September 27, 2023

Stories that would be perfect for the next set of YA books

With the recent publication of Rebel Rising by Beth Revis we have our third YA book in the new canon. With the upcoming publication of the Leia novel, we will have four. I saw a need more.

Previously in Legends, we had the Young Jedi Knights series by Kevin J. Anderson and his wife Rebecca which ran from 1995–1998 and consisted of 14 total books. Nearly 20 years after the series ended, we get the first of the YA Star Wars books in the new canon, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. While Lucasfilm did quite well in publishing children’s and Middle Grade books for young fans — and still does for that matter — , they are still lacking in YA department for teenage and young adult fans.

Fortunately, I have a few ideas of the stories that would be perfect for the next several YA books. These are the stories we are looking for. Scratch that NEED.

Queen Amidala in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Padme Amidala

I know I’m not the first to suggest this one. Padme is a fan favorite character and there are 10 years of her life we know next to nothing about. With the exception of the events of The Phantom Menace her reign as queen is a bit of a mystery. Then there are her early years as a Senator where she would have met Mina Bonteri and Bail Organa for the first time, and presumably had her short lived romance with Rush Clovis. All of this would make an intriguing YA novel. So much content to be explored and help tell the story of Luke and Leia’s mother.

Queen Amidala with her Handmaidens in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

The Handmaidens

Again, I’m not the first to suggest this one. I’ve seen both Tricia Barr and Future of the Force’s own Amy Wishman Nalan suggest this one on Twitter, and I whole hardheadedly support that suggestion. With the exception of Sabe, Dorme, and Teckla the Handmaidens were mysterious background characters who’s identities were cleverly hidden. However, these young women willingly put themselves in danger, and even die, to protect their Queen, Padme. They were brave, highly trained and one can assume educated. I’m sure they didn’t spend their days waiting to dress Padme or waiting on her hand and foot. Then there’s the question of what did they do after the Clone Wars? I can totally see them turning spy for the Rebel Alliance, perhaps as Fulcrums.

Sabine Wren with Darksaber in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels

Sabine Wren

After watching Sabine train with the Darksaber, I put a tweet out on Twitter about how I thought we needed a Sabine book detailing more of her backstory. While it’s been hinted we will finally learn exactly what it is she did for the Empire, I want to actually see it. A book detailing Sabine’s time at the Academy on Mandalore, the circumstances surrounding what she did there, why and how she made the decision to leave, her time as a bounty hunter with Ketsu, how she met Hera and Kanan and decided to join them. Any or all of these would make a great YA novel for young fans. This would not only flesh out her backstory, but tell the story in a compelling way and be the perfect format to get inside her head and tell what she’s thinking and feeling at the time.

Cassian Andor in Rogue One A Star Wars Story

Cassian Andor

Marvel recently announced that we will be getting a one shot detailing how Cassian and K2 met, but I think we need more. Cassian tells Jyn he’s “been in this fight since I was six-years-old.” That line immediately struck me when watching Rogue One. I wanted to know what happened to young Cassian that he grew up fighting from such a young age. All we know so far is that he was once a Fulcrum agent and did things he was not always proud of. I want to know what happened to his parents/family, how he was recruited to the Alliance, and how he met K2 and reprogrammed him. Was it Ahsoka that recruited him to be a Fulcrum? (please let it have been Ahsoka) How long have he and K2 been a team? Marvel will be answering at least one of those questions, but I still want to see Cassian’s teen years in a book.

Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

Anakin Skywalker

So little is known in the new canon about Anakin’s training. Jude Watson wrote an eleven book series in Legends titled Jedi Quest that detailed that time. However, they were part of the above mentioned children’s book and not a YA. Marvel released a five issue comic last year that was way to short, in my opinion, featuring one mission he and Obi-Wan went on. But that still leave the majority of a ten year gap in his life. A story set during Anakin’s formative years would give tremendous insight into the boy that would be Darth Vader one day.

Jedi Knight Qui-Gon with his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Obi-Wan Kenobi

While were at it, what about a book featuring Obi-Wan’s training with Qui-Gon? Not only would we get more of the unconventional Qui-Gon, but we get more insight into Obi-Wan as a young man and what shaped him. Perhaps it could even feature the mission in which Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon meet and protect the young Duchess Satine Kryze (Editor’s note: I would definitely buy THIS!). Obi-Wan only hints at this mission and what transpired in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and I think it’s a story that needs to be told. Of course, that’s the ObiTine shipper in me talking.

I’ve heard some comments from some fans who would take some of the above suggestions as comics because they’re desperate to see them in ANY format. However, that misses the point of YA literature. I don’t want these stories in that format just because I want to read them and happen to love YA, I want them for the Sabine fan that comes into my library lamenting the end of Rebels. Or the kid that loves Vader and want’s to know more about how he became the Dark Lord of the Sith.

As a teen, I read as many of the Young Jedi Knight books I could get my hands on, which wasn’t easy since I didn’t discover them until 1997. Teen fans today deserve just as many books about their favorite characters as our generation once had. Because let’s face it, YA is first and foremost for the teens and they are the future of the fandom.

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