The most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been a massive hit commercially raking in more than $1 billion worldwide. In spite of knowing the base premise of the movie considering the primary event is alluded to in the opening to A New Hope, a lot of people felt there wasn’t enough time to fully develop the eclectic cast of characters. Thankfully for fans not averse to reading, two new Star Wars young adult novels have been revealed, both of which are set prior to Rogue One.
The first is Star Wars: Rebel Rising which will explore the time that Jyn spent with Saw Gerrera and his Partisans. This is really awesome because her time with them was already described in just a little more detail in the Rogue One novelization. Jyn is a more interesting character than the movie lets on, the backstory in Catalyst: A Rogue One Story along with the Rogue One novel give her character some more depth. This is a welcome announcement considering only her early years and final days have been explored in canon. The official synopsis from the Disney site reads:
“When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone—Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to become a rebel herself.
Jyn dedicates herself to the cause—and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in…and who she can really trust.”
So far Disney and Lucasfilm have done a lot of exploring in that specific time frame that saw the rise of the Rebellion during the reign of the Galactic Empire, and this should be a nice addition. Already on Star Wars Rebels we’ve heard and kind of seen Saw’s extremism, and this novel should provide some connective tissue to the current canon if they also dive into whatever event put Saw on the outs with the Rebel Alliance high command.
Perhaps more intriguing though is the novel focused on Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe that was just announced, Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills. In case you’re unsure, Chirrut and Baze were the two monks that joined the crew on Jedha. Naturally, this will be set before Rogue One and will give us a glimpse at the pair owhen they were still Guardians before the Empire came to Jedha. Not only will it give some depth to them both, we might see them a bit differently, especially Baze. Remember, in Rogue One Chirrut mentions Baze was once the most dedicated Guardian. The synopsis on Amazon reads:
“An exciting adventure about two of the brave heroes from the smash hit movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! On the desert world of Jedha, in the Holy City, friends Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple and the devoted pilgrims who worshipped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. Then a man named Saw Gerrera arrives, with a militia of his own and grand plans to take down the Empire. It seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha live better lives. But will it come at too great a cost?”
As cool as it will be to read about Chirrut and Baze from before Rogue One with it undoubtedly providing more backstory to their friendship, it’s also a great opportunity to go a little deeper. Considering that they will be Guardians at the Kyber Temple, this mysterious place mentioned in the movie and supposedly very important to the Jedi, Guardians of the Whills is perfectly poised to dive into a little lore.
On the whole, it’s been great to see Disney and Lucasfilm really flesh out this era of Star Wars and they’ve done a great job so far between Rogue One, Rebels and several of the new novels in the current canon. These two will surely be a nice addition to that content. Beth Revis and Greg Rucka are penning Rebel Rising and Guardians of the Whills respectively. Both will be available on May 2.
Images: Disney Book Group