy far, far away, there are even more Star Wars universes. The Star Wars Expanded Universe (SWEU) is a marvelous creation of fictional material to complement the Star Wars saga beyond the movies, the Clone Wars movie and book trilogy, and many other parts of the Star Wars bibliography. Apart from the fact that the Expanded Universe includes comic books, video games, toys, and other assorted media, the focus of the entire galactic story is in the bibliography. Moreover, many of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books are comparable in quality to the Star Wars trilogy itself. In fact, many overlap with out list of the Best Star Wars Books. OMNI has compiled a list of some of the best Star Wars Expanded Universe books.

The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars is such a monumental franchise today that it can be hard to remember that it all but died back in the 80s. After the 80s toy lines and cartoons lost traction, very few new Star Wars creations came to life until Timothy Zahn's book Heir to the Empire. The first book in the Thrawn Trilogy, Heir to the Empire tells the tale of an imperial admiral who led the remnants of the Empire against the Republic. The novel introduced several characters who would become mainstays of the Expanded Universe, and felt uncannily like the movies. It is also available as a graphic novel, if you prefer to visualize the story as it occurs. 

Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry

In a state of emergency—Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, is being taken to the detestable hoodlum Jabba the Hutt. As Princess Leia organizes a rescue mission involving Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and a splendid youthful pilot—Darth Vader has pit himself against the cleverness and savagery of his adversaries. Meanwhile, Xizor—the pioneer of a capable wrongdoing syndicate, looks to supplant Vader for the support of their common ace, the feared Emperor. Their objective: Luke Skywalker. All of a sudden Luke discovers his head as the potential prize of the two most abhorrence figures in the universe—one who needs him alive and one who needs him dead.

The Hand of Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn

The Empire remains at the precarious edge of an aggregate breakdown. Be that as it may, they have spared their most grievous arrangement for last. A plot is brought forth that could crush the New Republic in a bloodbath of genocide and common war. Then comes the stunning news that Grand Admiral Thrawn—the most shrewd and merciless warlord ever—has clearly come back from the dead to lead the Empire to a forecasted triumph. Confronting unimaginable odds, Han and Leia begin a frantic race against time to keep the New Republic from disentangling—notwithstanding two incomprehensible dangers—one from inside and one from outside. In the interim, Luke groups up with Mara Jade, utilizing the Force to find a baffling privateer boat with a team of clones. Yet, maybe what is most risky are the individuals who sneak in the shadows, coordinating a dim agreement that will transform the New Republic and the Empire into their toys.

The Dark Lord Trilogy by James Luceno

The Dark Lord Trilogy was not originally intended to be a trilogy. Together, the books chronicle Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Dark Vader, and they work together so well that fans began referring to them as the Dark Lord Trilogy. Eventually Del Rey published them in one collection. The first book, Labyrinth of Evil, focuses on Anakin and Obi-Wan learning about and trying to track down Darth Sidious. The Revenge of the Sith novelization increases the detail, depth, and motivations of the characters in the movie, making for a much richer, more satisfying storyline. Dark Lord is about Vader's early days, and his internal struggles with his new status, his new body, and his new master. While the books add to Revenge of the Sith most intensely, they improve all six Star Wars movies as a whole by adding more to Anakin's fall and eventual redemption.

Balance Point by Kathy Tyers

Harmed by hundreds of years of mechanical abundance, the planet Duro is an unacceptable hellfire surrendered by its own occupants, who stay over their dirtied world in orbital living spaces. In any case, there is nowhere else to channel the surge of evacuees escaping the dangerous Yuuzhan Vong. So an arrangement is struck: In return for another home, the exiles will work to restore the planet to well being, under the vigilant gaze of Leia Organa Solo. As tempers flare between the Duros and the New Republic, and between gatherings of displaced people, Han Solo, his child, Jacen, and the Ryn called Droma touch base to keep the peace. They are unaware that Leia is on Duro. What's more, Luke, Mara, and Anakin are en-route, hunting down a missing Jedi student.

Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

Revan is portrayed as a saint, double-crosser, victor, scoundrel, and hero. A Jedi who left Coruscant to vanquish Mandalorians and came back on the dark side, keen on decimating the Republic. The Jedi Council gave Revan his life back, yet the cost of recovery was high. His recollections have been eradicated. All that is left are nightmares and profound, withstanding trepidation. What precisely happened past the Outer Rim? Revan can't exactly recall, yet can't completely overlook. By one means or another he unearthed a repulsive mystery that debilitates the very presence of the Republic. With no idea what it is or how to stop it, Revan might just fizzle, for he's never confronted a more intense or malicious adversary. Be that as it may, nothing but the pain of death can stop him from trying.

Darth Plagueis by James Luceno

Whether you loved or hated the Prequel trilogy, few can argue that it did not leave some gaps in the storyline. The goal of many Expanded Universe books is to fill these gaps, and in the process they improve the prequels by adding depth and history. Darth Plagueis is one of the books that does this best. It ties in the story of the Sith who recruited Palpatine, set the plot against the Republic in motion, and much more. The book spans decades, and even covers the events of The Phantom Menace, tying the prequels together in a way the movies never did.

Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn

Outbound Flight functions as a prequel to the Thrawn Trilogy, and finally gives us some insight into the Outbound Flight mission we've heard mentioned so many times throughout the series. The Outbound Flight occurred during the events of the prequel trilogy and involved a group of Jedi Masters and colonists on an expedition beyond the galaxy searching for extra-galactic Force users. On the way, they run afoul of some unsavory alien civilizations and Thrawn, whose species hails from that area.

Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston

Aaron Allston authored many Expanded Universe stories, and Starfighters of Adumar is considered the greatest. Wedge Antilles and his pals Tycho, Hobbie and Janson, are sent as diplomats to a newly discovered planet. The planet is very focused on their fighter pilots, and cares very little for anyone who isn't a pilot. The story is quirky and fun, making it a great side story that is one of the wittiest in the Expanded Universe.

Iron Fist by Aaron Allston

Iron Fist follows the Wraiths, at this point a unit with some missions under their belts, as they go undercover as a mercenary pirate gang. Their goal is to be hired by the Warlord Zsinj, the biggest Imperial threat at the time. The story is an escalation of the themes established in Wraith Squadron.

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