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Never Tell Me the Pods

I have a bad podcast about this. Pranks Paul, James D'Amato, Kat Kuhl, and Johnny O'Mara take a deep dive into Star Wars on behalf of wide-eyed new fans and longtime experts alike. nevertellmethepods.com
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I have a bad podcast about this.

Apr 16, 2016

We’ve been kicking around the idea of putting together a reading guide for a while. Here it is!  These may not necessarily be our favorite works, but they are probably the best things to start with if you’re a fan who has already seen the movies.

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New Canon

Best Novel: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

My overwhelming pick for best new canon novel is Lost Stars by Claudia Gray.  Perfect for fans of the OT, but not particularly continuity-heavy in terms of callbacks to Legends. This novel follows two star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War.

Setting: 0-5 ABY (Episodes IV-VI)

Best Television Show: The Clone Wars (2008)

If you only watch one Star Wars television show, I would have to go with Clone Wars.  Rebels is great, but builds heavily upon the continuity established by the prior show.  Clone Wars deepens the relationships between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and introduces a crucial Star Wars character to audiences -- Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s headstrong Padawan.  I endorse this (https://atthebuzzershow.com/2015/02/27/the-essential-ahsoka-list/) list of Ahsoka-centric episodes, but I implore you to power through the early stuff.  Like a lot of media that’s worth it (Avatar: TLA, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Parks and Recreation), it takes some time to find its footing.

Setting: 22-19 BBY (between Episodes II and III)

Best Comic: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen

There’s nothing in current Star Wars comics that is necessarily a game-changer on the scale of current Star Wars TV, but the top pick for best new canon comic series is the superlative Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen.  Like the Sith Lord himself, it is equal parts tragic and terrifying.

Setting: 0ABY (after Episode IV)

Best Short Story Collection: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

If you read only one short story collection, go with Before the Awakening.  This collection features Finn, Rey, and Poe’s antics before Episode VII.  There’s a lot of cute stuff and great character moments in here, but it’s worth it just to learn more about the stormtrooper the Internet calls TR-8R.  (For the record, his “real” name is FN-2199).

Setting: 34ish ABY (just before Episode VII)

Best Video Game: Star Wars Battlefront (2015)

Frankly, the new canon landscape is a bit thin when it comes to video games.  If you only play one, it should probably be Battlefront.

Setting: 0-5 ABY (~Episodes IV-VI)

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Legends

If you’re interested in dipping your two into the vast sea of content that is Legends, we recommend that you start with the five works below.

Best Novel: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

If you only read one novel in Legends, make it the Revenge of the Sith adaptation by Matthew Stover.  I can’t say enough good things about it, and it’s pretty light on required EU knowledge..  The only thing wrong with it is that it came out before the creation of Ahsoka Tano.

Setting: 19 BBY (Episode III)

Best Television Show: Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

When it comes to television, the animated Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars series has the most badass depictions of Jedi in all of Star Wars.  And it’s just fun.  It was replaced by the CGI Clone Wars in new canon, though some elements (like Asajj Ventress) made it back in.

Setting: 23-19 BBY (between Episodes II and III)

Best Comic: Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy adapted by Mike Baron

I am cheating viciously here, and Thrawn would be proud.  If you only read one comic, make it the comic adaptation of the Thrawn trilogy.

Setting: 9 ABY (Five years after Episode VI)

Best Short Story Collection: Tales of the Bounty Hunters edited by Kevin J. Anderson

As a standalone collection, Tales of the Bounty Hunters is an excellent introduction to the fearsome cabal we see Vader send after the Falcon in Episode V.  My personal favorites are the IG-88 and Zuckuss stories.

Setting: variously, 0-4 ABY (Episodes IV-VI)

Best Video Game: Knights of the Old Republic 2

I love the X-Wing games, the Dark Forces series, and Shadows of the Empire but not picking one of the KotORs would be a disservice.  Between the two, I’d say go with Knights of the Old Republic 2.  Even if I prefer KotOR 1, there are a lot of story elements and settings that pop up again in Clone Wars and Rebels, and KotOR 2 is a much more complex, philosophical story.

Setting: approximately 3951 BBY

1 Comments
  • a year and a half ago
    Karen Joseph
    KOTOR 2 is absolutely my favorite Star Wars story with the exception of maybe ESB. Its actually not even a Bioware game, it was made by Obsidian and written by Chris Avellone. Unfortunately LucasArts lopped a few months of dev time off of its production at the last second so they were forced to release it before it was finished. Thankfully, they left all the unfinished material on the discs for the PC game, so some talented modders were able to finish putting the game together. If anyone wants to play it, you should absolutely use the Restored Content Mod, which improves the experience immensely.

    The story itself is a quiet, melancholy reflection on both war and Star Wars as a whole. It also has some of the best written women characters I've ever seen in a video game.

    The other shame is that nobody else really knew what to do with the story and most of the stuff that follows it was made by people who either didn't understand it or actively resented it. The new story group has been pulling bits and pieces from it, though which is pretty interesting.

    I could talk forever about this, though, so I'll stop here for the sake of everyone. :)