Guardians of the Whills book cover art

Earlier this week, we learned that Jyn Erso’s backstory would be explored in a new YA novel. And today we have yet another bit of Rogue One prequel news. Lucasfilm has announced that Chirut Imwe and Baze Malbus (played by Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen respectively in the film) will be getting their own standalone prequel novel titled Guardians of the Whills. Learn more after the jump.

guardians of the whills book

The two standouts from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for me were Alan Tudyk‘s reprogramed imperial droid K-2SO and Donnie Yen‘s blind force sensitive believer Chirrut Îmwe. And one of the most disappointing aspects of the film for me was that we didn’t get much time to explore the city/planet of Jedha, which in concept is so rich. So I’m very happy to see that both Chirrut and Jedha will get further exploration in this new book.

Guardians of the Whills is set prior to the events of Rogue One and will deal with the arrival of Saw Gerrera (played Forest Whitaker in the film) on Jedha. The novel is written by Greg Rucka, who also wrote Star Wars: Shattered Empire and Star Wars: Before the Awakening. Here is the official plot synopsis:

Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple on Jedha and all those who worshipped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. When a man named Saw Gerrera arrives with grand plans to take down the Empire, it seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha. But will it come at too great a cost?

journal of the whills

The Guardians of the Whills is actually something created by George Lucas while he was developing Star Wars. The 1973 outline of the story that would eventually become Star Wars was titled “Journal of the Whills, Part I. That story followed a “Jedi-Bendu” named “Mace Windy” and his padawan “C.J. Thorpe.” The second draft of Star Wars: A New Hope was titled “Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars.” The film script begins with a quote:

“…And in the time of greatest despair there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as: THE SON OF THE SUNS.” Journal of the Whills, 3:127[src]

George Lucas conceived of the Journal of the Whills as a plot device for connecting the Star Wars galaxy to the real world. The idea was dropped but was mentioned in the novelization of the original film. The Journal of the Whills was made official canon by the novelization of The Force Awakens, which opens with a quotation from the journal. And now Rogue One gives the Whills a deeper meaning in new Star Wars canon. It is certainly interesting that the Whills will be explored in greater depth in this new book.

The 240-page middle school book will hit stores on May 2nd, 2017. Both Rebel Rising and Guardians of the Whills are available for pre-order now.

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