Remembering Carrie Fisher by Reading About Strong Women of the Star Wars Galaxy

I can’t believe it’s been two years since Carrie Fisher died. She seems more necessary and vital than ever, and I’d like to think her spirit is still here, living on in the #metoo movement and the continued Resistance. Her inspiration is clearly still felt, given her images on all the posters at protests and marches. I’ve written about her before, and though she will always be my forever favorite Star Wars character, I’ve branched out a bit with my SW love. In addition to the movies and comics, I have somehow found myself falling down the rabbit hole of the books.

There are hundreds of SW books: film novelizations, novels, comics, reference books, children’s books, and more. It can be downright intimidating and overwhelming when you first dive in, to be honest. I’m one of those people who usually needs to know just the “right” place to start with my reading—but with the SW universe, there is no one “right” place…which ends up being the beauty of it. You can jump in anywhere that you’d like, which is really cool.

But if you love Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia, there are plenty of other women in the galaxy to learn and read about. To remember Fisher and honor her legacy of Leia, why not read about another kickass female in the galaxy? Here’s a list to get you started (don’t worry, there are still books about Leia on the list!).

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, Marc Deering, and Antonio Fabela

This was one of the first Star Wars comics I read, and I fell in love with Dr. Chelli Aphra—a rogue archaeologist who contains multitudes. (The “doctor” is used loosely…you’ll see why). She’s not a rebel, not an Empire fan—she’s out only for herself, but you’ll end up entranced with her anyway.

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

This was one of the first Star Wars books I read, mainly because I love Leia. While I read it, in my head, Carrie Fisher’s voice narrated what was on the page. It was pretty perfect. I didn’t want this book to end—it’s set a few years before the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and provides a lot of backstory to the film, detailing Leia’s time in the Galactic Senate of the New Republic. If you read one SW book, make it this one.

Women of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe

This book is GORGEOUS. Ratcliffe has put together profiles of 75 females in the Star Wars universe, paired with art from female and non-binary artists like Jen Bartel, Karen Hallion, Little Corvus, Annie Wu, and more. Each profile is written in such a way that respects the character, and the passion for the universe leaks through the words and art. I wanted to learn more about nearly every single entry.

Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

I admit, I don’t watch Rebels, and I haven’t seen The Clone Wars, so I didn’t know who Ahsoka was at first. But reading this book, I grew to love her. This book tells the story about what happened after she left the Jedi Order. If you’re not even a little familiar with Rebels/Clone Wars, like me, I would say it’s worth googling before reading this to find out a bit more backstory. But even without it, Ahsoka is a scrappy character that will grow on you. (I also can’t wait to read Johnston’s book about Padme Amidala, Queen’s Shadow, that comes out in February 2019).

Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Yes, it’s another Claudia Gray book, but I had to, because it’s just so fun. This book gives us a glimpse that we don’t often get to see—Leia before she becomes LEIA. This is the story of teen Leia, before she joined the rebellion, when she was still a young princess living with her parents. It also introduces us to a young Amilyn Holdo and sets up the story of their friendship. A fun, fast read.

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller and Dave Filoni

Again, since I’m not super familiar with the Rebels series, I had to google a little before reading this. In this book, it’s the Age of the Empire, and Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla meet for the first time. Hera is well-developed as a character, and I felt her spirit really come through the page. It made me want to learn more about Rebels, and was a really great intro to that time period in the SW galaxy.

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors including Nnedi Okorafor, Sabaa Tahir, Meg Cabot, Renee Ahdieh, and Pablo Hidalgo

This collection celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars is a veritable who’s who of Star Wars writing, as well as a bunch of other fantastic writers. Each story takes a moment from Episode IV, but from a completely different point of view than the movie, including Chelli Aphra, Breha Organa (this story killed me), and Mon Mothma. I went into this book unsure of how I felt about it, but the stories won me over, because it reminded me that the story I saw on the screen is just one version of it, and there was so much more to explore.

Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson

I tore through this book last year, because it was so well done—and even as a die-hard Rebel Alliance fan, I was enthralled with the backstory of how Captain Phasma came to be. If you’ve seen her in her silver armor in Episodes VII and VIII, she casts an imposing shadow. When a stormtrooper named Cardinal captures a Resistance spy who knows Phasma’s past, Cardinal will do anything to learn more about the Captain. Bit by bit, the information comes out…but at what cost?

What are your favorite books in the Star Wars universe?

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