Okay, Sith lords and Stormtroopers; Imperial officers and Vader-lovers. This one’s for you. I know the Dark Side tends to get a bad rap, and most of the time, things are geared toward the Light Side and the Jedi. But here are some books to read while you revel in your darkness contemplating The Last Jedi.
If I’ve missed any, please feel free to add your own. I’m always up for Star Wars reading!
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
An enigma with a chrome helmet, Captain Phasma has been relegated to the sidelines – until now. In her own book, her story unfolds between a rebel prisoner and her Stormtrooper captor. It’s refreshing to see women as unlikeable, or adversarial, positions, and Dawson brings her to life in this book. We need more stories of the women of the SW galaxy, both light and dark, and this is a nice addition. Do you have to read it? No – and you’re not missing anything crucial. But if you like situating each character in their larger lives and timelines, pick this one up.
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Grand Admiral Thrawn: feared villain, renowned for his cruelty in the Empire. This book traces the history of how he rose through the ranks of the Imperial army, and how he got where he is. Not only is it the story of Thrawn, but it’s also a glimpse into his thought process and his point of view. Zahn fleshes him out as a fully three-dimensional creature, and doesn’t simply relegate him to “bad guy” status.
Doctor Aphra, Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker
I would be remiss if I didn’t include comics/trades in my list – and this one especially. After escaping Vader, Doctor Aphra hunts down relics in order to pay some debts of hers – but her past comes back to haunt her. She’s a unique character – is she good? Bad? Somewhere in-between? Just whose side is she on? (Spoiler alert: her own). Gillen does a really nice job of developing Aphra’s character and making her someone the reader really becomes invested in. I wasn’t sure I would like this one, and ended up loving it.
Darth Maul, Volume 1 by Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross
This one is for the die-hard Dark Siders….Darth Sidious has an apprentice, Darth Maul – and this is his rage-fueled story. He doesn’t get much air time in the movies, so the potential for backstory is big – and this comic is a good start. It’s not perfect, but it’s something. Casual fans might find this to be a bit too much and not very interesting – although the artwork is fantastic – but for those who are all about the dark, this comic is one for your collection.
Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray
The Stormtroopers are some of the most iconic figures in the Star Wars films – evolving with each iteration, and carefully detailed in the comics, books, and movies. This well-researched, beautiful book traces the Imperial Stormtroopers throughout the galaxy and contains pictures, propaganda, storyboards, stickers, and everything Empire. If the Dark Side is for you, this needs to be on your reading list.