Shadow of the Sith is my most anticipated Star Wars book in a long time, and among my most anticipated Star Wars projects of the year, period.
The book, written by Adam Christopher, releases on June 28 and tells a story I’ve been waiting for. Luke Skywalker senses a growing disturbance in the Force on a mysterious world called Exegol, and Lando Calrissian then comes to him with reports that the Sith have returned. This prompts Luke and Lando to go on a search for Exegol; though we know that they are ultimately unsuccessful, this feels exactly like the important and exciting story that will connect in big ways to the sequel trilogy, particularly The Rise of Skywalker.
Today we got our first look at the book, with the cover and an excerpt both released!
The excerpt is absolutely fantastic, and you can read it here. But the gist of it is that Luke sits on the seeing stone on Tython (yes, the same one Grogu sat on!) and is “transported” to Exegol, where nine Sith wraiths surround him and begin fighting him. Just as Luke is about to be overpowered by them, a figure wielding a blue lightsaber shows up and fends them off. Luke initially thinks that it’s Ben Solo, but quickly realizes he’s wrong: it’s Anakin Skywalker.
There’s a lot to unpack from just this one excerpt, but I’ll mention some thoughts briefly:
- Luke sitting on the seeing stone on Tython is a nod to The Mandalorian that I wasn’t expecting to get, but that’s pretty awesome. Since Grogu’s story is still very open-ended I’m not expecting to get much about him, but this makes me wonder if we’ll get a mention or two. Even acknowledging this part of Luke’s story and tying it in to the rest would be cool.
- Luke has had other dreams about Exegol, so he’s clearly been haunted by it. But this time it’s different, and the excerpt plays up the fact that it feels real to Luke, almost as if he’s been transported there, and he doesn’t know how to get back to Tython. I’m very much guessing that this will set up Luke’s eventual heroics on Crait years later, where he projected himself across the galaxy to save the Resistance. This seems to be Luke beginning to learn how to do that, and if that’s the case, that’s a really cool development.
- We don’t know who these Sith wraiths are, but there IS a mysterious figure wielding a red lightsaber on the cover. I don’t think this is one of the wraiths, as it sounds like the wraiths have black lightsaber blades. It’s very possible that this is Ochi, although from the sound of it perhaps not. But the novel description says that Lando brings to Luke “reports of a new Sith menace.” From other material we’ve been led to believe that Lando was on Ochi’s tail, so this probably all fits together. Whoever this is, this figure on the cover is probably the new Sith menace who will be an antagonist in the story that spurs on Luke and Lando in their search.
- And last but certainly not least, Anakin Skywalker shows up to rescue Luke! The novel makes it sound like Luke is surprised that this happens, so I’m extremely curious to learn more. But this will be the first canon time where Luke and his father’s Force ghost interact, and this is the perfect situation for them to do so. Anakin knew about Exegol, so having him talk with Luke about it makes tons of sense.
So yeah, I was already super excited about this book, and all the more now. While there’s tons of different stories for Lucasfilm to tell, stories about Luke Skywalker in the post-Return of the Jedi time period seems like the holy grail right now. It’s something they’ve done stunningly little of in the new canon, and it’s awesome that it’s beginning to change. And there have been very few books that feel extremely significant to the sequel trilogy (as even the tie-in books felt marginally important), and I’m hoping this begins a new wave of attention. We’ve had a few along the way – Claudia Gray’s Bloodline and Charles Soule’s The Rise of Kylo Ren are the two that I’m thinking of – but this might wind up being the most important of them all. At least, that’s what I’m hoping! I can’t wait to read it!