Ever since The Clone Wars TV show ended, there have been nods to the prequels — and even some on-screen stories set in the era –across Star Wars media. But no medium has paid homage to the Star Wars movies of the era more lovingly than the books.
The past few years in particular have leaned hard into a publishing era that, for a long time, didn’t get the love it deserved — both because there were new eras to explore and because, in the case of Legends, there was only so much writers could touch. E.K. Johnston’s “Queen’s” trilogy spans throughout the prequels. Mike Chen’s Brotherhood took one line from Revenge of the Sith and expanded it into a completely new story set during the early days of the Clone Wars.
And this year welcomes yet another entry — Delilah S. Dawson’s Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade (July 18, 2023), which tells the story of a Jedi growing up during the Clone Wars and the events that lead her toward a more sinister future.
What makes these stories special is their desire to expand the universe while also hitting the beats prequel fans loved the most. Fans who grew up with the prequels tend to have a warmer point of view toward them, and it’s the emotional elements the movies didn’t always have as much time to dive deeper into that the books in this era master the most.
Did you want more Padmé in the prequels? Here are some books you might like — and also, you’re going to like her handmaidens now too. Want to know how Obi-Wan and Ventress first met — and what happened to her before the war ended? It’s all there in the books for your reading pleasure (or pain — but the good kind!).
By no means is Star Wars publishing saturated with prequel stories. It has dedicated quite a lot of time and resources over the last few years to launch a completely new era in Star Wars storytelling.
This arguably makes the prequel stories we have gotten even more impactful. Dark Disciple and a plethora of Star Wars comics have taken us back to stories that not only recontextualize characters we grew up with but that also enhance story beats we’ve seen a hundred times.
Why give love to the prequels? Because Star Wars books don’t have to be just one thing, or focus on just one segment of the franchise. Star Wars publishing is most effective when it caters to readers with a wide range of Star Wars interests, tapping into a little bit of everything when it comes to why people keep returning to Star Wars for comfort, escapism, and fun.
The prequels are how many of us discovered Star Wars — or discovered our love for it, our desire to dive deeper into all it had to offer us.
If books are our best bet in continuing to connect with our Star Wars roots, it’s a joy worth celebrating.
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