The Star Wars comic book landscape underwent a major revision in 2015 when Marvel Comics took over the property license from Dark Horse Comics. Suddenly, 25 years of Dark Horse comic book canon was reconfigured to align with an all-new start from Marvel Comics with the launch of Jason Aaron and John Cassaday’s Star Wars #1.
It’s not everyday that a massive comic book universe sees such a dramatic overhaul, but for anyone unfamiliar with the lengthy Dark Horse era, the Marvel reboot offers a prime entry point. Naturally, there are still plenty of excellent pre-Marvel Star Wars comics that I’d recommend – Knights of the Old Republic and Dark Empire immediately come to mind – but the important point for our purposes is that these old tales no longer fit within official Star Wars comics canon.
For the most part, Marvel’s initial Star Wars comic book lineup focuses on the time period between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. As the line has expanded, Marvel has tapped into everything from The Clone Wars to after The Force Awakens, making both a timeline and guide to what’s in canon a necessity.
If you’re more interested in all of the Star Wars comics available, I’d recommend Comic Book Herald’s complete guide to Star Wars.
For everyone else, below you’ll find a complete guide to the Marvel Star Wars books in canon, according to chronological order.
THE CLONE WARS
Collects: Darth Maul #1 to #5
Collects: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #1 to #5
Collects: Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 to #5
Collects: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1 to #4
Son of Dathomir is the strangest series to fall into Marvel canon, as it’s the only book that Marvel didn’t actually publish themselves as part of the 2015 relaunch. Instead, Son of Dathomir was one of the final Star Wars books from Dark Horse, detailing the return of Darth Maul.
Given that the ongoing Darth Maul series wouldn’t launch for another two years in real time, Son of Dathomir has served as one of the earliest glimpses into “canon” Sith lords with epic spiky heads.
BETWEEN REVENGE OF THE SITH AND A NEW HOPE
Collects: Darth Vader #1 to #6
Note that this second series of Darth Vader from Charles Soule and Jim Cheung was published after Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca’s Darth Vader spanned 25 issues and an annual. These issues are placed higher in the order because they occur earlier in the Star Wars chronology, shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith.
Collects: Darth Vader #7 to #12
Collects: Kanan The Last Padawan #1 to #12
Kanan is a limited selection of comic book creations added to the Marvel Comics universe, launching his own solo series without any move history.
Collects: Lando #1 to #5
Lando’s first solo ongoing series was created by writer Charles Soule and artist Alex Maleev, and is one of the better five issue miniseries in Star Wars comics. If you’re familiar with Maleev’s art from his work with Brian Michael Bendis on Daredevil you’re likely prepared for the grit and style Maleev can bring to a book.
Rogue One’s spinoffs into the Marvel Comics canon are very tightly managed by Marvel to date. This graphic novel adaptation of the movie, and a Cassian and K2SO Annual (without an ongoing series) are the first toes dipped in the water.
AFTER A NEW HOPE
Collects: Princess Leia #1 to #5
Although Princess Leia launched alongside Star Wars and Darth Vader as Marvel’s earliest books in the franchise, Leia’s title was unfortunately short-lived.
Collects: Chewbacca #1 to #5
Collects: Han Solo #1 to #5
Collects: Star Wars #1 to #6
Star Wars is Marvel’s flagship title, with initial stories told by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday. Star Wars has all the major players, but casts Luke Skywalker as its main character.
Collects: Darth Vader #1 to #6
For the dedicated continuity focused readers, you can break down the first volumes of Star Wars and Darth Vader as follows:
Star Wars #1 to #3
Darth Vader #1 to #3
Star Wars #4 to #5
Darth Vader #4 to #6
Star Wars #6
Collects: Star Wars #7 to #12
Collects: Darth Vader Annual #1, Darth Vader #7 to #12
VADER DOWN CROSSOVER
Vader Down is Marvel’s first attempt at a Star Wars crossover event. Marvel wisely kept the crossover to a limited six issues between two titles and one one-shot. As a result, the story of Vader’s crash-landing in hostile rebel territory is a very entertaining read, and one of the best Darth Vader moments in recent Star Wars history.
Vader Down #1
Darth Vader #13
Star Wars #13
Darth Vader #14
Star Wars #14
Darth Vader #15
Collects: Star Wars Annual #1, Star Wars #15 to #19
Collects: Darth Vader #16 to #19
Note that this volume of Gillen and Larroca’s Darth Vader actually collects the annual issue. I list it ahead of Darth Vader #7 because that’s where I place it in my complete Darth Vader reading order.
Collects: Darth Vader #20 to #25
The Gillen and Larroca Darth Vader is the first long-running Star Wars title to come to a conclusion, and finishes as one of Marvel’s best comics from 2015 to 2017.
THE SCREAMING CITADEL CROSSOVER
Collects: Star Wars #20 to #25
Collects: Star Wars #26 to #30
Collects: Doctor Aphra #1 to #6
Following her creation by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larrocca in Darth Vader, and her near-death experiences throughout that series, Doctor Aphra joins Kanan as one of the few non-Movie characters to launch her own Star Wars comic book title.
Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1
Star Wars #31
Doctor Aphra #7
Star Wars #32
Doctor Aphra #8
Collects: Doctor Aphra #9 to #14, Doctor Aphra Annual #1
Collects: Star Wars #33 to #37
Collects: Star Wars #38 to #43
BETWEEN RETURN OF THE JEDI AND FORCE AWAKENS
Collects: Shattered Empire #1 to #4
Collects: Poe Dameron #1 to #5
Collects: Poe Dameron #6 to #12
Collects: Poe Dameron #14 to #19
BETWEEN FORCE AWAKENS AND THE LAST JEDI
Collects: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Captain Phasma #1 to #4