This article was originally published in May 2022. 

With the release this week of Mike Chen’s Obi-Wan and Anakin-centric Brotherhood novel, I’m thinking of other Star Wars novels I’ve enjoyed. There are a lot of good ones! But my favorites are those that add new layers to characters I’ve already met in other media. Phasma, by Delilah S. Dawson, is a good example. A minor character in Episode XII: The Force Awakens, and Episode XIII: The Last Jedi, Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) comes to full, vivid life in Dawson’s fantastic novel.

And then there’s Thrawn. A character born in the Legends books and emerging into canon via Rebels, Thrawn was re-imagined and beautifully developed by Timothy Zahn over six novels. The Chiss Ascendency trilogy was particularly excellent, for the shades of gray it added to a character (Thrawn) who was such a powerful antagonist in Rebels.

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Governor Ahrinda Pryce, animated, wearing gray Imperial uniform

Governor Pryce, via Star Wars Wiki

Possibly the best example of all is Governor Ahrinda Pryce. Pryce first appeared in Rebels, and she was a good, strong antagonist there. But then author Timothy Zahn cast her as a focal character in his first canon Thrawn novel, Thrawn. Pryce took on a new life for me after reading Thrawn. Same with Lothal as a locale, and side characters like Governor Azadi. I couldn’t help but imbue subsequent viewings of Rebels with all the things I now knew, via the novel.

The case of Governor Pryce is truly a perfect example of the way novels can deepen and enhance existing characters and stories. Here are a few other characters I’d love to see fleshed out in their own Star Wars novels!

Maz Kanata

Maz (Lupita Nyong’o), when she first appears in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, is already a thousand years old. She ran a pirate/smuggling hub for years. And she has some degree of force sensitivity that has never been fully explained, which gives her additional insight into those around her. She basically knows everybody and has seen everything. Can you imagine what the story of her life would look like? That’s a novel I’d love to read!

Maz Kanata from neck up, her goggles on her head

Maz Kanata, via Star Wars Wiki

Breha Organa

Breha, the Queen of Alderaan, was first seen in a fleeting shot at the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, holding the infant Leia. Later, she appears in Claudia Gray’s YA Leia-centric novel, Leia: Princess of Alderaan. Queen Breha is intriguing to me, both personally and for the role she plays in the early days of the Rebellion. Her husband Bail gets a lot of – undoubtedly deserved – credit for organizing what became the Rebel Alliance. But I’d love to see more of what was happening at the time on Alderaan, an early and essential supporter of resources to the fledgling rebellion. We see enough of Breha in Gray’s novel to glean that she is strong, brave and admirable. But we see her completely from her teenage daughter’s perspective. I want more! 

Breha and Bail Organa, holding Baby Leia, seated on an outdoor seat, Alderaanian mountains behind them

Queen Breha Organa, with Bail and baby Leia, via Star Wars Wiki

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Mina Bonteri

This character, first introduced in Clone Wars, also appeared in E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow, the second novel in her Padme trilogy. It’s clear from her interactions with Padme that Mina Bonteri is both smart and principled. There hasn’t been much exploration of the Clone Wars from the Separatist perspective. I’d be intrigued to delve into that, particularly through the lens of a character like Bonteri.

Mina Bonteri, from neck up, with short brown hair and dangling earrings, animated version

Mina Bonteri, via Star Wars Wiki

(Former) Agent Kallus

The turn of Alexsandr Kallus from ISB agent to rebel was told pretty well in Rebels. Kallus’s story arc is in fact one of my favorites of the show. But, as with the aforementioned Governor Pryce, this was a story told at kid-level in Rebels. I would love to read an adult version of Kallus’s story, akin to what Timothy Zahn did for Pryce.

Agent Kallus, animated form, from neck up, wearing armor

Agent Kallus, via Star Wars Wiki

Beru Lars

I want a Beru-focused novel that reads like the Legends novel, Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller.

In Kenobi, Miller paints a vivid picture of life on Tatooine. And while it’s true that both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett have since spent significant time on Tatooine, neither have depicted everyday life on the planet with the tangible detail of Kenobi. Any novel that centers on Beru would contain welcome insight into the heart and mind of the woman who stood as a mother to Luke Skywalker. But a Beru-centric novel that read like Miller’s Kenobi would provide a fascinating sense of place as well. I’d be really intrigued to read a book like that.

Two panels. On left, young Beru Lars from neck up, looking at camera. On right, older Beru Lars,  from chest up, looking into the distance.

Beru Lars, younger and older. Via Star Wars Wiki

Amilyn Holdo

Amilyn is depicted as a teenager friend of Leia’s in the Leia, Princess of Alderaan YA novel. Later, memorably, she is the heroic temporary leader (Laura Dern) of the Resistance in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. There are a lot of years in between those two moments in time that could be fodder for a really interesting novel!

Amilyn Holdo, from neck up, looking grimly to the side.

Amilyn Holdo, via Star Wars Wiki

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Trace and Rafa Martez

Ahsoka encountered the Martez sisters in the last season of Clone Wars. And while I like them both – Rafa (Elizabeth Rodriguez) I particularly find interesting – I admit that I included them in this list mostly because I think theirs would be a great perspective from which to tell a Coruscant story. With just a few exceptions (Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen)’s bounty hunter chase in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, for example), most Coruscant storytelling takes place in the centers of power. I’d like to know more about other parts of the city-planet.  

Rafa and Trace Martez, with a disapproving Ahsoka in the background. Rafa, in the foreground, wears a fur-lined coat.

The Martez sisters, with Ahsoka, via Star Wars Wiki

Sabine’s Parents

Ursa Wren (Sharmila Devar), seen in Rebels and Clone Wars, is the warrior leader of Mandalorian Clan Wren. Her husband, Alrich Wren (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) is an artist. As such, these two are an interesting romantic match! I’d like to read a novel that explored on a personal level what it was like to grow up Mandalorian. Looking through the eyes of Ursa and Alrich would be a unique way to do that.

Two panels. On left is Ursa Wren, wearing her yellow Mandalorian armor. On right is Alrich Wren, wearing the clothes of a Mandalorian nobleman.

Ursa and Alrich Wren, via Star Wars Wiki

Fennec Shand

Sharpshooter Fennec (Ming-Na Wen) has appeared in both animation (Bad Batch) and live-action (The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.) We’ve seen enough to get a sense of her character and ethical system. But we don’t really know her as yet, or how she became what she is. I’d like to know more of Fennec’s personal story.

Two panels. On left is Fennec Shand from live action, looking into the distance. On right is the animated version of Fennec, holding her helmet and looking serious.

Fennec Shand, in live action and animation, via Star Wars Wiki

Duchess Satine Kryze

If I could pick only one character from this list to actually get a novel of their own, it would be Duchess Satine. Every single thing about Satine is interesting to me! Her early years of struggle, culminating in a year on the run with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. Her ascension to the throne of Mandalore. Her incredible success at shifting a warrior society to pacifism. Her personal relationships – particularly with sister Bo-Katan and lover Obi-Wan (two of my favorite Star Wars characters). A novel with Satine as the central focus would be amazing! 

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Duchess Satine walk together in the Mandalorian capitol. Satine is dressed regally, with royal headdress. Obi-Wan wears his Clone Wars armor and is looking doubtingly at her.

Duchess Satine, with Obi-Wan Kenobi, via Star Wars Wiki

So, that’s my list! Who did I leave off? What Star Wars characters would you like to see explored more deeply in a novel? Leave your choices in the comments!

This article was originally published in 2022. 

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