Star Wars: The 5 Stories Every Real Fan Must Know

"Star Wars" is one of the biggest franchises on the planet. With movies, TV series, video games, and more telling hundreds of stories across the galaxy far, far away. By far, the biggest stories are told in the form of big-budget films based largely around the Skywalker family. With nine films surrounding the story of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a couple of spin-off films, there is plenty of content for fans to get their fill of "Star Wars." 

That doesn't mean there aren't many other places they can go if they want more from the universe. As a matter of fact, there are some stories that are musts if you want to get a deeper understanding of the films and TV series and the galaxy as a whole. Some of them were made canon when Disney bought Lucasfilm, and the franchise has not adopted some as of yet, but are still important due to the canon franchise leaning heavily on the foundation they built. 

If you want to go deep into the lore of the Jedi and the Sith, there are plenty of ancient stories like "The New Jedi Order" series or "Lost Tribe of the Sith." If you want to delve deep into the culture without a lot of focus on the events of the movies or shows, "Star Wars: Fallen Order" is a video game that lets you experience the Jedi vs. Sith. But there are five stories you should know if you are a true fan of George Lucas' creation.

Darth Bane and the Rule of Two

First and foremost, if you are a true fan of "Star Wars," the Darth Bane trilogy is the first you should pick up if you want to understand the world of the Jedi and the Sith. While it is technically non-canonical, the trilogy and the movies share one of the most basic concepts in the entire franchise, the Rule of Two. The structure of the Sith to have only one master and one apprentice is the building block of what makes the villainous group so effective. One Sith to hold the power, one to crave it. 

The group didn't always believe this. The first novel of the trilogy, "Darth Bane: Path of Destruction," sees the angry young man, Dessel, join the Sith Academy and learn the ways of the Dark Side of The Force. In his studies, he discovers they drifted far from the ancient teachings and puts a plan in action to destroy every one of his fellow Sith. Now known as Darth Bane, he takes on an apprentice, Darth Zannah, and establishes the Rule of Two. 

The trilogy then continues to focus on Bane's perfection of as many Sith powers as he can find while training Zannah to take his place. By the end of the three novels, she challenges his authority and attempts to take the mantle of Sith master. If a team of the Emperor, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Count Dooku seems like an unbeatable force, this trilogy explains why it could never work. Not only is this a must-read for any "Star Wars" fan, but we need to see Darth Bane come to life. 

The High Republic shows the height of the Jedi Order

If the Darth Bane trilogy is meant to give you the understanding you need for the Sith, then "The High Republic" is the opposite. While it isn't one story per se, the project tells the overarching story of the Jedi when they were at their best. This is the Jedi at the height of their power when the Republic oversaw a time of peace throughout the galaxy and utilized the honorable Jedi as its protector. While not just novels, the multimedia project takes place two centuries before the birth of Anakin Skywalker. 

"The High Republic" consists of adult novels, young adult novels, junior novels, audio dramas, comic books, manga, and more. One of the things about "The High Republic" that makes it one of the more intriguing stories in the universe is they don't lean on the Sith. "Star Wars" is primarily seen as a battle between the Light and Dark Sides of The Force, but "The Mandalorian" proved in its 1st season that there is more going on in the galaxy that deserves the fans' attention.  

If Darth Bane helps fans get a deeper understanding of who the Sith are, "The High Republic" does the same for the Jedi. This is what the Jedi are meant to be, how they were intended. Comparing them with the council we find in "The Phantom Menace" will give you an idea of how the galaxy changed under the clandestine influence of the Sith. 

Dooku: Jedi Lost explains the fallen Jedi's desertion of the Order

While "The High Republic" focused on villains like the Nihil, the Sith had made their return by the time Anakin Skywalker was discovered by the Jedi. Darth Sidious reappeared as the one pulling the strings behind the corruption of the Senate. But as evil and formidable of an adversary as the Emporer is, the more intriguing Sith to watch are the ones who serve under him. His apprentices Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, and Darth Vader were always the ones we got to see fighting the Jedi face-to-face. Of course, Vader and Maul have gotten a lot of background and storylines for us to enjoy, but Tyranus is more underused. 

Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is a fallen Jedi, and we never see why he went from Padawan to Master Yoda and Master to Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) to Sith apprentice. Dooku: Jedi Lost" is the story of his younger years, the reasons for the anger that built the Dark Side within him, and the problems he had with the Jedi Order that caused him to leave. This is an audio drama with a full cast of characters, so instead of reading the book, you can hear the deep voice of Dooku as he struggles through his transition to Darth Tyranus. 

Count Dooku may have merely been the bridge from Darth Maul to Darth Vader in the films, but this story is imperative to understand who he is and maybe even empathize with his feelings toward the council, which include those Anakin eventually felt as he fell to the Dark Side. 

Master & Apprentice gives us background on Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan

The Darth Bane trilogy helps you understand the Sith. You have seen what the Jedi are meant to be with "The High Republic." You can now empathize with Count Dooku thanks to "Dooku: Jedi Lost." Now here's one Jedi whose story you should understand. From Padawan to Count Dooku to Master to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Qui-Gon Jinn only got a criminally short time with the Jedi before he met his end. But what was he like before his rebellious actions in "The Phantom Menace?"

"Master & Apprentice" answers some questions "Star Wars" fans may have if they only watched the films. Why would Master Yoda and the Jedi Council put up with someone like Jinn skirting the rules? Why would they then allow his rule-breaking to continue after his death by allowing Obi-Wan to train Anakin? Why did he have the kind of respect from both the Council and Obi-Wan to get away with all of it? 

This novel follows Jinn and Kenobi on what would be their last mission to a planet dealing with organized crime. Jinn considers an invitation to join Masters Yoda and Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) on the Jedi Council while Kenobi ponders what ending their partnership means. During the mission, Jinn sees visions that change his mind and, ultimately, his fate. This is the must-read novel to obtain a deeper understanding of who Jinn is and why he garnered so much respect. 

The Thrawn Trilogy gives us our best non-Sith villain

There are very few characters in the "Star Wars" universe that have more respect from the fans than Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). Of course, if you only watched the live-action films and series, you may have been unprepared for his long-awaited arrival in "Ahsoka." But now that he has arrived, it is time to understand who he is and why hardcore fans of the galaxy are so excited about his arrival. 

The Thrawn Trilogy is a series of novels beginning five years after the events of "Return of the Jedi." Thrawn, who was stationed far from the action, begins to gather his forces to rebuild the Empire to overthrow the New Republic and the unsteady control it holds over the galaxy. While the trilogy of novels primarily follows the exploits of Thrawn, it also follows Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth and his campaign to take Luke Skywalker, Leia Solo, and her unborn twins as his apprentices. 

His presence in the films and TV series was relegated mostly to his time in the animated series "Star Wars: Rebels." But now, he's back on-screen and is primed to save "Star Wars" as fans are ready to indulge in his maniacal scheming. But first, get a look at more of his history with this trilogy.