8 Essential Star Wars Stories That Make Revenge Of The Sith Even Better

Summary

  • Star Wars tie-ins add depth to the prequels, like revealing Obi-Wan knew about Anakin and Padmé’s relationship all along.
  • Catalyst explains why it took the Empire 20 years to build the Death Star, offering a compelling backstory to Galen Erso.
  • Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic arcs shows how Vader began his transformation into the Empire’s greatest weapon after Order 66.

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is generally considered the climax of the entire prequel trilogy, but tie-ins have made it even better – and here are the pick of the crop. You probably know Star Wars best as a movie franchise, but in reality it has always been far more than that; Star Wars is a transmedia franchise, where stories are effortlessly woven across different mediums. Disney conducted a reset of this so-called “Expanded Universe” back in April 2014, but since then there’s been a constant stream of canon Star Wars content.

Looking beyond the various Star Wars movies and even shows, it’s remarkable to see how much these tie-ins add more depth and context to the movies. That’s even the case with some of the best Star Wars movies, where entire arcs are subtly rewritten and reinterpreted. Over the last decade, Disney has put particular care into “improving” the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and here are the unmissable tie-ins for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

8

Star Wars: Brotherhood

The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan is explored beautifully in this unmissable novel

Format

Official novel

Writer

Mike Chen

Release date

May 10, 2022

It may seem strange beginning this list with a story set just after the events of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, but there’s a good reason; the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi lies at the heart of the prequels, and Mike Chen’s Brotherhood is a beautiful exploration of that relationship. The closer they are seen to be, the more heartbreaking the final duel on Mustafar becomes, and the knowledge of their fate makes the rich humor of Brotherhood so very bittersweet.

Most shocking of all, Brotherhood reveals Obi-Wan knew about Anakin and Padmé all along. It makes sense; as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin and Padmé weren’t exactly subtle. But Obi-Wan cared too much for his friend to expose him, and instead hoped Anakin would find the happiness he himself had been denied, one in which he could have everything he wanted. This revelation subtly reframes the entire Skywalker saga, revealing Obi-Wan’s attachment to Anakin was as much a cause of Anakin’s fall as Anakin’s attachment to Padmé.

Buy Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen

7

Catalyst by James Luceno

The Death Star’s history explained

Format

Official novel

Writer

James Luceno

Release date

November 15, 2016

The closing scenes of Revenge of the Sith left viewers with a troubling question; why did it take the Empire 20 years to build the Death Star? Its superstructure seemed to be fairly complete in Revenge of the Sith, meaning it just didn’t make sense for the superweapon to take two decades to complete. In the build-up to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it fell to James Luceno – a Star Wars author celebrated for his mastery of continuity – to explain this apparent plot hole.

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Catalyst is the result, and it skillfully weaves canon and continuity together into an embracing story that serves as a biography of Galen Erso, the man who figured out how to power the Death Star’s superlaser. The story explores the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empiire, and it gives fresh perspective to these events, helping explain how ordinary citizens perceived these galactic events. This is far more than a mere continuity fix; it’s a tremendous read in its own right.

Buy Star Wars: Catalyst from Amazon

6

Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

Darth Vader’s story continues after the events of Order 66

Format

Comic book arc

Creative team

Charles Soule & Giuseppe Camuncoli

Release date

2017

Back in 2015, the comic book rights to Star Wars returned to Marvel – and the publisher wasted no time in releasing comics starring Darth Vader himself. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli superb 25-issue run is set in the immediate aftermath of Revenge of the Sith, literally picking up during Vader’s Force tantrum after he learns of Padmé’s death. The first arc is tremendously powerful, because it reveals how Darth Vader began his transformation into the Empire’s greatest weapon.

It does so in the form of a quest, one in which Darth Vader must prove himself worthy to be Palpatine’s apprentice. Like every Sith apprentice before him, he must do so by acquiring a lightsaber so he can bleed its kyber red and twist its power to his own ends. The kyber is not to be given, it is to be taken – and Vader targets Kirak Infil’a, a skilled warrior Jedi who has been isolated for years after taking an ancient Barash vow. Vader swiftly proves he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Buy Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith from Amazon

5

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Seasons 1-2 are essential, and season 3 is ongoing

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Lucasfilm’s latest Star Wars animated TV show is currently in its third season, and it’s proving to be essential viewing for Revenge of the Sith. Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1 opens during Order 66, revealing how a fan-favorite Jedi Padawan survived, before moving on to show the fate of the clones. There’s a grim, tragic irony to the speed with which the clones were discarded, their purpose fulfilled, their usefulness to Palpatine at an end.

The Bad Batch is especially helpful for explaining how the Republic became the Empire seen in the Star Wars original trilogy. Palpatine’s power is at its greatest, and the ease with which he wrong-foots his political opponents to achieve his own goals is absolutely staggering. The Empire has rarely felt as evil as it does in The Bad Batch, making the cost of the Jedi Order’s downfall so much more evident.

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4

The Clone Conspiracy Changes Order 66 Forever

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5, episodes 1-4

Format

Animated TV show

Release date

March 2014

Why would heroic clone troopers turn on their Jedi Generals simply because Palpatine invoked Order 66? When George Lucas decided to tell stories in which the clones were the heroes, he faced that awkward question – but Star Wars came up with a smart answer. Star Wars: The Clone Wars retconned Order 66, revealing every clone had been implanted with an inhibitor chip that would change their behaviors should Order 66 be invoked. There are shocking implications of this, because it means the clones were victims too; they had no choice.

This was revealed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5’s first four episodes (“The Unknown,” “Conspiracy,” “Fugitive,” and “Orders”). Here, a glitch with one clone trooper’s inhibitor chip caused him to kill a Jedi General prematurely. The clone trooper Fives investigated, and he came closer than anyone else to uncovering Palpatine’s treachery. This particular arc is a must-watch, because it retcons a major element of Revenge of the Sith – in the best possible way.

3

How Ahsoka Tano Survived Order 66

Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7, episodes 11 & 12

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Format

Animated TV show

Release date

May 2020

Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 is set at the tail end of the Clone Wars, and the last two episodes – “Shattered” and “Victory and Death” – are actually concurrent with the movie. This is the story of the Siege of Mandalore, the last battle in the Clone Wars, and it all leads up to that grimly inevitable moment when Palpatine issues Order 66. Ahsoka Tano finds herself targeted for death by the very clones who had just painted their helmets in an expression of loyalty to her.

It was always inevitable that Ahsoka would be an Order 66 survivor; she’d already been seen in stories set decades later. But Revenge of the Sith itself proves that a story can be compelling even when it is inevitable, and The Clone Wars pulls it off with skill. These two episodes are deeply emotional, forcing Ahsoka to confront the true horror of the Clone Wars – the perfect end to an unforgettable Star Wars TV show.

2

Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade

A chilling novel charting the fall of the Jedi and the rise of the Inquisitors

Format

Official novel

Writer

Delilah S. Dawson

Release date

July 18, 2023

The Imperial Inquisitors have become some of the darkest villains in Star Wars canon, former Jedi fallen to the dark side and transformed into Jedi hunters by the Empire. Originally introduced in Star Wars Rebels, they are the sworn servants of Darth Vader himself, and they’ve appeared in everything from games to live-action Disney+ TV shows. But what could cause a Jedi to become an Inquisitor? That story is told in Delilah S. Dawson’s superb Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade.

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Don’t miss Rise of the Red Blade!

Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade tells the story of Iskat Akaris, a Padawan knighted in the aftermath of the Battle of Geonosis. It runs throughout the Clone Wars timeline, building to Order 66 in the mid-point – and revealing why certain Jedi were deliberately spared by the clone troopers. This is a wonderfully well-written book, feeling almost like a companion piece for Matt Stover’s novelization (more on that later). Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade is a must-read, adding greater depth to the fall of the Jedi, and a fresh perspective on what it means to fall to the dark side.

Buy Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade from Amazon

1

Revenge of the Sith novelization

It’s so rare for a novelization to actually improve a movie – but this one pulls it off

Format

Novelizatiion

Writer

Matt Stover

Release date

April 2, 2005

Matt Stover’s Revenge of the Sith novelization is the best Star Wars story ever told. That’s the view of Screen Rant’s Content Director Alex Leadbeater, and he’s not wrong; celebrated fantasy author Matt Stover worked closely with George Lucas himself when he penned the book, and it’s a breathtakingly intimate portrayal of Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side. Stover employs a tighter focus than Lucas, avoiding the Kashyyyk scenes so he can center his narrative completely on his protagonists, and he skillfully weaves several deleted scenes into the story too.

Stover’s language is rich and poetic, carrying such tremendous emotion. Take this sample:

In the end, the shadow is all you have left.

Because the shadow understands you, the shadow forgives you, the shadow gathers you unto itself-

And within your furnace heart, you burn in your own flame.

This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker.

Forever…

If you only read one book in this list, Matt Stover’s novelization of Revenge of the Sith should be it. The canonicity is debatable – the novelizations exist in a strange, uncertain place in modern canon – but the book’s abiding influence can be felt in the likes of Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade and Brotherhood, and it’s been alluded to so many times it feels as though it really must count.

Buy the Revenge of the Sith novelization from Amazon

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith Poster

Cast

Ewan McGregor
, Natalie Portman
, Hayden Christensen
, Ian McDiarmid
, Samuel L. Jackson
, Christopher Lee
, Anthony Daniels
, Kenny Baker
, Frank Oz
, Ahmed Best
, Temuera Morrison

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