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Who knew a theme park land could potentially fill your library with new books?

With Disney parks finally reopening, buzz surrounding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World has kicked off afresh. The land’s second attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened to such fanfare in December of 2019 that it essentially broke long established attendance patterns across the parks. The long shutdown meant many fans had to put Disney vacations on hold, and with Disney’s Hollywood Studios now reopened, guests are more eager than ever to make their way to the Black Spire Outpost and partake in Disney’s most immersive adventures yet.

The setting for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu—is a canon world in the Star Wars universe that Imagineers designed specifically for the purpose to tell new stories that could tie to just about any era in Star Wars history. While your day on Batuu takes place on a specific (and rather significant) day a bit before the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the planet has a fascinatingly rich history that has been fleshed out in the novels, comics, and media of the Star Wars expanded universe.

A lot has changed in a year. There were already a half dozen novels and comics tied into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge before lockdown, but with Disney fans being stuck at home, Disney has upped their game by shaping out the story of Black Spire Outpost with an impressive collection of new literature for fans to enjoy. The problem is it can be a little intimidating trying to keep track of what’s what.

Whether you enjoy immersing yourself in backstory or if you’re just looking for some Disney-related reading material to hold you over until your next vacation, the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge tie-in collection has a little something for everyone. Here’s a quick rundown of what fans can choose from, as well as what we’ve learned from each…

SPOILER ALERT: We’ll do our best not to dive too deep into key plot points of the books below but do be aware that some spoilers for Star Wars films (particularly the new trilogy) and TV series (including Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Clone Wars) will follow…

1. Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn: Alliances Book Cover
Image: Amazon / Disney

What We Learn: That Batuu is even more of a backwater planet than Tatooine and major figures including Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Padme Amidala, and Grand Admiral Thrawn have history there.

The first major canon appearance of Batuu in the Star Wars expanded universe came in the second novel of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn series, Thrawn: Alliances. Zahn is one of the most respected writers of Star Wars tie-in novels to date—his Heir to the Empire trilogy from the old Star Wars canon is so beloved by fans that Disney finally caved and started retooling components of it to use in the new timeline. One of the most significant cases of this was the addition of the series’ enigmatic villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn, as a primary antagonist in the Star Wars Rebels TV series.

All of that is nerd-speak to say that both the author and Thrawn are kind of a big deal to Star Wars fans.

Thrawn: Alliances tells a unique dual-part story about the complicated relationship between Thrawn and Darth Vader. In flashbacks, we learn how Anakin Skywalker met Thrawn while searching for Padme after she went missing on Batuu. The two jostle each other quite a bit but find common purpose in searching out a Separatist conspiracy. It’s specifically because of this connection to Skywalker that The Emperor later agrees to take Thrawn into his service. In the second storyline years later, Thrawn and Vader find themselves forced to work together again to investigate a dangerous disturbance in the Force (a bit before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

While I personally found the first book in the series (Thrawn) to be a little more enjoyable, Thrawn: Alliances delivers a good quick read if you’re a fan of the Clone Wars era and want to learn a little more about Batuu’s colorful history. Some significant details that stood out included just how difficult Batuu has been to travel to, descriptions of the planet beyond the outpost, hints about the ancient culture the outpost is built on, as well as some juicy tidbits about Oga’s Cantina before it belonged to Batuu’s chief gangster. If you enjoy Thrawn: Alliances, the adventure on Batuu also factors somewhat into the third book, Thrawn: Treason.

2. Pirate’s Price by Lou Anders and Star Wars Adventures (Vol. 6): “Flight of the Falcon

Pirate's Price Book Cover
Image: Amazon / Disney

What We Learn: Just what possessed Chewie to lend the Millennium Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka.

Probably one of the most unexpected surprises when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened was the inclusion of Star Wars’ very own Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World, Hondo Ohnaka. Hondo is a fast-talking and adaptable pirate who first appeared in the Star Wars: Clone Wars series and has proceeded to pepper the Star Wars canon with increasingly-more-ridiculous appearances ever since then. A sampling of his lengthy resume includes capturing Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Count Dooku three times, surviving encounters with Darth Maul and Savage Oppress, dating notorious bounty hunter Aurra Sing, and even playing a major role in liberating an Imperial-controlled planet.

Oh, and by the time you visit the Black Spire Outpost, he’s somehow managed to swindle Chewbacca into letting him use the Millennium Falcon as part of his new, totally-not-shady shipping company… You and your butter-fingered friends are the bright-eyed spacers he chose to fly the thing.

Was Chewbacca just a little confused after losing his buddy Han? Did he hit his head during the Battle of Crait? How did such an absurd scenario come to pass?

The junior novel Pirate’s Price (part of the Flight of the Falcon series) tells the three part story of Hondo’s complicated relationship with Han Solo and Chewbacca, from their first encounter years before the events of A New Hope to the period in between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker where your adventure on Batuu takes place. Turns out that despite Hondo’s sketchy reputation, this crazy backstory meant that Chewbacca knew Hondo would be his best chance getting the Falcon into the air again… as well as providing the means for the Resistance to require a crucial shipment of coaxium, without which the entire fleet would be trapped at the mercy of the First Order. If you (or your favorite young reader) enjoy Pirate’s Price, the tale of Hondo’s adventures around Batuu continues in Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 6: “Flight of the Falcon”.

3. Star Wars Myths and Fables by George Mann and Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (Vol. 1)

Star Wars Myths and Fables Cover; a knight faces off with a great reptile
Image: Amazon / Disney

What We Learn: Both about the culture and mythology surrounding the Black Spire Outpost and a little more about the seedy underbelly of Batuu’s past.

Batuu figures into a number of shorter works in the Star Wars expanded universe. While there are quite a few of these, two stood out to us as great reads to explore if you’re looking to get a clearer picture of the rich history behind Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Star Wars Myths and Fables might be one of the most unique books in the Star Wars literary canon. Rather than being a book that tells us stories about the Star Wars universe, it’s written as the type of book you would find on someone’s shelf within the Star Wars universe. This short story collection gives fans a glimpse into myths and fables that the average parent living in the Star Wars galaxy might read their kids at night. It’s a quick and easy read, and though it’s a bit abstract, it adds a truly charming extra dimension to the immersion surrounding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Several of the stories take place on Batuu, and new tales are on the way in two upcoming special editions: an exclusive version coming only to Target stores and an authentic-feeling “in-world” version only available inside the park with six new stories. If you enjoy Myths and Fables, an upcoming edition of Star Wars: Dark Legends will also feature new Batuu-themed stories.

Fans looking to get a closer look at the dangerous side of Batuu may enjoy Volume 1 of the Star Wars: Bounty Hunters comic series. This gritty story tells the tale of cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance who ends up on Batuu while pursuing a clan of Devaronians for a job. While a number of the books we’ve referenced previously have been more lighthearted, Bounty Hunters tells a darker story that will appeal to fans of popular hunters like Boba Fett and Bossk.

4. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comic series

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge graphic novel cover
Image: Amazon / Disney

What We Learn: Just why everyone fears Dok Ondar…

Things get a bit more concentrated from here—while everything we’ve talked about so far has featured Batuu, the rest of our list really zero in on the Black Spire Outpost. If you’re looking for lore and backstory with lots of popular character cameos, you can’t do better than the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comic series.

I first noticed these for sale at the Star Wars Launch Bay, and I have to say, they make for quite the fun read. While the content seems a little all over the place, the common thread throughout the series is a focus on the mysterious collector Dok Ondar—and just why his name carries such weight within the Black Spire Outpost.

A casual stroll through Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities may give guests an impression of Dok Ondar as a gentle Ithorian shopkeeper, but the Galaxy’s Edge comics tell a different story. Dok Ondar’s complex history includes partnerships and dangerous conflicts with quite the cast of popular characters including Han Solo, Chewbacca, Ki Adi Mundi, Greedo, Doctor Aphra, Chirrut Imwe, the Guardians of the Whills, Jabba the Hutt, and of course, Hondo. The series also offers an alternative lens on Chewbacca and Hondo’s aforementioned deal for use of the Millennium Falcon. All in all, they are a must read for any Galaxy’s Edge fan.

5. A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova

A Crash of Fate cover
Image: Amazon / Disney

What We Learn: That everyone on Batuu has a story—some of which will tug the heart strings.

There are certain themes people usually expect from a Star Wars novel—blaster fights, adventure, good vs. evil… What you don’t normally expect is a charming love story.

The young adult novel A Crash of Fate gives fans a very different perspective on life in Wild Space, where Batuu is located. It’s a story that reminds us that the Black Spire Outpost isn’t just a backdrop for galactic intrigues, but it’s also a place where normal people fall in love. Unlike most Star Wars novels, it’s not a book about soldiers, smugglers, or Jedi but a pair of young civilians. The book has been frequently compared to another Star Wars love story, the highly-lauded novel Lost Stars, and the story is thick with Galaxy’s Edge Easter eggs and references.

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