May the fourth be with you! Every year on this date Star Wars fans around the world can be found celebrating their favourite franchise, and in 2020 we’re sure everyone’s craving some sci-fi escapism more than ever.
But what if you’ve finally finished the Skywalker saga? Watched all nine (or 11, depending on how you count) Star Wars films on DVD, Disney+ or TV, and looking for something new to satisfy you or your family’s Star Wars-shaped itch?
If this describes you, you’re in luck – because when it comes to Star Wars the movies are just the beginning.
Over the years a whole host of brilliant TV series, video games, books and more have continued exploring every corner of George Lucas’ fictional universe, and this Star Wars Day RadioTimes.com writers have selected a few of their favourite spin-offs for anyone looking to dip their toe (or metal droid leg) into the wider Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-present)
You can watch all series of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+
The Clone Wars may be the most significant bit of Star Wars history to emerge during the prequel films, with the entire galaxy in turmoil as the clones of the Republic wrestled with the Separatist droids of the Trade Federation throughout the early 2000s trilogy.
However, despite the grand scale of the conflict we only see the touchpaper being lit during Episode II and the climax in Episode III with a void of information between.
Three years after Revenge of the Sith was released, creator George Lucas and writer Dave Filoni put their heads together to flesh out the Clone Wars in the form of an animated series. The show predominantly follows the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker – who is portrayed tremendously throughout – and the latter’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano, a new character who has blossomed into an all-action fan favourite.
While some episodes feel tailored to a younger audience, the series develops a host of dark storylines featuring a range of familiar faces – and the return of an iconic Star Wars villain makes for some truly memorable scenes… Michael Potts
If you liked that, you might like…Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
Before the current Clone Wars animation became such an important part of Star Wars canon, there was another wildly different take on the galactic conflict. George Lucas personally hired animator Genndy Tartakovsky, best known for this work on Samurai Jack, to create a bitesize series that would bridge the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Initially, these episodes were only a few minutes in length, offering an action-packed glimpse at battles unfolding across the galaxy. But as the series progressed, instalments grew longer and more ambitious, culminating in a thrilling storyline about Chancellor Palpatine’s abduction which leads directly into Revenge of the Sith’s opening sequence.
While some of the shorter tales are perhaps a tad shallow, what makes this series worth watching is Tartakovsky’s trademark artistic style. He crafts some truly bonkers action scenes, including one that sees Mace Windu destroy an army of battle droids with his bare hands (above).
While technically no longer canon, one thing is for sure: the Jedi Order has never looked more powerful… David Craig
Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018)
For a brief period before The Force Awakens returned the franchise to the big screen, Star Wars Rebels WAS Star Wars. Created by the Clone Wars’ Dave Filoni and inspired by the concept art of original trilogy designer Ralph McQuarrie, the animated series follows a ragtag band of freedom fighters taking on the Empire years before Luke Skywalker even picked up a lightsaber, and quickly attracted a devoted collection of fans when it debuted in 2014.
Whether they were watching for young runaway Ezra Bridger, troubled ex-padawan Kanan, level-headed Hera, rebellious Sabine, grumpy alien Zeb, psychotic droid Chopper or even Jason Isaacs’ evil Inquisitor, there was something for everyone in Rebels – and despite the cartoon visuals, the storylines are sophisticated and involved enough to satisfy both kids and adults.
In fact, as a mark of just how popular the characters of this spin-off became, listen closely during The Rise of Skywalker – you can hear Freddie Prince Jr’s Kanan Jarrus among the Jedi giving encouragement to Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Huw Fullerton
If you liked that, you might like… The Mandalorian (2019-present)
You can watch series one of The Mandalorian on Disney+
If you’ve watched the movies, you might have already been tempted to enjoy Star Wars’ first live-action TV series – but if you haven’t, now’s the time to rectify that oversight.
Starring Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter and created by Jon Favreau (with help from The Clone Wars and Rebels’ Dave Filoni), The Mandalorian is an exciting romp filled with gorgeous visuals and great action. And did we mention Baby Yoda? Huw Fullerton
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)
The Star Wars franchise has a long history of spawning brilliant games, with Jedi: Fallen Order being the latest addition to its compelling library. For anyone not wishing to faff about tracking down older titles and consoles, this is both an easy choice and a very strong one indeed.
After fans had been left disappointed by the lack of a strong narrative in EA’s recent Battlefront games, the publisher hired A-list developer Respawn Entertainment to craft a truly cinematic Star Wars story. The end result is a fantastic action adventure game that combines the space exploration of Mass Effect, breath-taking sequences of Uncharted and the intuitive combat of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
The story kicks off five years after the devastating events of Revenge of the Sith, as former Jedi padawan Cal Kestis (Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan) goes on the run from Imperial Inquisitors attempting to stamp out the remnants of the Republic. He teams up with a mysterious mercenary and a charming droid to continue the work of a fallen Jedi master, bringing him up against the Empire’s most fearsome foes… David Craig
If you liked that, you might like…LEGO Star Wars (various)
If you fancy a slightly lighter videogame experience, you can’t go wrong with the various entries of the LEGO Star Wars series. Recreating the movies in cute block form, the games are easy to pick up and play but engagingly tricky to completely master, and support co-operative playing as you take charge of a whole gang of classic series characters.
Currently fans are still waiting for the release of the epic nine-film Skywalker saga adaptation, due for release later this year – but you can pick up The Force Awakens in LEGO form now. Huw Fullerton
Star Wars books (various)
The worlds of Star Wars on the printed page are somewhat complicated by being divided into two distinct subsections: anything released post-2014 (after Disney acquired Lucasfilm) is considered canon, while any print spin-offs published before that date now retroactively fall under the non-canonical “Legends” banner, but there’s plenty of cracking reads to dip into from both epochs.
If you’re keen to stick to canon, there’s the book trilogy which kicks off with Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath and follows a teenage Temmin “Snap” Wexley (played in the sequel movies as an adult by Greg Grunberg), Ahsoka by EK Johnston which digs a little deeper into the popular Clone Wars/Rebels character and the Leia-centric Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which charts what happened to the Solo family between the events of the original trilogy and the sequels.
On the Legacy side of things, you can’t go wrong with Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992) and The Last Command (1993) which first introduced popular villain Grand Admiral Thrawn, while John Jackson Miller’s Kenobi, which follows its title character’s life after the fall of the Jedi, might make for an interesting read ahead of the upcoming Disney+ Obi-Wan series starring Ewan McGregor. Morgan Jeffery
If you liked that, you might like…Star Wars comics
Since Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, Marvel comics had been publishing a brilliant array of comics filling in more gaps in the chronology (right down to why C-3PO briefly had a red arm…) and telling new stories.
Following classic characters like Princess Leia, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker as well as newly-created characters like antihero archaeologist Doctor Aphra, there are pages and pages of terrific adventures just waiting for you in these comic books. Huw Fullerton
Want more this May the Fourth? Check out our full guide for the best places to find offers, watch the films and more…