The future of Star Wars is books

The High Republic: Cataclysm. Image courtesy
The High Republic: Cataclysm. Image courtesy /

Many people like to say that Star Wars TV will make up the majority of the future of the franchise. These people haven’t been watching the Star Wars book publishing schedule over the past few years. In some ways, Star Wars books have already become the main form of Star Wars media.

In 2022, there was a new Star Wars novel published every month except September and December. So far, 2023 has followed a very similar trajectory. The pacing of Star Wars publishing — especially if you count comics, reference books, and other written publications such as Star Wars Insider and academic books written with a Star Wars lens — has outmatched television even since Disney+ launched toward the end of 2019.

But why are books the future of Star Wars if you don’t count the publishing pace? Mostly because books and comics can tell stories TV and movies cannot. A book can take one line from a Star Wars movie and craft an entire narrative around it (that’s Brotherhood by Mike Chen, if you were wondering). A book can tell the backstory of a character that barely had actual screen time in a movie (Adam Christopher, Shadow of the Sith). A book can tell stories of friendship, heartache, and loyalty in ways Star Wars movies and shows just don’t have the runtime for.

Star Wars books are also versatile in the ages they market to — while yes, Star Wars is for everyone, there are books specifically written so that certain age groups will absorb and fall in love with them. The pool of authors and characters is also much more diverse than the creators and characters involved in bringing stories to the screen, allowing more stories to resonate with more Star Wars fans of different backgrounds and experiences.

These books also span many more years than the movies and shows currently do — Legends takes you back thousands of years and many years following the Battle of Endor as well. There are literally hundreds of books to choose from, while there are still only a handful of shows to watch. And the books have been around since the 1970s. You could read one Star Wars book a month and not get through them all for decades.

Even if we never get a movie, and even if writers’ and actors’ strikes keep new shows out of production, books will always be here. Books are the future of Star Wars.

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