In the second of a series of guides to becoming an alpha geek, FHM leads you by the Lightsaber into the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  

What is it? 

Taking the characters, worlds and plotlines established in the original Star Wars trilogy and the three prequels, the Expanded Universe adds layer upon layer of new story via novels, comics, guide books, games and spin-off TV shows.   

Why would I want to get into it? 

“If you’re a fan of the films, it’s the perfect way to expand on and enjoy them even more,” says Mark Newbold of Jedi News, the UK’s number-one Star Wars fan-site. “Where else would you learn that Chewbacca had a wife, or that Luke Skywalker eventually turned to the dark side of the Force?”  

“It’s a thriving, ever-expanding story that covers thousands of years of history. If you only ever read Star Wars books and comics you’d have enough reading material to last literally years – and there’s more coming every week.” 

Darth offers a sunbathing Luke a lick of his Mr Freeze

Where should I start? 

“As an old-school fan from the ’70s,”says Mark, “I’d suggest the first three Han Solo books: Han Solo At Stars’ End, Han Solo’s Revenge and Han Solo And The Lost Legacy.” All three are collected in The Han Solo Adventures (two million copies sold and counting) for a piddling £5.99. 

“Modern fans would also recommend the Heir To The Empire trilogy,” Mark continues. Igniting mainstream interest in the Expanded Universe when it was published in 1991, the first Heir To The Empire novel takes place five years after the events of Return Of The Jedi. Han and Leia are married and expecting twins; Luke is about to become the first in a new line of Jedi Knights; and R2-D2 is still flying around space in X-Wings and bleeping incomprehensibly.   

What should I steer clear of?
“Some folks would advise steering clear of the original Marvel Comics series from the ’70s,” says Mark, “but I’d disagree with that: those comics were all we had for a long time, and are nostalgia-heavy for older fans.”

“As a lover of all things Star Wars, I’d say steer clear of The Star Wars Holiday Special, the November 1978 TV spin-off that featured a bemused Harrison Ford, sub-Doctor Who special effects, naff music, horny Wookies and Bea ‘Golden Girls’ Arthur singing a Star Wars version of [Hebrew folk song] Hava Nagila. George Lucas once said he’d like to hunt down every copy and burn it – if he ever does, I’ll be his wingman."