When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2014, the company drew a line in the sand and nearly everything that came before the purchase was relegated to Star Wars Legends status. This meant that the absolutely brilliant trilogy by Timothy Zahn, Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command, was no longer considered canon pertaining to the six original films and The Clone Wars.
That said, some fan-favorite stories and characters like Mara Jade, and her interactions with her future husband, Luke Skywalker, are lost as they no longer fit into Disney's desired narrative. One leading aspect of Zahn's work that made the jump into canon via Star Wars Rebels was Grand Admiral Thrawn, and he's shaping up to be the big bad of the live-action television series, Ahsoka, on Disney+.
While Heir to the Empire may be in Legends territory, that doesn't make it any less popular among fans. This list details the story's timeline, so consider it a primer of sorts – that said, if you have the time, you should definitely read Zahn's work. It's iconic and some of the best Star Wars content that's ever been published, and that's saying something!
The Trilogy Is Set Five Years After ‘Return of the Jedi’ While The New Republic Is Handling The Remnants Of The EmpirePhoto: Del Rey
Grand Admiral Thrawn Was Introduced As A New Antagonist Who Hailed From The Unknown RegionsPhoto: Star Wars Rebels / Disney XD
Thrawn And The Imperial Remnant Sought Out A Secret Cloning Facility Of Palpatine’s On The Planet WaylandPhoto: Star Wars: The Bad Batch / Disney+
Mara Jade Was The Emperor’s Hand And Personal AssassinPhoto: Dark Horse Books
Joruus C’baoth Was A Cloned Jedi Master Who Wanted To Capture And Train Luke And LeiaPhoto: Del Ray
Thrawn Launched A Massive Campaign Against The New Republic, But Rogue Squadron, Han, And Lando Held Them OffPhoto: Lucasarts