7. Thrawn Trilogy (novel series)
These were the first Star Wars novels I read, and they are arguably responsible for the current scale and popularity of the EU. These three novelsHeir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising,
and The Last Command
sold incredibly well. They also helped numerous fansincluding merealize there was a lot more to Star Wars than what I saw on screen. The books are set five years after Episode VII and tell the story of the formation of the New Republic in the face of a resurgent threat from the remnant of the Empire. Leia and Han are married and expecting twins; Leia is also trying to stabilize the New Republics government. Luke continues to serve the Republic, and is attempting to figure out the ways of the Force. Meanwhile, Grand Admiral Thrawn moves to reform the Empire and crush the fledgling New Republic. These novels flow almost directly from the original trilogy. All of our the heroes from the movie are here. And while the setting is a bit different from the struggles of the Rebel Alliance, it is more recognizable to film fans than novels set later in the age of the New Republic. But it also incredibly expands our understanding of the EU. We learn more about minor parts of the film (like that weird alien that helped the Stormtroopers find Ben and Luke in Mos Eisley in Episode IV). And were exposed to other important characters and elements, like the aforementioned Thrawn, smuggler networks, force resistance and the activities of Darth Vader early on in the Empire. Most importantly, it introduces us to characters who are very important in later EU works, like the roguish Mara Jade. The familiarity of the settings and characters, the high quality of the writing, and their accessible scale (three books of moderate length) make The Thrawn Trilogy a great place to start in exploring the EU.