Adventure Movies

Best Star Wars Books That Should Be Adventure Movies

October 25, 20238 Mins Read

While Lucasfilm’s illustrious Star Wars franchise is a theatrical property first and foremost, the brand has paved the way for countless excellent novels with similar scopes. The franchise has been iconic for decades thanks to its creative blend of sci-fi and fantasy for its adventurous stories, with many of these books doing admirable jobs of filling in continuity gaps.

Star Wars has never been one to have 1:1 adaptations of books into its movies, but both the Legends and mainline canons could more than carry this burden. Between stories going as far back as the Old Republic in the Darth Bane Trilogy and playing in The Clone Wars sandbox with Dark Disciple, plenty of Star Wars books have the potential for adventurous film adaptations.

10 Heir To The Empire Trilogy is “Sequel Trilogy” Worthy Material

Heir to the Empire – Dark Force Rising – The Last Command

Release Date

May 1, 1991


Timothy Zahn

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Grand Admiral Thrawn is among Star Wars‘ most intriguing villains, and Timothy Zahn’s Legends Heir to the Empire Trilogy was the antagonist’s epic debut. This post-Return of the Jedi story was the closest thing to a “Sequel Trilogy” before there was one, with the titular villain emerging in an attempt to overthrow the freshly-established New Republic and reinstate the Empire.

While the ship has sailed on the prospect of such a theatrical adaptation as is, Dave Filoni’s upcoming live-action movie might take cues from Heir to the Empire. It’s an excellent concept for introducing a new threat to a seasoned Luke, Han, and Leia, with Thrawn’s immense cunning more than worthy of succeeding Palpatine and setting the stage for a gripping space odyssey across three novels.

9 Shadows Of The Empire is a Pulpy Stopgap Tale

Release Date

April 1, 1996


Steve Perry

Shadows of the Empire novel is the core story within a multimedia project set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Luke, Leia, and Lando attempt to rescue a frozen Han from Boba Fett, while Darth Vader deals with an ambitious crime lord attempting to gain favor with Emperor Palpatine.

Many great canon Star Wars comics have filled in timeline gaps in the years since, and Shadows of the Empire felt like not only a conceptual precursor to such stories but could have also been a solid theatrical sequel to Empire before Jedi. The conniving Prince Xizor was an exciting and convincing original villain, a link to the galaxy’s criminal underworld, and leaning on the pulpy sci-fi atmosphere that Star Wars is known for.


8 The Hand Of Thrawn Duology is a Satisfying Capper to Zahn’s Saga

Specter of the Past – Vision of the Future

Release Date

November 3, 1997


Timothy Zahn

After his acclaimed initial trilogy and before returning to write newly canonized novels featuring the villain, Zahn returned with The Hand of Thrawn Duology. These books see the tail end of the Galactic Civil War as the dying embers of the Imperial Remnant attempt to negotiate peace with the New Republic, while a splintered faction led by the supposedly resurrected Thrawn tries to destabilize the latter.

Much like the preceding Heir to the Empire Trilogy, The Hand of Thrawn Duology would lend itself equally well to an adventure-focused movie adaptation. There’s a consistent air of suspense amid all the action and political scheming, with both books being impressively well-paced.

Hand of Thrawn Duology Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future

7 Dark Disciple Spotlights Fresh Characters

Release Date

July 7, 2015


Christie Golden

Dave Filoni’s The Clone Wars has some of the best Star Wars stories in the modern canon, and Dark Disciple realizes one of its undeveloped arcs. Based on unproduced scripts from the animated series, this novel revolves around the headstrong Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos teaming up with former Sith Acolyte Asajj Ventress on a mission to take down Count Dooku.

Christie Golden’s book was praised for keeping the tone of the TV show, but Dark Disciple‘s standalone nature and intense drama would translate well into the AStar Wars Story-like film format. The novel shows off some of the strengths of supplemental materials by spotlighting newer, but no less compelling characters aside from the franchise’s bigger names.

Star Wars Dark Disciple book cover with Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Voss

6 Ahsoka is Another Welcome Story of a Modern Icon

Release Date

October 11, 2016


E.K. Johnston

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The legendary Ahsoka Tano has developed into one of the most beloved modern Star Wars characters and among the most fascinating figures out of Filoni’s sandbox. Before the recent Rosario Dawson-led Disney+ series, E.K. Johnston penned an excellent standalone adventure for her in Ahsoka.

This is another welcome addition to the streamlined canon, as Ahsoka shines a spotlight on the estranged Jedi post-Order 66 and her inner turmoil in deciding whether she can truly be part of another wider ideal. Tonally, it feels like it could have been fleshed out into another A Star Wars Story anthology film, standing proudly on its own merits while providing worldbuilding to the greater continuity.

The cover of the Star Wars novel Ahsoka

5 Darth Bane Trilogy is the Best Sith-Focused Story

Path of Destruction – Rule of Two – Dynasty of Evil

Release Date

September 26, 2006


Drew Karpyshyn

Darth Bane is one of the most important figures in both Star Wars Legends and the main canon, even though he’s hardly seen. Drew Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane Trilogy details the titular Dark Lord’s origin story and rise to power as the creator of the infamous Rule of Two.

Comprised of Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil, it’s arguably the best collection of Sith-focused Star Wars stories, and considering how important the lore is to the timeline, it would make a gripping template for a sci-fi trilogy of movies. Telling stories primarily from the perspective of villains is a shake-up Star Wars stories could use, putting a dark spin on the franchise’s usual brand of theatrical adventures.

4 Master & Apprentice Gives Qui-Gonn and Young Obi-Wan Time to Shine

Release Date

April 16, 2019


Claudia Gray

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While the Prequels were a mixed bag, two of its most celebrated characters were Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor’s young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Claudia Gray is one of the most accomplished authors in the Star Wars universe, with Master & Apprentice giving a much-deserved emphasis on this pair’s early relationship.

By telling a more isolated story about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s early adventures together in Master & Apprentice, fans are treated to a thoroughly satisfying exploration of the two’s troubled, but ultimately heartfelt dynamic to similarly cinematic effect, retroactively adding to their characterizations in The Phantom Menace. The ship has sailed on a live-action movie today, but the book’s balance of character drama with classic Star Wars action would also translate into an animated feature.

Master and Apprentice Cover with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi

3 Lost Stars is a Mix of Sci-Fi Adventure, Drama, and Romance

Release Date

September 4, 2016


Claudia Gray

Possibly Claudia Gray’s most acclaimed Star Wars book, Lost Stars is a combination of genres. Set before the events of A New Hope, two aspiring pilots in love find themselves on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War when Thane Kyrell defects to the Rebellion, leaving Ciena Ree torn between her lifelong love and loyalty to the Empire.

Like other Star Wars books, Lost Stars is a well-paced standalone story that would lend itself well to the theatrical format, especially with its amalgamation of sci-fi adventure and young-adult-themed romance feeding the drama. It avoids playing into the stigma behind the genre, giving a Star Wars-flavored rendition of the “star-crossed lovers” trope.

Star Wars book cover Lost Stars with Rebel and Empire logos in space

2 Kenobi is a Star Wars-themed Sci-Fi Western

Release Date

August 27, 2013


John Jackson Miller

John Jackson Miller is also credited for writing some of the best Star Wars Legends comics, including the Knights of the Old Republic prequel series, and he also lent his talents to Kenobi. Unaware of Anakin’s survival and rebirth as a Sith Lord, the book sees Obi-Wan living in self-exile as he watches over young Luke and deals with Tatooine’s turmoil involving the Tusken Raiders.

The Disney+ series might have come off as unfocused, likely due to shifting film to TV, but Kenobi is a wildly entertaining sci-fi Western adventure. It could generally function as a theatrical sequel to the TV series, as the standalone plot works independently of Darth Vader and explores Obi-Wan’s conflicted psyche with nuance.


1 The Han Solo Trilogy is What the Movie Deserved to Evolve Into

The Paradise Snare – The Hutt Gambit – Rebel Dawn

Release Date

May 5, 1997


A.C. Crispin

Solo: A Star Wars Story may have been a commercial bomb, but Ron Howard’s one-off heist adventure earned a moderately positive critical reception for its fun action and charismatic ensemble cast. However, A.C. Crispin’s The Han Solo Trilogy is what the movie deserved to unravel into, detailing the early years of the smuggler’s life up until joining the Rebellion.

Solo borrowed elements of these books for the mainline canon but for the most part, the material covered in this trilogy is worth delving back into. Han is the perfect character for a sci-fi adventure movie, as the books show he combines just enough moral ambiguity, charm, and underworld misadventures to provide thrills.

A portrait image of the classic Star Wars logo franchise banner

Star Wars

The original trilogy depicts the heroic development of Luke Skywalker as a Jedi and his fight against Palpatine’s Galactic Empire alongside his sister, Leia. The prequels tell the tragic backstory of their father, Anakin, who is corrupted by Palpatine and becomes Darth Vader.

Created by
George Lucas

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