The first new Luke Skywalker book in the official canon is Heir to the Jedi. Written by Kevin Hearne, it takes a very interesting approach to the traditional Star Wars book by being completely told from a first person perspective. Heir to the Jedi is a sincere, quality book that that would be a good book even if it wasn’t reliant on the Star Wars universe and name. Even more importantly for me, however, is that it does some very good things for Disney’s official canon and explains the characters a bit more deeply within the Original Trilogy.
Heir to the Jedi, the 4th released novel from Disney, takes place in between Episode IV and Episode V. Luke has just destroyed the Death Star and has a base understanding what the force is, but with Obi-Wan’s death he has been left with his first taste of the force and no one to teach him. I like to imagine it as if someone were to give you one bite of chocolate only to have them disappear without telling you how to get more. Without anyone to guide him, Luke is left to explore for himself and struggles to figure out where to even start developing and mastering his connection to the Force. He is now relied upon by the leaders of the Rebel Alliance because of his recent victory against the Empire’s Death Star. Luke becomes essential in successfully completing sensitive and solo missions for the Rebels; this pulls him away from force development. He ends up being teamed up with an original character, Nakari Kelen, who as the book puts it, has “got a score of her own to settle with the empire,” for a Rebel mission that allows them to develop a relationship that helps Luke move forward in his minuscule understanding of The Force.
Heir to the Jedi is an excellent addition to the Star Wars Universe. The development of Luke as a person as well as the Jedi throughout the novel expands fans’ understanding, if only half a parsec wider, of the way Luke learns, acts and developed in the Original Trilogy. For example, we learn how he acquires the force skills to pull the lightsaber out of the ice bank in the Wampa’s cave on Hoth. We feel his frustration towards Ben’s abandonment of him as well his sorrowful and desperate plea to his old master’s voice on Hoth. We are also reminded of Luke’s age and how young and unsure of himself he is. He is uncomfortable and the mistakes he makes are a glaring reminder of where he has come from as well as what he has been through, but he learns from his struggle and, as we all know, he learns and develops into a Jedi Master. As the book progresses, Luke develops as an asset for the rebellion just as much as he does with the Force.
There is a small assumption here on my part that the limits of Force powers will be similar to the what the Legends’ canon has shown us. It seems to me that nothing in the new canon has shown us the full potential of the Force, which has me concerned. If the Force is limited to what we have seen in the movies, TV shows, and the other official novels, it won’t even we compare to what we have seen of it’s potential power from the Legends universe. The Legends canon consists of the EU or Expanded Universe canon from before Disney purchased Star Wars. Disney has decided to start fresh with its new official canon, which consists of all of the media that it puts out, games, novels, comics, movies, and TV shows. In the Legends canon, Sith Lords ate planets and Luke created a whole phantom fleet; the powers were only limited by the imaginations of the novelists and creative directors, which was amazing to follow.
Of course, most questions will likely be answered on December 18th in the new movie and I will wait with bated breath like many other fans. Based on this book and the understanding and knowledge Luke manages to find on his own there is very much hope for him to learn, all on his own, everything he can about The Force to become the strongest, wisest Jedi in the galaxy, like he was in the old EU.
Heir to the Jedi is a unique, solid book for everyone, including fans new and old, to enjoy. It does a fantastic job of deepening our understanding of Luke and his place in this universe during the time between Episodes IV and V. It also gives me hope for the future of the Star Wars Universe if Luke can learn like he did in Heir to the Jedi he can learn what he needs to be the same or similar Luke that we knew from the EU. It gives me a very bright outlook on the future of Star Wars and what Disney can do with it.