4:00 pm EST, December 11, 2017

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: What you need to know from the books and comics

An abundance of Star Wars novels have been released in the lead-up to The Last Jedi. Here’s what you need to know from them.

As happened with The Force Awakens, the Journey to The Last Jedi has been packed with novels, comics, and other supplemental material to build out the world just a little more.

Keeping up with all these Star Wars extracurriculars can be daunting, but we’re here to take a bit of the intimidation out of it. Though we always recommend that you check out everything for yourself, consider this your SparkNotes for everything published since The Force Awakens, and leading into The Last Jedi.

Warning: There may be mild spoilers contained within this article for characters, and events, that might come into play during The Last Jedi.

Aftermath Trilogy

Though Aftermath, the first book in the trilogy, was part of the Journey to The Force Awakens, Chuck Wendig’s turn in the Star Wars universe spanned several important moments in missing time since Return of the Jedi.

There’s a lot of rich, universe-expanding lore in the Aftermath books, but here are a few of the most important heading into The Last Jedi:

  1. Leia is pregnant with Ben from the second novel, Life Debt, through to Empire’s End. During her pregnancy, she has Force visions of the Dark Side manipulating her unborn child. Leia can also sense the Force in her child.
  2. The Emperor created the First Order as a contingency plan should the Empire fall. Brendol Hux, General Hux’s father, formed the beginnings of it and kidnapped children from Jakuu to use as their soldiers.
  3. Also of note is the fact that the Emperor was obsessed with seeking out a mysterious presence in the Unknown Regions.
  4. Ben Solo was born on the day of the Galactic Concordance. The concordance signaled the end of the Civil War, and dissolution of the Empire.

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Delilah S. Dawson’s Phasma novel was a treasure trove of information for anyone who felt she was hard done by for screen time in The Force Awakens. It spans the time between her birth on Parnassos through to her joining the First Order.

Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Phasma was born on Parnassos, a planet that had become inhospitable following a climate shift. Phasma grew up in a fairly primitive tribe and — much like Rey on Jakku — needed to fight for her own survival.
  2. Eventually, Phasma and her brother became co-leaders of their tribe, which set the groundwork for Phasma’s leadership ambitions.
  3. Brendol Hux arrived on Parnassos, seeking allies for the First Order. Phasma betrayed her people, and left the planet with Hux.
  4. Once in the First Order, Phasma and General Hux, Brendol’s son, conspired together to kill his father. Brendol’s death ensured that no one would know of her upbringing, and solidified a partnership between herself and General Hux.
Star Wars: Captain Phasma

Phasma didn’t just get her own novel post-The Force Awakens, but also her own standalone comic series. And though it followed a series of adventures set in the limited time between where The Force Awakens ended, and The Last Jedi will begin, there’s one question it answers for fans: How did Phasma escape Starkiller Base?

Unlike the near-fatal trash compactor episode that Luke, Leia and Han suffered in A New Hope, Phasma managed to navigate her way out with surprising ease. The one problem? Her treason against the First Order was documented. Sol Rivas, a lieutenant in the Stormtrooper corps, is the only other person that knows what she has done.

So, Phasma doctors the records and frames Sol for lowering the shields that led to the destruction of Starkiller Base. If anyone ever doubted how ruthless Phasma can be? Don’t. Finn is certainly going to have a tough time of it when he comes up against her in The Last Jedi.

‘Star Wars: Tales of the Force’

Though Tales of the Force is technically a children’s book, it is notable for one particular reason. It introduces Supreme Leader Snoke’s Praetorian guards.

There are eight of them in total, and they are all human. They are sworn to protect Snoke at all costs, and are very similar to the Emperor’s guards in Return of the Jedi. The guards work in shifts to ensure Snoke always has a defense — which will make it difficult to get close to him in The Last Jedi.

‘Leia: Princess of Alderaan’

Claudia Grey’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan takes the biggest jump back in the timeline when it comes to the supplemental material on this list.

But there’s one very important reason why it is here: Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

The novel introduces Amilyn Holdo as an Apprentice Legislature in the Imperial Senate. It is there that she becomes acquainted with Leia, and the two form a fast friendship. One that was so close, in fact, Leia confided in her about her involvement in the Rebel Alliance.

As we now know, Amilyn Holdo eventually goes on to become a Vice Admiral in the Resistance — following in the footsteps of her dear friend. That Leia had such a profound affect on Amilyn’s life will surely be something to remember whilst watching The Last Jedi.

‘Canto Bight’

The last entry on our list is also the most recent entry in the Journey to The Last Jedi.

A series of four novellas, set just days before the events of The Last Jedi, Canto Bight gives us our best look yet at Rian Johnson’s decadent casino planet.

The biggest takeaways from the novellas were that the Canto Bight Police Department are corrupt to their very core, protecting only the interests of the wealthy elite on the planet, and also that outside news doesn’t really penetrate the surface.

With a tightly controlled, corrupt planet, with no stake in the war between the First Order — or any idea on what is happening outside of their own interests — Finn and Rose’s mission to Canto Bight may be more complicated that we originally thought.

Additional reading

Want more Star Wars content ahead of The Last Jedi? We’ve got you covered.

The Last Jedi panel at Star Wars Celebration: Everything we learned
The Last Jedi trailer: A complete breakdown and analysis
The Last Jedi Behind the Scenes video: Breaking down the new footage
The Last Jedi trailer explained: Everything you need to know!
The Last Jedi: Where we last left the characters in The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Everything you need to know ahead of the premiere

Which of the Journey to ‘The Last Jedi’ novels was your favorite?

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