StarWars.com today announced some news that has me REALLY excited, as a series of book announcements were made for what is coming in 2022, including a book about Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian as well as another one about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
In all, four books were announced. Brotherhood, a story about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker written by Mike Chen, will release on May 10, 2022. Stories of Sith and Jedi is a collection of ten anthology stories about the Sith and the Jedi, releases on June 7, 2022. Secrets of the Sith, a novel about Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, is written by Adam Christopher and will release on June 28, 2022. And Padawan, about Obi-Wan Kenobi as a padawan to Qui-Gon Jinn, is written by Kiersten White and is set to release on July 26, 2022.
Below, I’ll include the official plot synopsis for each of these books, and then give a few of my initial thoughts. But I’ll say this up front: the story we’re getting about Luke and Lando is a dream come true for me. I’ve been waiting for this story since the moment The Rise of Skywalker came out, and I’ve been waiting for a true Luke-centric story post-Return of the Jedi for a lot longer than that. This will actually be the very first novel to feature Luke Skywalker as anything more than a supporting character to be set in the “sequel” era in the new canon! It’s a BIG deal, and I hope it’s the first of many more to come.
But all of these sound great! Let’s unpack them a bit.
Here’s the plot synopsis for Brotherhood:
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker must stem the tide of the raging Clone Wars and forge a new bond as Jedi Knights.
The Clone Wars have begun. Battle lines are being drawn throughout the galaxy. With every world that joins the Separatists, the peace guarded by the Jedi Order is slipping through their fingers.
After an explosion devastates Cato Neimoidia, the jewel of the Trade Federation, the Republic is blamed and the fragile neutrality of the planet is threatened. The Jedi dispatch Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the Order’s most gifted diplomatic minds, to investigate the crime and maintain the balance that has begun to dangerously shift. As Obi-Wan investigates with the help of a heroic Neimoidian guard, he finds himself working against the Separatists who hope to draw the planet into their conspiracy–and senses the sinister hand of Asajj Ventress in the mists that cloak the planet.
Amid the brewing chaos, Anakin Skywalker rises to the rank of Jedi Knight. Despite the mandate that Obi-Wan travel alone–and his former master’s insistence that he listen this time–Anakin’s headstrong determination means nothing can stop him from crashing the party, and bringing along a promising but conflicted youngling.
Once a Padawan to Obi-Wan, Anakin now finds himself on equal–but uncertain–footing with the man who raised him. The lingering friction between them increases the danger for everyone around them. The two knights must learn a new way to work together—and they must learn quickly, to save Cato Neimoidia and its people from the fires of war. To overcome the threat they face they must grow beyond master and apprentice. They must stand together as brothers.
This announcement would carry almost any list of book announcements, but not quite here. Still, this sounds fantastic! I’m always going to be up for more stories about Obi-Wan and Anakin, and I think there’s real potential for not just exploring their relationship but also during a really interesting setting. This will explore Anakin’s rise to Jedi Knight, which is something we saw in the Tartakovsky Clone Wars series but haven’t seen in canon (though I imagine they’ll keep it pretty similar). But something that really has never been explored is what it was like for the relational dynamic between Obi-Wan and Anakin in the wake of that event – especially since it sounds like this story is set before Kenobi rises to Jedi Master (I wonder if we could see him promoted to Master at the end of this novel to kind of paralel Anakin’s rise to Knighthood presumably at the beginning?). The dynamic between the two of them is great but also awkward at times, and I imagine that this novel will dive into that. I’m looking forward to the banter and relationship between them.
But also, it’s notable that this will take place on Cato Neimoidia – home of the infamous business that apparently “doesn’t count,” according to Kenobi, where Anakin supposedly did something that he saw as saving his master’s life but that Kenobi didn’t. We’ve never learned what that business was, but from the sounds of this novel, I’m guessing we’re about to! It’s fun when stories like this can fill in some of the gaps of the films (which is what Star Wars books have been doing basically for as long as Star Wars books have existed), but not be purely focused on doing so but instead telling a compelling story in its own right. I think that will be the case here.
Oh, and there’s Asajj Ventress too! This will probably be one of the earliest stories we’ve gotten about her (timeline-wise), so it will be interesting to see whether Obi-Wan and Anakin are already familiar with her or not.
Secrets of the Sith:
Here’s the plot synopsis for Secrets of the Sith:
Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian return in this essential novel set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
The Empire is dead. Nearly two decades on from the Battle of Endor, the tattered remnants of Palpatine’s forces have fled to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. But for the heroes of the New Republic, danger and loss are ever-present companions, even in this newly forged era of peace.
Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is haunted by visions of the dark side, foretelling an ominous secret growing somewhere in the depths of space, on a dead world called Exegol. The disturbance in the Force is undeniable…and Luke’s worst fears are confirmed when his old friend, Lando Calrissian, comes to him with reports of a new Sith menace.
After his daughter was stolen from his arms, Lando searched the stars for any trace of his lost child. But every new rumor only led to dead ends and fading hopes–until he crossed paths with Ochi of Bestoon, a Sith assassin tasked with kidnapping a young girl.
Ochi’s true motives remain shrouded to Luke and Lando. For on a junkyard moon, a mysterious envoy of the Sith Eternal has bequeathed a sacred blade to the assassin, promising that it will give him answers to the questions that have haunted him since the Empire fell. In exchange, he must complete a final mission: return to Exegol with the key to the Sith’s glorious rebirth—the granddaughter of Darth Sidious himself, Rey.
As Ochi hunts Rey and her parents to the edge of the galaxy, Luke and Lando race into the mystery of the Sith’s lingering shadow and aid a young family running for their lives.
As I mentioned, this is the story I’ve been waiting for. From the moment I saw The Rise of Skywalker (and in reading the Visual Dictionary that accompanied it), I’ve thought that the story of Luke’s search for Exegol was ripe for future storytelling, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally happening!!! And I’m sure we’re going to get at least something with Ben Solo here too, since he’s training with Luke in this period. We’re surely going to learn more about Lando, his daughter, and what happened there. And we’re going to learn more about what it meant that Luke was haunted by the return of darkness, and maybe that means we’ll even get to see him talking with Anakin about Exegol? Amidst all of this, we’ll get a story with Luke and Lando, and I can’t wait to see their interactions!
The book is also about Ochi of Bestoon, who has been a major player in the ongoing Darth Vader comic currently. It sounds like we’re going to get the backstory to his search for Rey as well, and it actually sounds like she might show up here! I’m extremely curious to see if Luke has any sort of interaction or knowledge of her and this happening. This kind of book has the potential to start really unpacking, filling in the gaps of, and aiding the sequel trilogy, in the way Star Wars storytelling and publishing has done with the previous trilogies as well. There haven’t been a ton of those books released yet. The best and most significant was Claudia Gray’s Bloodline (which is actually probably my favorite book from the new canon), all about Leia. Resistance Reborn (by Rebecca Roanhorse) was a story set in-between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, filling in some details on how the Resistance was rebuilt after the events on Crait. And then there was Last Shot, by Daniel José Older, that was about an adventure Han Solo and Lando Calrissian went on a few years after Return of the Jedi. A few stories, but nothing major.
And as you’ll notice, nothing about Luke Skywalker. He’s appeared and been mentioned in a few stories here and there (including all three of those above), but he has been the one figure that storytelling has stayed away from. It made sense during the trilogy, since there was much mystery surrounding what happened with him, but with the trilogy wrapped up I’ve been hoping we’ll learn more and more about him during these decades. This is one heck of a way to start that, and I hope the floodgates begin opening on this era and this time period, which I think is ripe to be explored.
The plot synopsis for Padawan is as follows:
Obi-Wan Kenobi struggles with his place in the Force as a young Padawan in this coming-of-age adventure!
Obi-Wan Kenobi really wants to be a good Padawan. The best Padawan, even. But that’s feeling more and more impossible with his new master, Qui-Gon Jinn. All of Obi-Wan’s friends are off training to be real Jedi, getting mission experience, while he’s still on Coruscant, practicing his forms and sitting in silent contemplation. Ever since Qui-Gon’s former master, Dooku, left the Order, it feels like Qui-Gon has been too busy trying to connect with the Force or arguing with the Jedi Council to properly train his Padawan.
When Obi-Wan finally convinces Qui-Gon to take him on a mission to a remote planet once explored by an ancient Jedi, his master doesn’t show up the morning they are to leave—so Obi-Wan impulsively takes off by himself. Upon arriving on the mysterious, lush planet, he encounters a group of teenagers with no adult supervision—and who all seem to have some connection to the Force. Free from the constraints of the Order, Obi-Wan joins them in their daring adventures, but the Padawan side of him keeps questioning the teens’ strange relationship to the Force, and to the verdant planet around them, and what all of it might mean to his future. Obi-Wan will test the limits of his relationship to the Jedi and to the Force in this exciting, yet soulful exploration of one of Star Wars’ most enduring heroes.
Claudia Gray’s Master and Apprentice is one of the finest books of the new Star Wars canon, and Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are both fantastic characters – so yeah, I’m pumped for this! It sounds like this book might share a lot of similarities to that one (which is a good thing!) but also see Kenobi on his own a bit more, trying to figure out who he is and what this whole Jedi thing is. Talk of a planet visited by an ancient Jedi is also very interesting, and I’m curious to learn more about it.
It’s also worth paying attention to the fact that we have two books about Obi-Wan Kenobi coming out in the first half-ish of next year, on May 10 and on July 26, as well as a story about Kenobi included in an anthology book dropping on June 7. So three of the four books announced have something to do with Obi-Wan… almost like there’s another project focusing on him coming next year or something? A few days ago Cinelinx’s Jordan Maison hinted that the Obi-Wan Kenobi series may be premiering in May, and that would be very much in line with these book releases. Not to read too much into all of this, but I think it’s probable that we’ll be seeing the Kenobi series in the first part of next year.
Stories of Sith and Jedi
Here’s the plot synopsis for this book:
The battle between good and evil never ends….
The brave Jedi. The devious Sith. These iconic heroes and villains embody the struggle between light and dark that is at the very heart of Star Wars. In this exciting middle grade anthology, ten acclaimed authors imagine all-new tales for some of the saga’s most popular characters, from Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader, from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Asajj Ventress, and beyond, complete with beautiful spot illustrations. Epic stand-offs, cunning plots, courageous action and ruthless anger are all here in this showcase of the enduring power of one of the greatest movie sagas of all time.
This is an anthology collection of stories that will be about these popular characters, written by ten different authors: Roseanne A. Brown, Sarwat Chadda, Delilah S. Dawson, Tessa Gratton, Michael Kogge, Sam Maggs, Michael Moreci, Alex Segura, Vera Strange, and Karen Strong. Some of those authors are familiar to Star Wars fans, while others are newcomers. Especially exciting about this project, though, is that Jake Bartok is providing the illustrations! He posts a ton of amazing Star Wars artwork on social media, so if you’re not familiar with him I urge you to check it out! I think it’s pretty awesome that Lucasfilm hired him to do illustrations for an actual Star Wars project!
As for the book itself, it sounds fun. I’m always ready for more stories about Jedi and Sith, particularly those whom we’re already familiar with and have grown to love, and I’m excited that this will include original stories. There was an anthology collection published last year about The Clone Wars that was good, but all but one of the stories were just adaptations of episodes of the show. I’m glad that this will be telling all-new tales!