These books are easy places to leap in into the adventure without any prior knowledge beyond of (at most) the movies. This is not a complete list or Star Wars stories. Going into these stories in particular, you pretty much leap into the action just as you did with the movies. Remember the first time A New Hope or The Phantom Menace started? No one knew what was going on, but for what that tiny bit in the opening scroll told us. The same is true here.
A good book is a fine read whether it’s labeled adult, young adult or for kids either. Good stories transcend age limits. Each author has their own style as well. I tried to stick to main characters or fan favorites for this. I also aimed for stories that stood alone rather than needing to read a full set as well as shorter books.
Some are out of print, but you still might happen on them in libraries, used book stores, flea markets and so on. This is especially true of graphic novels and comics, although they have been reprinted in various omnibus formats.
The main thing to remember is to check for whether the book is part of a series. If it is, you are committing to reading all of it to get the full story. But there are plenty of stories that aren’t part of a series. There are even a few exceptions (noted below) where being part of a series is no hindrance.
The Prequel Era Adventures
Follow Maul’s journey and his memories as he seeks to foil the Jedi and kill the Queen of Naboo, Amidala. Young adult book.
Darth Vader and the Lost Command
Vader is transitioning from the life he sacrificed and the love he lost, when he is sent on a mission to ensure a missing officer, son of Tarkin, is found and Tarkin’s loyalty ensured.
Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison
Vader finds out about a few more things the Jedi Council has kept from him, even as Imperial officers plot against the new Emperor.
Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin
An ancient danger threatens the Empire and a newer one is out to get Vader, in the form of assassins. But the last one is the most dangerous of all.
Find out the mysterious past of Jango Fett! How did he become involved with the Mandaloreans? And what is his secret grudge against the Jedi Order?
Blood Ties: Jango Fett and Boba
Jango Fett is sent to find and eliminate a Clone deserter that could be a security breach. Years later, Boba will find out his Father had a secret related to this mission.
Darth Vader is hunting the remnants of the Jedi. And they are hunting him. The graphic novel has several story arcs of Darth Vader learning to juggle his duty to the Emperor, following orders, and how to not only defeat the Jedi but erase even their memory from the galaxy.
The Original Trilogy
The various media have different angles: the comic/graphic novel version focused more on the bounty hunters and the game more on Dash Rendar.
This is a collection of shorts of the bounty hunters you see in The Empire Strikes Back, as they pursue Han Solo. They stand alone. The only one that doesn’t hold true is Boba Fett. This veers his story into another era.
These short stories feature background and new characters, some made very popular in other stories, including Corran Horn and Thrawn.
The Mos Eisley Cantina had far more going on then a Jedi, a farm boy and a pair of smugglers. Beings on the run, bounty hunters seeking them and more were all in the midst of adventure!
Before, after and during our heroes rescue of Han during Return of the Jedi, various palace intrigues were in full swing. From Oola, to the weeping rancor keeper. Many stories intertwine. Fan favorite Mara Jade has a story here as well.
This is the life of Anakin Skywalker AKA Darth Vader, from growing up on Tatooine, to training under Obi-Wan, to his years as Vader and his return from the Dark Side. It’s a young adult book and some parts are new and some parts you might see in other stories. It came with a nice slip cover and amazing art on the cover.
From his youth at the Jedi Temple to his isolation on Tatooine to some interesting tidbits of his view of his former apprentice from the afterlife. Another young adult book with both new and old content and a very art on cover and slip cover.
Luke’s life including his childhood, years with the Rebellion and into the years after when he forms the Jedi Academy. This young adult book includes new content and adventures, as well as some encounters with past enemies. Again this one has a really nice cover and slip cover.
Star Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader.
The Sith Lord is on a mission to stop a Rebel base in an asteroid belt. Only his incredible flying and Force skills will get him through. But that might not help him with the snarky smuggler pilot they captured to be his guide.
Luke Skywalker has an adventure while training with Yoda on Dagobah.
Han Solo’s unexpected side trip leaves Princess Leia’s mission for the Alliance side tracked when it gets a bounty hunter on their trail.
Han and Chewbacca end up in over their heads when a debt collector holds Chewie as collateral in a gladiator arena while forcing Han off on a job with a shady former colleague.
Chewbacca relates a tale of his youth where he is forced to take on slavers and find out growing up can carry a heavy price.
Fett is investigating an ancient derelict ship for treasure but he finds the ship full of unexpected danger as well as rival bounty hunters.
Darth Vader hires Boba Fett to go after a certain prize. But the Dark Lord doesn’t want any witnesses to what it is and that includes Boba Fett.
Post Return of the Jedi Adventures
In spite of the title, one of these stories is set during the Rebellion years. The rest however are set during the New Republic years. There is a surprise Boba Fett story, plus several of popular Expanded Universe characters.
Fan Fav Wedge Antillies and Rogue Squadron run into a past enemy. Most of his adventures (comic and novel) are in series. This one is a great introduction and stands alone.
Introducing Royal Guard, Kir Kanos. You didn’t think everyone was overjoyed at the Emperor’s death did you? There are those sworn to protect him, to sacrifice their own lives and those of their fellows for him. The lone survivor seeks revenge on those behind his leader’s death. This is the start of a series but it stands alone. It is also available in full audio cast format.
Adventures Before the Prequels
This is the story of Uliq Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider, their path to becoming Jedi. It’s the start of a series but the graphic novel stands alone. It’s set about 4000 years before the movie era.
The only confusing thing is the title. My copy does not say ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ and that sub title would later be used both for a video game and a comic book series.
You may be able to find this in Omnibus format or a Marvel collection at some point.
These stories take a bit more commitment, since they are duologies or trilogies, but explain some major events.
This is also available in graphic novel or comic book format. The original audio books were abridged, but read by Anthony Daniels (the real C3PO) and Denis Lawson (Wedge Antillies) A later unabridged version was released.
Events in this series are mentioned in Jedi Academy.
This is the trilogy that I,Jedi intertwines with, but you get it from the main characters point of view & goes beyond the Jedi Academy to other events.