Claudia Gray and E.K. Johnston are returning to the Star Wars galaxy with new novels. Gray will pen "Master and Apprentice," starring Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, while Johnston will write "Queen's Shadow," exploring Padme's history.
The Star Wars franchise has always been more than just a series of big-screen blockbuster hits. For years, Lucasfilm has also published a range of New York Times bestselling novels, exploring the wider story of the galaxy. Some of these books are used to carefully tie the threads of Star Wars continuity together, like James Luceno's "Tarkin" and "Catalyst." Others are character pieces, focusing in on individual characters and helping to flesh them out. Claudia Gray's Leia: Princess of Alderaan, for example, revealed how Leia first became involved with the Rebellion.
At SDCC 2018, Lucasfilm Publishing announced two brand new Star Wars novels, both by popular authors who are returning to the fold. Claudia Gray will pen "Master and Apprentice," a story focused on the characters Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. E.K. Johnston will write a young-adult novel "Queen's Shadow," focused on the relationship between Padme and her handmaidens. Although cover art for Gray's story isn't yet finalized, the cover of Johnston's book was shared at the Lucasfilm Publishing Panel. The author himself took to Twitter to share a high-quality image.
Gray is best known for her two Leia-focused novels, Bloodline and Leia: Princess of Alderaan. The latter was actually published after the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, and feels like a poignant homage to the beloved actor. But Gray expanded her Star Wars range last year, when she penned a short story - also called "Master and Apprentice" - in an anthology book. This story was a fascinating one, exploring how Qui-Gon's Force spirit taught Obi-Wan during his years of isolation on Tatooine. It's interesting that Lucasfilm Publishing has chosen to reuse the title, and possibly suggests some of the themes from that short story resonate into the novel. If so, this may well give hints as to how Qui-Gon learned how to survive beyond death as part of the Force.
Meanwhile, there have been rumors of a Padme-centric novel since November of last year, even suggesting an April release. Fans had recently given up on the book, believing it just to be a myth, but will now be delighted to see an official announcement. Until now, the Star Wars novels have mostly avoided the prequel era. Books have generally been set in the time between the trilogies, during the Rebellion, or - more recently - in the build-up to The Force Awakens. It's exciting to see that Lucasfilm Publishing intends to focus in on these characters, fleshing out the greatest heroes of the prequels.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019