This year sees the release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, with events that take place after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. So what happened after Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo defeated Darth Vader? And how do those events tie into the new film?

Thanks to a series of 20 new novels, we will now find out. And now, the official summaries of some of those books are available.

Of the 20 books being released, the following are important if you plan on seeing The Force Awakens later this year.

These novels will fill in any gaps, as well as offer hints and important information that connect Return of the Jedi to the new film. Here are the essential books:

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lost Stars

This young adult novel details the important events that have happened in Star Wars, beginning with the rise of the rebellion to the fall of Darth Vader and the Empire. The story's perspective is from the eyes of two childhood friends and star-crossed lovers: a Rebel pilot and Imperial officer.

Most importantly, though, the novel's official summary states:

"Star Wars: Lost Stars also includes all-new post-Star Wars: Return of the Jedi content, as well as hints and clues about the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-read for all Star Wars fans."

So although this novel covers events from Episodes I through VI, it's likely we'll see a bit of what's happened since Return of the Jedi, or at least hints of what we can expect the new film to cover.

Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens

This is from the novel's official summary:

"The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them? Those are some of the themes we'll be exploring in Aftermath..."

This is the book that's the most blatant link between the old films and the new. This one covers everything that happened after Darth Vader died and tells us about events leading up to The Force Awakens. Plus it's written by Chuck Wendig, who's written a lot of cool stuff, including writing for the World of Darkness tabletop roleplaying games.

If you're curious about how the other new books tie into the Star Wars film franchise, here's a handy infographic detailing the chronological reading and viewing order of everything.

[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm]

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