Bloodline by Claudia Gray
A Leia-centric novel set six years prior to the events of The Force Awakens. Notably, this book incorporates ideas and suggestions from Episode VIII director Rian Johnson. Bloodline includes several important pieces of information, including:
- Leia recollects herself and Han with a newborn Ben (p. 12):
“Never imagined this, Han had murmured, sitting up in their bed late at night, Ben’s tiny head resting in the crook of his father’s arm. “Having a kid. Even wanting a kid. But now he’s here and -“
“And you’re a dad.” Leia had leaned closer, unable to resist the chance to tease her husband. “Just think hotshot. Someday you might even be a grandad.”
Han’s chuckle had warmed her. “Speak for yourself, sweetheart. Me, I ain’t ever getting old.”
Leia snapped out of her reverie, back into the here and now.
- Leia recalls Ben’s conception (p. 18):
She was thinking of a sublight run they’d undertaken together early in their marriage, which had begun with a great deal of bickering. However, all that time alone, with no one to interrupt them, had eventually led to much more enjoyable pursuits. Given the timing, she was fairly sure those pursuits had directly led, some months later, to Ben’s birth.
- Leia tries and fails to reach Luke and Ben (p. 38):
Leia remained in her cabin for as long as possible during the voyage to Bastatha, using the hours to snatch a quick nap, and then send another communique to Luke and Ben. (The Force alone knew when they would hear it. Luke’s last message to her had been a while ago, and badly corrupted by radiation interference; wherever they were in the galaxy, they were cut off from communication for the time being.)
- Ben is recalled as a normal and playful child (p. 73):
His expression reminded her a little of Ben’s when he was little, running in after an afternoon of roughhousing with his friends, hair mussed, absolutely filthy, and proud of himself.
- Luke Skywalker is increasingly a figure of myth (p. 203):
Skywalker had been so long away on his strange quest for the lore of the Jedi that he no longer had much influence outside his own acolytes. He was a figure of myth more than one of flesh and blood.
- Leia did not tell Ben that his grandfather was Darth Vader (p. 244):
Leia went into her office and shut the door. What she was about to say was deeply private, even though it was about news that at this moment was no doubt racing to the very edges of known space. She needed to explain to Ben that they’d kept from telling him because they’d wanted to find the right moment. She realized now that she’d been fooling herself. Luke, too. There could be no good time to learn news this devastating.
- Suspicions are raised (by Lady Carise, a First Order sympathiser) as to the threat Luke Skywalker could pose (p. 261):
“Princess Leia spoke of her brother, the famous Luke Skywalker, who has been little seen in the public sphere for many years now. Perhaps Her Highness learned virtues from her father’s example, but can we say the same for her brother? If he could use his rumoured strength in the Force for evil, how could we ever defend against him?”
The Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig
A trilogy of novels set in the aftermath of the events of Return of the Jedi. The two novels released so far – Aftermath and Life Debt – feature numerous pieces of interesting information.
- There are dark side cults collecting artefacts associated with the Sith, and Vader in particular.
- The Emperor has a keen interest in Jakku, which is also host to an Imperial research facility.
- Luke withdraws from the conflict to take the path of a Jedi, searching for ancient lore to rebuild the Jedi Order. This means he is only mentioned/appears in dreams.
- Gallius Rax goes into General Hux’s backstory, and demands that the boy and his father be brought to him (p. 46):
“He has a child – a bastard boy, as I understand. Not born of his wife, Maratelle, but of some … kitchen woman. Don’t worry about the mother or the wife, but a child is a child and blood is blood, so make sure the boy finds rescue as well.”
“Is it wise to devote resources to rescue his boy?”
“The Empire must be fertile and young. Children are crucial to our success. Many of our officers our old. We need that kind of vitality. That brand of energy you get with the young. The Empire needs children.”
- Brendol Hux discusses his son’s weaknesses (p. 151):
“Armitage is a weak-willed boy. Thin as a slip of paper and just as useless. But I’ll teach him. You’ll … you’ll see. He has potential.”
- Rax is revealed to have stowed away on one of the Emperor’s ships, having started out as an orphan and a slave on Jakku.