As excited as Star Wars fans are for the upcoming finale to the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker, there will always be a part of us that laments the new direction the franchise took with the new trilogy. This isn't to throw shade at the Age of Resistance storylines, only to reinforce our love of what could have been with the Star Wars Legends universe of stories.
Legends was previously known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe and included stories from novels and video games that expanded on the mythology prior to Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and the new trilogy of characters. So to celebrate our love for these 'forgotten" stories, today we are going to take a look at the best graphic novels set in the Star Wars Legends universe.
10 CLASSIC STAR WARS
The term "classic" can get thrown around a lot undeservedly, but in the case of this Classic Star Wars collection, the term is very appropriate. Comics legends Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson began a Star Wars newspaper strip in 1981 which has been reformated and collected in this beautiful graphic novel.
The newspaper strip took place between the events of the first two films in the original trilogy and followed Luke, Han, and Leia on a number of adventures that bridged the gap between the films. The collection even includes new and extended panels from Williamson to help with the reformatting of the stories.
9 SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE
You might recognize the term Shadows of the Empire from a few different sources, as Lucasfilm explored the idea of a crossover multimedia event set in between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and was released across all mediums except film including comic books, video games, RPG board games, toys, and even a soundtrack.
The event featured original trilogy characters (minus Han who was frozen in carbonite) and introduced new scoundrel Dash Rendar and the villainous Prince Xizor and his Black Sun organization. The Omnibus even includes the sequel to the story as well as the introduction of the fan-favorite Mara Jade in "By The Emperor's Hand."
8 CRIMSON EMPIRE SAGA
When the Imperial Royal Guard was first introduced in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi alongside Emperor Palpatine, as they served as elite loyal soldiers. The Imperial Guard were given extensive training and armed with Force Pikes and Vibro-lances.
Star Wars: Crimson Empire follows Kir Kanos, the last surviving member of the Royal Guard, as he makes his way in a galaxy without an Emperor. Over the course of the saga, Kanos goes from honored Imperial officer to the most wanted man in the galaxy to bounty hunter, and he is instrumental in the fight against the next would-be Emperor to try and follow in Palpatine's footsteps.
Star Wars: Infinities might be the most non-canon of the Legends stories we're discussing today. The series took the What If...?! approach to the Star Wars universe and explored a few key events that may have gone differently if a few details had been changed.
For instance, if Luke had died on Hoth, then it would have been Leia who went to Dagobah to train with Yoda. And in the ultimate what might have been scenario, George Lucas' original adapted screenplay The Star Wars is also included in this Infinities Epic Collection.
6 TAG & BINK WERE HERE
While most of the Star Wars Legends graphic novels we've been discussing have been fairly serious explorations of some of our favorite Star Wars characters, Tag and Bink Were Here is something completely different. Follow the comedic adventures of the Rebellion's worst/best agents as they find themselves involved in the epic battles seen in the original trilogy.
Readers were introduced to Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna as they ran from the battle on Princess Leia's ship as she transports the plans to the Death Star, and are forced to hide in Stormtrooper costumes that get them into further hilarious trouble. This collection features all of their original trilogy adventures as well as their origins in the Clone Wars!
Everything changed for the Galactic Republic and the Star Wars universe in Revenge of the Sith when Chancellor Palpatine executed Order 66, which was a command programmed into each of the Clone Troopers as an emergency plan against rogue Jedi but was really Palpatine and the Sith's plan to bring down the Jedi Order.
Star Wars Purge follows Darth Vader and the new Empire as they strengthen their control of the universe by fulfilling Order 66 and hunt down the last remaining Jedi's of the galaxy. There were a few Purge series that feature great battles between Vader and the surviving Jedi as he continues his evolution into the Dark Lord of the Sith fans first met in A New Hope.
4 KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is still considered one of the best Star Wars video games that have ever been released, and its popularity has led to a number of spin-offs and sequels in various mediums, including the popular Knights of the Old Republic comic series that takes place before the events of the game.
The comic series follows Jedi Padawan Zayne Carrick who is framed for the murders of the other Padawans by the mysterious Jedi Covenant. Zayne would gather an interesting group of characters and even get involved in the Mandalorian War from the first game, further tying the two properties together.
3 DARK EMPIRE
Dark Empire was a Dark Horse comic series set after the events of Return of the Jedi as the Rebel Alliance is struggling to clear out the remaining Imperial Forces, who have strengthened after the appearance of a new leader. That new leader is revealed to be none other than Emperor Palpatine, returned in a cloned body and seeking a new dark apprentice.
Not only is Dark Empire a beautiful display of art and storytelling, but it also became a part of the official Expanded Universe canon with the events eventually factoring into the novels. Dark Empire is memorable for showing Luke's corruption to the Dark Side and has also helped stoke the rumors surrounding Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker.
Jan Duursema and John Ostrander's Star Wars: Legacy avoided most of the continuity trappings of the Expanded Universe by setting their story over 100 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The story follows Cade, a descendant of Luke Skywalker who abandoned his Jedi training to become a pirate/smuggler/bounty hunter, so basically the coolest possible Jedi in the galaxy.
Cade and his gang of fellow scoundrels are forced into a war against the new Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Crayt, and his usurped Empire. While the series was initially criticized for its huge jump forward chronologically and take on the Skywalker legacy, it would soon become a favorite among Star Wars fans thanks to great art, well-developed characters, and fantastic story.
1 HEIR TO THE EMPIRE
One of the best and most highly-regarded Expanded Universe stories began in the novels from the legendary Timothy Zahn when he launched what would become known as the Thrawn saga with Heir to the Empire. Dark Horse released comic adaptations of all three novels, with Marvel grouping the three together in The Thrawn Trilogy.
Heir to the Empire not only introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn into the Satr Wars mythology but also the previously-mentioned Mara Jade, and Han and Leia's force-sensitive twins, Jacen and Jaina. Much of the Expanded Universe was launched by Heir to the Empire, which was wonderfully adapted by Dark Horse.
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