The Star Wars franchise has many essential stories about Luke Skywalker, most happening outside the movies. This is hardly a surprise, since the original Star Wars film was adapted into a book and comic series months before the movie’s release, introducing Luke and his adventures on the page before the big screen. The first Star Wars sequel was also a book: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster had Luke duel Darth Vader two years before The Empire Strikes Back. The number of stories between movie releases grew until there was an enormous catalog of essential Luke Skywalker tales.
Following the old Expanded Universe being rebranded as “Legends,” the new Disney Star Wars canon wasted no time refilling gaps in Luke’s life between the movies. These stories are just as important to Luke’s development as the films, especially in regard to the sequel trilogy, which chose to feature Luke in a more limited capacity. However, this does not detract from Luke’s cinematic adventures, as many of these stories enhance the Star Wars movies by adding new depth and explaining questions or plot holes. As of now, the Star Wars canon contains 10 essential Luke Skywalker stories outside the movies that brilliantly develop his character.
10 Luke Skywalker Learns To Use The Force In Heir To The Jedi
Originally outlined as the third Empire and Rebellion book, Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne was reworked to fit Luke’s new canon timeline. What makes the story unique is that it is written entirely from Luke’s perspective, a perfect way to get inside his head in the aftermath of A New Hope. Luke’s narration gives insight into his struggle as he embarks on a new mission, makes his first attempt to lift an object with the Force, and finally begins processing his grief over the deaths of his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. This makes Heir to the Jedi a crucial part of Luke’s long-term development between the movies.
9 Luke Skywalker Has His First Lightsaber Duel In The Weapon Of A Jedi
Similar to Luke’s progress with the Force in Heir to the Jedi, Luke has his first lightsaber duel in Jason Fry’s The Weapon of a Jedi. The book was one of three Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens stories to start in 34 ABY before jumping back in time to tell a story about Luke, Han, or Leia. The plot focuses on Luke traveling to an ancient Jedi Temple on the planet Devaron, where he uses his lightsaber in a duel for the first time against scavenger Sarco Plank. The book received an animated comic adaptation from Nestlé and a German comic adaptation by Alec Worley and Ruairí Coleman.
8 Luke Skywalker Faces Darth Vader For The First Time In Marvel’s Star Wars
Three years before his duel with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke met his father face to face for the first time in the 2015 Marvel Star Wars comic by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday. Vader’s dialogue is absolutely ruthless, and he even tries to decapitate Luke in the same way Anakin Skywalker killed Count Dooku, almost revealing that Luke’s weapon was once his in the process. The fact that Luke would one day try to redeem a man like Vader demonstrates his incredible character growth. The Star Wars comic ran for 75 issues before being relaunched in 2020, and continues to chronicle Luke’s story between the films.
7 Luke Skywalker Sees His Future In Age Of Rebellion
One of Luke’s most intriguing stories is the Age of Rebellion – Luke Skywalker one-shot by Greg Pak. During a space battle, the Emperor reaches out to Luke and creates a vision of his entire squadron being destroyed, causing Luke to envision himself leaving the Rebellion and the Jedi behind. The comic brilliantly foreshadows Luke’s story in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, revealing that his desire to walk away was always there, but didn’t manifest until Ben Solo’s betrayal. The story is also bold for hinting that Luke’s idea to exile himself was planted by Palpatine, which would make sense after the Emperor’s return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
6 Luke Skywalker Finds The Jedi Temple Map In Battlefront II
Luke found the first Jedi Temple by using the Jedi star compass that he retrieved in the Star Wars: Battlefront II story campaign. Despite his brief role in the game, this is the best portrayal of Luke post-Return of the Jedi, perfectly embodying what makes the character so special. Luke must team up with Del Meeko, a member of the Empire’s Inferno Squad, to survive the Emperor’s Observatory on Pillio. It’s incredible to see the effect Luke has on Meeko through simply being a good person and leading by example, convincing the Imperial to let him leave with the star compass “because I asked.”
5 Luke Skywalker Saves His First Student in The Mandalorian
There’s no question that Luke’s most memorable appearance outside the movies was his arrival in The Mandalorian season 2, episode 8 “Chapter 16: The Rescue.” This Luke Skywalker is special because of how limited his role is, spending most of the scene wearing a hood and demonstrating his incredible powers. Luke is much more stoic than usual when he meets Din Djarin and the others, but this is perfect for the story at hand because it shows Jedi Master Luke Skywalker based on how strangers would see him. The Mandalorian depicted Luke as the ultimate Jedi and made Grogu the first student at his Jedi temple.
4 Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy Begins In The Book of Boba Fett
The true beginning of Luke’s Jedi Academy was shown in The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 6 “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger.” After rescuing Grogu in The Mandalorian, Luke could fully demonstrate his abilities as a teacher rather than a student, marking an important transition in the timeline. The episode also showed the construction of Luke’s Jedi Temple, his insecurities about becoming a teacher, and most significantly his first onscreen encounter with Ahsoka Tano. Their short conversation offered a glimpse of a story about Anakin’s Padawan and his son, and a future Star Wars story must show how and when Luke Skywalker met Ahsoka Tano.
3 Luke Skywalker’s Quest For Exegol Is Told In Shadow Of The Sith
Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher is of the few stories about Luke in the years before the sequel trilogy, expanding on his history from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The plot follows Luke and Lando Calrissian tracking Ochi of Bestoon to find answers about Exegol and hopefully Lando’s long-lost daughter. The book expertly ties into the story of Rey and her parents, creates an emotionally captivating arc for Lando, and shows Luke at the halfway point between becoming a Jedi Master and retreating into exile. Shadow of the Sith is therefore a crucial aspect of both Luke’s story and the plot of the sequel trilogy.
2 Luke Skywalker’s Apprentice Falls In The Rise Of Kylo Ren
Although it centers around Ben Solo, The Rise of Kylo Ren comic miniseries by Charles Soule and Will Sliney includes important flashbacks about Luke. Ben’s early Jedi training reveals how naturally gifted he was compared to the other students, leading to Luke’s brilliant monologue about how the Force manifests differently in individuals. The story also shows Luke traveling with Ben and Lor San Tekka to ancient Jedi ruins and encountering the Knights of Ren for the first time. Even when Luke is not present in the story, seeing Ben’s fall and how it affected the surviving Jedi students provides additional insight into Luke’s story in the sequels.
1 Luke Skywalker’s Story Spreads In The Legends Of Luke Skywalker
The most unusual, yet equally essential Luke Skywalker story outside the movies is The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu. The Star Wars sequels dealt with the legend of Luke Skywalker, how it impacted people throughout the galaxy, and how he himself viewed it. This book was able to expand on that idea by presenting Luke’s life as a legend, with a group of children telling different stories of Luke’s life. How true the stories are is open to interpretation, but seeing Luke’s life from other people’s points of view makes The Legends of Luke Skywalker one of his most essential stories outside the Star Wars movies.