Star Wars: 10 Stories To Read & Watch To See How The Empire Rose To Power

Recently Obi-Wan Kenobi, a series set prior to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, finished its six-episode run, and Andor, a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is on the way.

"The Age of the Empire" is what Lucasfilm calls the timeframe between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and it details how the Empire secured its hold on the galaxy and the people in it. There are many fascinating books, comics, shows, and movies that detail this story that many may be interested in checking out.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Clone Force 99 in The Bad Batch season 2 trailer

When Disney brought back Star Wars: The Clone Wars for a final season, the series introduced a group of altered clones called The Bad Batch. Their appearance proved very popular and was quickly spun off into a new series called Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The series begins just after Order 66 and follows the clones trying to find their place in the galaxy since they didn't turn like the other clones.


RELATED: Every Season Of The Clone Wars Ranked From Worst To Best According To Ranker

The biggest thing the show does for the larger franchise is detail how the Empire moved away from relying on clones and the Kamino. There are also a few episodes that show how the people adjust to the tyrannical rule of the Empire, not expecting it to be any different than the Republic. It's likely the upcoming second season will show more of these stories.

Star Wars: Kanan

Kanan, Ezra and Hera on the cover of Star Wars: Kanan comic series

Star Wars: Kanan is a limited comic book series that details the origin story of Kanon, one of the main characters from Star Wars: Rebels. The story starts with Order 66, like many of them do, and tells how he survived all this time before getting together with Hera and the rest of the crew of the Ghost.

RELATED: 10 Best Bounty Hunters In Star Wars According To Ranker

Star Wars: The Bad Batch may have retconned this story, but it's still a good one for anyone interested in the "Age of the Empire". Early Empire stories are enjoyable because it still feels like the Republic, but the looming threat of the Empire is beginning to become real for the citizens of the Galaxy. Kanan's story interweaves nicely with this threat.

Star Wars: Darth Vader - Dark Lord Of The Sith

Vader on the cover of Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic series

Ever since Marvel began publishing Star Wars comics, there have been a number of comics based around Darth Vader. Most of them are set in the time between the films that made up the Original Trilogy, except for Star Wars: Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith, which is set just after his rebirth at the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

Each volume of the series tells how Vader kills some of the remaining Jedi, including Jocasta Nu. The comic series also details the first time Vader met the Inquisitors, who are non-sith force users and play a large role in this era of the franchise. In the background of the series, Palpatine is making moves to strengthen his empire, such as moving into the Jedi Temple or quelling a mutiny on Mon Cala.

Star Wars: The Imperial Trilogy

Thrawn is a beloved character from the old expanded universe novels, so it makes sense that he would return in the new canon. Star Wars: Rebels reintroduced the character and Timothy Zahn returned to write a new trilogy of novels in the new canon. They consist of ThrawnThrawn: Alliances, and Thrawn: Treason and detail his rise in the ranks of the Empire.

These books are must-reads for fans of Thrawn, but also for anyone interested in the inner workings of the Empire's military. By their very nature, they aren't as action-packed as other stories in Star Wars, but Zahn is able to create a fresh take on his old character that also serves to show how the Empire tightened its iron grip on the Galaxy.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the first anthology film of the franchise and told the story of the events that led up to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Now that the Death Star is nearly complete, the Emporer is eager to test it so he can finally do away with the senate, but a group of Rebels break into Scarif, not the best tourist destination in Star Wars, and steal the plans to exploit its weakness.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is at the tail end of this era but there's still plenty here outside of the main story. There are hints to how the Jedi have been erased from the history books thanks to the state of Jedha but the main draw is the Rebellion. This is the first time all the different rebel factions came together to declare war against the Empire.

Star Wars: Tarkin

Tarkin is one of the most iconic characters from the first Star Wars films but, even though he dies at the end of the film, there are plenty of stories set prior. Star Wars: Tarkin was one of the earliest books and detailed the story of Tarkin's own rise in the ranks of the Empire. Tarkin was a trusted ally during the Clone Wars and served with Anakin Skywalker, so the book shows how he became the ruthless military Grand Moff.

Throughout the book's chapters, Tarkin deals with the higher-ups of the Empire, including the Emporer and Vader himself. It's not known to Tarkin right away that he knew Darth Vader as Anakin Skywalker, but he does eventually figure it out. Star Wars: Tarkin is another reminder that just because the Emporer declared the Republic an Empire, it wasn't so easy at the start.

Star Wars: Lords Of The Sith

Darth Vader and Palpatine on the cover for The Lords of the Sith

Very few Star Wars novels are about Emporer Palpatine. After he became the Emperor, he rarely left his palace on Coruscant. This is what makes Star Wars: Lords of the Sith so exciting. Vader and Palpatine are stuck together, alone on Ryloth. This story solidifies Vader's loyalty to the Emperor.

Palpatine is an exciting character in any Star Wars timeline. There is certainly a hunger for more stories detailing the ruthless character. Star Wars: Lords of the Sith doesn't peel back the curtain on any specific thing but it does show how strong the bond is between him and his apprentice, Darth Vader.

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

Banner to the Rogue One novel, Catalyst

Regardless of anyone's feelings on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the prequel novel Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel is a must-read for Star Wars fans. The novel details the story of how Galen Erso began developing the energy source that would power the Death Star. One unpopular Star Wars Reddit opinion is that the Death Stars were poorly managed, but perhaps that was by design.

One thing that had been a question on the minds of so many for years, was why it took 20 years to build the first Death Star. The novel details that the Death Star was originally commissioned by the Senate because the Separatists were building their own. But the Senate had no idea that the project was still going forward after the war had ended. The book details the important role the Death Star was supposed to play in maintaining order in the Galaxy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi Finale on Tatooine

The latest Star Wars show to air on Disney+, Obi-Wan Kenobi, takes audiences back to Tatooine to check in on the fan-favorite Jedi. Obi-Wan is a broken man now. Everything he knows is gone, he probably killed his best friend and his former master won't talk to him. But Bail Organa needs his help to rescue Princess Leia from the Inquisitors so he gets back into action. But out in the galaxy, he finds that Anakin Skywalker is alive.

RELATED: 10 Scenes That Hit Differently After Obi-Wan Kenobi

There's a lot to like about Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is the first time the Jedi hunting Inquisitors were introduced in a live-action setting. The show is set 10 years after Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and it feels like the Empire is closing its grip even tighter. So few Jedi are left, but there is something string that could pave the way for a rebellion.

Star Wars: Rebels

Rex and Ezra talk about what the Clone Wars were like in Star Wars Rebels

The second animated Star Wars show was the beloved Star Wars: Rebels. The series explored the beginnings of the rebellion as it would be seen in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Kanan, Hero, Ezra, Chopper, and other characters would become beloved fan favorites.

Throughout its five-season run, the show introduced many exciting concepts. The show reintroduced Thrawn, created the inquisitors, and has a definitive Lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Maul. This show does so much to expand the Force, the Rebellion, and the Empire, that it should be a must-watch.

NEXT: 10 Best Episodes of Star Wars Rebels According To Ranker

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About The Author Brandon McClure (91 Articles Published)

Freelance writer. Nerd and co-host of the Fake Nerd Podcast family of Podcasts. Has written for places like Kaiju Ramen and Atomic Geekdom.

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