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Luke and Lando land on Exegol in Adam Christopher’s 'Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith' novel (exclusive)

Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith
Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith (Image credit: Del Rey Books)

Strap in and prepare for a perilous odyssey to the fabled Sith world of Exegol in author Adam Christopher's Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian team-up novel, "Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith." 

Del Rey Books is releasing this latest sci-fi novel set in the galaxy far, far away on June 28. It takes place 17 years after "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" and 13 years before "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which is a period of time that we’ve learned little about until now.

Here we're introduced to Rey's parents, who we saw in a flashback scene in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," as they streak across the cosmos to protect their young daughter, Rey. This all-important child was revealed in that polarizing sequel to be the granddaughter of Darth Sidious, also known as the Emperor.

Related: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' finale delivers the return of the Jedi

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Strap in and prepare for a perilous odyssey to the fabled Sith world of Exegol in author Adam Christopher's Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian team-up novel, "Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith." 

With Luke Skywalker plagued with disturbing visions of the Dark Side of the Force nearly two decades after the Battle of Endor, and an unsettling presence rising on the dead Sith planet of Exegol, the Jedi Master unites with the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian, who delivers news of a rising Sith threat.

Lando has been trying to find his kidnapped daughter without any luck, and now he and Luke try to aid Rey's parents and their precious daughter as they flee an assassin named Ochi of Bestoon (seen briefly in "The Rise of Skywalker") who's hunting down Rey and her family for a Sith cult called the Acolytes of the Beyond.

Their harrowing mission will take them to Exegol to discover this threatening new menace and to learn why Luke is still haunted by some unseen evil that calls the decayed world home.

Space.com chatted with Adam Christopher on why this collaboration between Luke and Lando works so well, what surprises fans can expect from the two galactic heroes joining forces, the joys of writing his first "Star Wars" novel, and why it’s so much fun to play in this famous space opera sandbox! 

Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith (Image credit: Del Rey Books)

Space.com: What was the genesis of this "Star Wars" tale and why do Luke and Lando make for a compelling pair?

Adam Christopher: The story really came from "The Rise of Skywalker," where Lando tells Rey that he and Luke arrived on Pasaana after chasing Ochi of Bestoon. That was the entire brief — go away and write that adventure! That scene in the movie had always intrigued me, and I wondered why Luke and Lando would team-up, as they seemed like an unlikely combo… and I got to write that story! Yes, I am still pinching myself.

Luke and Lando are a fascinating team, because while they're old friends, they're not necessarily best friends. So there's a little tension and conflict, but also that decades-old familiarity. They're really the classic odd couple, which made for a great experience writing them.

Rey's parents as seen briefly in "The Rise of Skywalker" (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Space.com: Why is this an interesting timeline to explore and what can readers expect as this rousing adventure unfolds?

Christopher: This huge middle period in the "Star Wars" saga, stretching between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens," is so unexplored that setting any story within it meant I could really explore some new ground. We’ve seen it a little bit in mostly the "Star Wars" comics and books, but being able to help craft this part of the timeline is a huge privilege. 

Assassin Ochi of Bestoon in "The Rise of Skywalker" (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

It's like archaeology, in a way — uncovering this period piece by piece, trying to figure out where everyone was and what they were doing, bridging the history of the GFFA [Galaxy Far, Far Away] between the original trilogy and what we know comes to pass in the sequel trilogy. For me, as a "Star Wars" fan, that's exciting, and I hope readers enjoy the journey I took.

Because of that story freedom, I looked at "Shadow of the Sith" as, essentially, Episode 6.5, and as a fan, I imagined what I would want to see out of that kind of story. So it's a big, epic, cinematic adventure. 

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker in "Return of the Jedi" (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Space.com: How did you discover Luke and Lando's core and what defines their characters?

Christopher: Luke and Lando are in very different places when we meet them at this point in their lives — Luke is the self-taught Jedi Master trying to rebuild the order from scratch, and Lando's life has been turned upside down by the kidnap of his daughter six years before. But it was because these two characters had gone down very different routes before coming back together that made them a great pair to write for, and it was those interactions between them that allowed me to understand not just who they were when we knew them back in the original trilogy, but how they became who we see in the sequel trilogy.

If I can sum up Luke at this point, it’s that he’s always aware — of who he is, of where he came from, of what his legacy is, of what his responsibilities are, and of the sheer scale of the power within him. So he's constantly making judgements about what he could do, and what he should do, and is trying to take the right path.

Lando is… Lando! But the tragedy of his daughter's kidnapping, and his failure to find her, has really sent him into a spiral. That's why his mission with Luke is so important, it's his means to get back onto the right path.

So if Luke is aware of himself, Lando is aware of others — and together this drives their mission to find Ochi before he finds the family.

The dashing Lando Calrissian in "The Rise of Skywalker" (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Space.com: In what ways has the "Star Wars Universe" affected your life and what keeps you returning to it?

Christopher: "Star Wars" was probably the first storytelling universe I can remember, and as a classic child of the ‘80s who grew up with it, I still find it amazing that I’m here now, able to tell my own stories of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! 

"Star Wars" means a lot because it IS a lot — "A New Hope" alone is a Western, a Samurai movie, a war movie, a heist, a swashbuckling adventure, a high fantasy, a space opera, a pulp adventure, a good story told well with real meaning. From that basis, you can tell any kind of story you want. And as a writer, there is no better creative canvas than that!

Del Rey Books' "Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith" arrives on June 28, 2022.

For more "Star Wars" offerings check out our guide to watching the Star Wars movies in order and complete list of the Star Wars movies, ranked best to worst

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Jeff Spry
Jeff Spry

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.