‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is coming up, so for Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com would like to look back on the Thrawn Trilogy. Sure, with the new movies coming out, it’s probably not going to be canon anymore, but it’s still a very important series. It not only brought the ‘Star Wars’ fandom come raging back (to mixed results, i.e, it brought about Episode I, II, and III), but it’s an amazing series, with complex characters, and a deep, deep understanding of the political reality of the Republic after the Empire falls.

It’s bizarre how we thought the story was just over with Ewoks and approving ghosts in ‘Return to the Jedi’. Destroying the Emperor doesn’t get rid of the military spread across the galaxy, it’s infrastructure, or the problems the Republic had working together before it fell. That is the world Zahn sets ‘Heir to Empire’ in. In the far corners of the galaxy there is an alien Admiral named Thrawn who is so freaking good at maintaining order to being awesome that he can tell how to defeat an entire planet just by looking at their art history. Relegated there by Emperor Palpatine because he’s a raging racist (think about it, how many aliens do you see working for the Empire?), but unable to be ignored because he’s Thrawn and no one puts Thrawn in the corner, this blue-skinned, red-eyed alien has so much power over his troops that he can easily re-institute the Empire under his name.

Well, as long as Luke doesn’t have anything to say about it… but even then, Luke’s say in the first few books isn’t really all that much because Thrawn is a freaking bad ass.

No stone is left unturned in the ‘Star Wars’ universe with these books. The clones? Well, how about Jedi clones with a warped sense of reality? Han and Leia? Turns out they are going to have twins with some seriously interesting implications. Oh, and yeah, it turns out that neither of them are really the settling down type (go figure), so the take on their attempts to cope with commitment is far more interesting than “I love you” and “I know”. Furthermore, there are female characters added in, like Mara Jade, a smuggler/assassin sort who used to kill rebels on the down-low for Palpatine.

Essentially, ‘Heir to the Empire’ is a perfect continuation of the ‘Star Wars’ canon. Even if it is no longer considered official canon, it’s still well worth the read, and it’s good to know what the story was officially for the last twenty years before the new movie was announced, and everything got thrown out of whack. You will not regret it. I promise.