For many ‘Star Wars’ fans, the past couple years have had a bittersweet quality to them. Sure, we’re getting new ‘Star Wars‘ movies starting late this year, and there are few things as exciting as that, but as part of the lead up to the sequel trilogy, Lucasfilm also struck the entirety of the Expanded Universe from the official ‘Star Wars’ canon. While the decision was understandable as a practical matter (the old EU was nothing if not exhaustive in its scope, and as such would have been tricky to work around), one can’t help but lament the loss of Mara Jade, Han and Leia’s marriage, and countless other characters and plot points that were introduced throughout nearly forty years of comics, games and novels.

But the other side of that coin is that everything old is new again, that formerly well-trod ground is once again uncharted territory. And it is with that in mind that Lucasfilm has announced that as part of the lead up to ‘The Force Awakens’ some twenty books will be published in the near future. While the “All New EU” – like its predecessor – has been jump started by Marvel’s recent high-profile comics efforts, these books are specifically intended to lead into ‘The Force Awakens.‘ Published under the umbrella title of ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ the books will span multiple publishers, including Del Rey, DK, and the aforementioned Marvel Comics. In addition, the books will be aimed at a variety of demographics, encompassing everything from novels targeted at adult fans to stickerbooks for younger audiences.

Many of the details surrounding ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ remain firmly under wraps, including many of the titles and even specific authors who are involved. There will also be novels that retell the events of the original trilogy from the perspective of unspecified supporting characters. In the most general of terms , these books are where you’ll want to look to not only discover what classic characters like Luke, Han and Leia have been up to between trilogies, but also to find any number of easter eggs and plot threads that will pay off when ‘The Force Awakens’ finally hits theaters on December 18th.

Source: EW