Are you looking for a simple, fun way to help catch your younglings up on your favorite space saga before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters this December? Two recent book releases may be the perfect purchases for you and your family– Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (released last week) and Star Wars: Who’s Who in the Galaxy – Character Storybook (which was published over the summer) are both designed with simplicity in mind as a way to introduce and familiarize new fans below a certain age with the people and events in A Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Delilah S. Dawson’s (Star Wars: Phasma, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire) Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga begins at the beginning– well, in narrative chronology, anyway– with the tale of how a slave boy named Anakin Skywalker left his mother behind on the desert planet Tatooine to become a Jedi Padawan learner. With the emphasis of the first third of the book being on Anakin’s rise to Jedi Knight and fall to Dark Lord of the Sith, it’s clear that the focus here is on the Skywalker clan and its importance in the galactic conflict between the Jedi and the Sith.

Accompanied by illustrations by regular Star Wars artist Brian Rood that are so gorgeously and realistically rendered I honestly can’t tell if they are fully original works or simply screen captures from the films that have been monkeyed with in Photoshop, the story moves on from the prequel era, skipping “Star Wars Stories” Solo and Rogue One and making its way directly into the original trilogy. Here, readers learn about young Luke Skywalker and his adventures with friends Princess Leia and Han Solo in their battles against Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire.

Then, we enter into the Disney-produced sequel generation as The Skywalker Saga covers the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, following the mysterious scavenger Rey as she joins the Resistance to face off against Anakin’s grandson Ben Solo AKA Kylo Ren and his military force The First Order. Naturally, the book does not include any details from The Rise of Skywalker, as Lucasfilm tends to be fairly protective about the plot of its new releases before they’re released. That said it does feel a little odd and incomplete that this large hardbound volume only includes the story of Episodes I through VIII, and after IX comes out it will certainly become outdated rather quickly. Maybe we’ll see a follow-up edition by Dawson chronicling the full epic.

Similarly, Ella Patrick’s (Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey’s Journey, Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rose and Finn’s Secret Mission) Star Wars: Who’s Who in the Galaxy – Character Storybook acts as a primer for childhood-aged would-be Jedi by detailing each major persona we come across in, well, the Skywalker Saga– once again omitting the stand-alone spinoff films Rogue One and Solo. This book, like the one above, progresses Episode by Episode, I through VIII, but this time with a focus on the important characters we meet along the way. There are also brief plot synopses every few pages or so to remind readers of the context.

The artwork by the PowerStation and Pilot Studio collectives along with designer Leigh Zieske is cartoonish and eye-catching enough to be appealing to its target demographic, and the character descriptions are straightforward and uncomplicated. “Jar Jar Binks is a friendly Gungan who helps Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi hide from the Trade Federation.” “Supreme Leader Snoke is the leader of the First Order and Kylo Ren’s master in his training in the dark side of the Force.” Hmm… no real hints to be found here, it seems.

I know rumors have been swirling that Lucasfilm is having a hard time getting Star Wars to catch on among today’s youth– not to mention that most big fans are aging out of the franchise– and that’s why output like the Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures animated webseries has been created recently. If that’s true, these two books certainly align with that theoretical strategy. But even if the future of Star Wars fandom is secure, The Skywalker Saga and Who’s Who in the Galaxy are both helpful tools for kids and parents to better grasp the ins and outs of an ever-growing modern mythology.

Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and Star Wars: Who’s Who in the Galaxy – Character Storybook are available now from Lucasfilm Publishing wherever books are sold.

 

Mike has been fascinated by theme parks and Disney all his life. He has worked in the entertainment journalism field since 2015, after spending a decade as a film projectionist at one of Hollywood’s most prestigious movie theaters. He resides in Burbank, California with his wife and cat.

 

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