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These Classic 'Star Wars' Books Are Being Revived With New Covers

by Culture Slate 14 days ago in star wars

Have You Read These?

To celebrate Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary, Del Rey announced on April 2 (so no April Fools' Day joke here) that they are going to re-release classic novels from the now non-canon Expanded Universe of Star Wars under the banner of “The Essential Legends Collection.”

The first three books of this series to be released on June 15, 2021 are Timothy Zahn’s Heir to The Empire, Drew Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, and Matthew Stover’s Shatterpoint.

All three novels will be released as trade paperbacks, which are slightly bigger and wider than normal mass paperbacks and will receive new covers.

Additionally, Shatterpoint will be released as an unabridged audiobook for the first time, also available in June 15.

For those who are unfamiliar with these books, here are some spoiler-free synopses:

Heir to the Empire

Left: New cover by Tracie Ching, Right: Original cover by Tom Jung from 1991.

This book of all three probably doesn’t even need an introduction. Zahn’s part one of the so called Trawn trilogy basically started the modern Expanded Universe in 1991 and reignited the interest for Star Wars after the “dark times,” which began in the mid '80s. The book not only introduced the world to Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, one of the characters who made the jump into current canon with his role in Star Wars Rebels, six canon novels - also by Zahn - and his sure appearance in at least one of the upcoming live-action TV shows. It also includes Rukh, Thrawn’s alien bodyguard/assassin, and Gilad Pellaeon. Both of these characters were present in Rebels. Heir to The Empire, which takes place five years after the Battle of Endor, shows the ongoing struggle of the New Republic against the remnants of the Empire, also introduced characters like Mara Jade (the former Emperor’s Hand and later wife of Luke Skywalker), Talon Karrde (a somewhat likeable smuggler/scoundrel), and Joruus C'baoth (the insane clone of a former Jedi Master). Together with its sequels Dark Force Rising and The Last Command, the trilogy of books was for a long time considered the unofficial sequel trilogy.

Darth Bane: Path of Destruction

Left: New cover by Simon Goinard, Right: Original cover by John Jude Palencar from 2006.

Taking place 1,000 years before the events of the films, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction follows the rise of a Force-sensitive human called Dessel from a suppressed mining worker to the last remaining survivor of the Sith Order. Dessel, who takes on the name Darth Bane when he joins the Sith, is officially introduced into canon in 1999 with The Phantom Menace novelization and also appears as a vision to Yoda in season 6 of The Clone Wars, although his look is different from how he was depicted in the books and comics. Like Heir to the Empire, Path of Destruction is also a part one of a trilogy (also consisting of Rule of Two and Dynasty of Evil) that continues Bane’s life after he creates the Rule of Two and takes on Darth Zannah as his apprentice.


Left: New cover by Jeff Manning, Right: Original cover by Steven D. Anderson from 2003

This novel which takes place a few months into the Clone Wars can be summarized as Apocalypses Now meets Star Wars and deals with Mace Windu’s adventures and battles on his homeworld of Haruun Kal and his search for his former padawan Depa Billaba, who seems to have fallen to the dark side of the Force.

In current canon, Billaba becomes master of Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus toward the end of the Clone Wars and dies during Order 66.

But There Is More!

Together with the announcement of these tree novels, Del Rey also said that this is only the start of “The Essential Legends Collection,” with more books coming out in the fall of 2021. Although they didn’t say what novels we can expect from this series down the road, they admitted that it would be “smart” to adapt parts 2 and 3 of the Thrawn and Bane trilogies into this new format as well, and they even hinted at a possible rerelease of the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron novels.

With all the recent fuss around Alan Dean Foster not getting any royalties for his past Star Wars books once Disney acquired Lucasfilm, one can only hope that Zahn, Karpyshyn, and Stover will see their fair share from the republication of these fine Star Wars books.

Written By Gerald Petschk

Source(s): David Gaughran, Polygon

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