The 20th Anniversary edition to Star Wars: Heir to the Empire releases on September 6, 2011.  A must own for Star Wars fans.  A great read for those looking for a next book to read.  But above all of that Heir to the Empire helped to transform franchise fiction.  

 

Timothy Zahn was the first to move outside of cannon in franchise fiction.  He transformed it from backward looking to forward looking. 

 

Before Heir to the Empire franchise fiction was safe and tended to be boring.  The stories stayed within the established timeline and themes.  They would explore more about the established characters or show them in a new situation but didn't really move forward.  Characters were safe and static.  Settings were going stagnant.

Starting with Heir to the Empire we move outside of Star Wars cannon.  The characters take a depth that was missing before developing, growing and even face death.  Their lives move forward introducing a continuity for instance Han and Leia are together like before but they start a family, have kids, joys and losses. 

We also get a sense of suspense added back into franchise fiction.  No character is safe from a dangerous situation because main characters do die leaving us without the knowledge if they will survive.  For instance in the beginning of Heir to the Empire we start out with the final death of Obi-Wan Kenobi who shows up telling Luke Skywalker that his strength in the force is fading and that he will no longer be able to return to counsel him.  Thus giving us the final death of Obi-Wan Kenobi and signaling to the readers that even big named characters are not safe from a final end even ghosts. 

Heir to the Empire is also a great story moving the setting forward after the defeat of the Emperor.  We get introduced to an amazing and dangerous character Admiral Thrawn who is messing with cloned Jedi.  We also get introduced to the ysalamiri and the concept that there are some things devoid of the force and thus immune to it.  This book shows us how the Rebal Alliance sets out to rebuild their new government and attempt to bring peace to the galaxy.  Heir to the Empire is the first book in a trilogy of novels known as The Thrawn Trilogy.

Plot

Five years after the Death Star was destroyed and Darth Vader and the Emperor were defeated, the galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war, Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins, and Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of new Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords—the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn—has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to create.

Special Features in this edition

  • an Introduction and annotations from award-winning author Timothy Zahn
  • exclusive commentary from Lucasfilm and Del Rey Books
  • a brand-new novella starring the ever-popular Grand Admiral Thrawn