It’s Star Wars Day! If you’re a fan, you might be planning a movie marathon or a re-read of your favorite SW book — or maybe you’d like to pick up a book you haven’t read. One of my favorite things about the galaxy is that there are so many different stories and so many different characters. People have their favorites, and there’s always friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) debate and discussion.
A few years ago, there was a tweet in response to the Skytalkers podcast about how “Star Wars has always been a guy thing.” Many people, including Mark Hamill, strongly felt otherwise. Star Wars is most certainly not just a “guy thing,” whatever that even means. I’ve always loved how as the galaxy has developed, we see more and more strong women of the galaxy, and we’re getting their stories — not just as props to the men. Side note: I’ve also always felt that Leia is the main character of the original trilogy, and I will never not be bitter that Episode 9 was supposed to be Leia’s movie. I hope one still gets made, somehow.
To help you celebrate Star Wars Day, I’ve put together some books and comics featuring various women of the galaxy. This is definitely not a comprehensive list, just a starting point. These are some of my favorites, and there are plenty more where these came from. May the force be with you!
Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
This book is set right after Rogue One and is a prequel to the video game Battlefront II. It introduces us to an Imperial special ops group called the Inferno Squad. They’ve been tasked with infiltrating the Dreamers, a partisan group once led by Saw Gerrera. Iden Versio leads them and is a leader like you’ve never seen before. Golden writes the Empire in a nuanced, detailed way that even made this Rebel loyalist have second thoughts about Inferno Squad.
Spark of the Resistance by Justina Ireland, Phil Noto
This is a middle grade book that was part of the lead-up to The Rise of Skywalker. In this book, Rey, Poe, Rose, and BB-8 are getting supplies from the Resistance when they get a call from the planet, Minfar, needing their help. Although they’re supposed to go back to the Resistance, they can’t leave a call for help unanswered, and they go to the planet to see what’s going on. The Zixon who live there are peaceful, and the First Order is threatening to overtake them — can Rey and her crew help? This is a fun novel, and Ireland really “gets” the SW galaxy. (Check out her SW The High Republic book Out of the Shadows for more!).
Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta, Emilio Laiso, Joe Caramagna, Andres Mossa
This comic is set right after Episode VI and looks at how Palpatine’s death impacted the galaxy. Shara Bey and her husband, Kes, are main characters, along with Luke, Han, and Leia. Shara and Kes are Poe Dameron’s parents, and we get a lot of their backstory in this comic, which is neat. Bey is a Rebel pilot, and we can see where Poe gets it from. The art is so great to look at, and Rucka is a wonderful writer. This is a comic that’s a welcome addition to the story.
Queen’s Shadow by EK Johnston
This is the first book of the Padmé trilogy that Johnston has written, and it’s a compelling look at a character that many of us don’t often think about too much. In this book, Padmé has just stepped down from her role as Queen, and has been asked to serve in the Galactic Senate. Willing to eagerly serve her people, she’s hesitant, but takes on the role anyway — what will it be like to be someone other than “the Queen?” It’s a character-driven story and while we get to know Padmé better, we also get a glimpse into the world of the Handmaidens.
Mara Jade – By the Emperor’s Hand by Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole, Carlos Ezquerra
If you’ve never read any Legends books, you’re missing out on a lot, but especially on Mara Jade. Smart, powerful, and kickass, she’s one of those Legends characters that people love and want more of, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen any time soon. Which is why it’s good that we at least have this comic for more Mara Jade goodness. In this TPB, which is mainly set after Return of the Jedi, Mara is an Agent of the Empire, and while the Emperor has died, she sets off to fulfill his last orders. The writing is fantastic (would you expect less from Zahn and Stackpole?), and the art is great — granted, the book is a bit dated, but the art complements the story and is visually appealing. This is one you definitely want in your SW library.
Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson
This TPB has all of the issues of the Princess Leia comic series, and while Leia can be portrayed visually as a bit more…glamorous than we typically think of her (at least IMO), it’s still worth a read. It’s set right after A New Hope, and we see Leia try to come to terms with the destruction of Alderaan and what that means — as well as being called on a new mission. If Leia is a favorite of yours, this is a must-read.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova
This book is a bit different — this is the story of two friends, Izzy and Jules. They were childhood friends on Batuu, until one day Izzy and her family left, leaving Jules behind to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer. Now, more than 10 years later, Izzy returns to Batuu to deliver a package, and she runs into Jules — but how can she let him into the life she has now? This is an action-packed, fun and flirty read while also introducing us to new characters and a richly-drawn new world.
Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
This book is a prequel to The Rise of Skywalker, and Roanhorse is just a fantastic Star Wars writer. The Resistance is on its last legs, and though Leia has put out a call for help, no one has answered. The First Order is still out there and still poses a threat, but the Resistance needs more people, and so a journey to find others — including old leaders — begins. This book is a real treat for SW readers, as Roanhorse makes connections across other books and brings threads from other stories into this book. But even if you aren’t super familiar with other books, you’ll still enjoy this one!