Three main Star Wars comic series have been produced since Marvel began releasing comics set in the Star Wars Universe in 2015. Several other short-run series and miniseries have been released that generally focus on specific events or characters. Marvel has also released graphic novels of all of the new films, most of which include additional scenes. The reading order is not as important for these series, but there is still a chronology that can be followed and the books fall into four specific eras. The recommended reading list below is not perfect and may not be exhaustive — a number of one-shots have yet to be collected in graphic novel collections — but it is a good place to start. People who choose this reading order will not be disappointed.
The Old Republic Era (The Clone Wars and earlier)
This comic revisits Darth Maul before his big reveal in The Phantom Menace by exploring aspects of his anger and frustration at not being able to fight the Jedi openly. He briefly even flirts with the idea of becoming good and he also looks into the crime syndicates, which will be a major factor later in his development.
Steampunk in space? That is the theme of this adventure led by Obi-Wan Kenobi and his young Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, as they travel to the planet Carnelion IV to settle a dispute between two rival air powers. But Anakin begins to doubt his commitment to the Jedi after he is kidnapped by one of the factions and goes to war against the faction his master has joined. While not the best or most important miniseries released by Marvel, this is a visually spectacular story that will not disappoint.
This is a fairly straight-forward miniseries focusing on the Jedi Master Mace Windu (played by Samuel L. Jackson in the films) as he struggles with his conflicting roles of peacekeeper and army general. Again, this is not really a unique or even overly interesting story, but it does include a lot of action and deal with several moral quandaries that are never directly addressed in the films.
This two-volume graphic novel series focuses on little vignettes of various characters from the period of mostly the Clone Wars or just before. The first volume focuses on the good guys, including Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Padme Amidala, while Volume two includes Darth Maul, Jango Fett, Count Dooku, General Grievous, and several even shorter stories focused on Mace Windu, Asajj Ventress, and Jar Jar Binks. These volumes are a real mix of good and bad, with little of significance to the larger Star Wars story, but they do provide an excellent variety-show type of approach.
This is the last comic produced by Dark Horse Comics (afterwards re-released by Marvel) and also the only one from the pre-Disney days that is considered a part of the current Star Wars story because it was adapted from unaired episodes of The Clone Wars. It tells the story of Darth Maul after his defeat by Darth Sidious in season six of The Clone Wars and involves a good amount of mysticism in the guise of Mother Talzin, his Dathomiri witch mother. It is a great read for any fan of the television series and serves as a good setup for the Battle of Mandalore episodes from The Clone Wars season 7.
The Empire Era (Revenge of the Sith to one year after Return of the Jedi)
The two volumes of the Kanan story tie in heavily to the television show Star Wars: Rebels and focus on one of its key characters, Kanan Jarrus, who was originally the Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume. The miniseries focuses on his experiences during and after the collapse of the Jedi Order as depicted in Revenge of the Sith. It is told via a frame narrative set about three years before A New Hope, but chronologically it really belongs here, just after the Jedi Purge. It was one of Marvel's first series set in the Star Wars Universe, so it suffers from shortsightedness, but it is still interesting, especially for fans of Rebels.
So Darth Vader is evil, but that happened rather quickly. What transpired in the months immediately after his fall to the dark side? This series answers just that question. It begins with Vader receiving his helmet at the end of Revenge of the Sith and then progresses through Emperor Palpatine's dissatisfaction with him for losing his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi and becoming 'more machine now than human.' It then follows Vader through a number of important milestones. First, Vader must prove himself by building his red lightsaber. Then he goes on an adventure to hunt down the former Jedi librarian, Jocasta Nu. At the same time, he begins recruiting the Inquisitors who later appear frequently in Star Wars: Rebels. He then leads the Inquisitors on their first mission, to subdue the planet of Mon Cala, which ties into a later arc found in the main Star Wars comic series. Two short adventures follow before the series concludes with Vader's construction of his fortress on Mustafar, as depicted in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. By the end of these four volumes, readers will have a much better idea of who Vader is, why he is that way, and how he leads.
Lando was once the greatest smuggler in the galaxy, or so he claims in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but how did he become that? Probably through lying. In Double or Nothing, Lando heads out on a mission to free some people enslaved by the Empire. Well, he does it for the money but things conspire against his schemes and, like usual, he does things also because he's actually a good person. Usually. Just don't tell anybody. In any case, this is a fun, albeit insignificant, trip with Lando on the Millennium Falcon in the years just before Solo.
Solo: A Star Wars Story did a great job telling people why Han Solo joined the Empire, but it doesn't really explain what happened in the two years that he worked for them. This answers the question. In short, he was too cocky to succeed, but there's a lot more to the story than just that and this fun graphic novel investigates just why Han keeps getting himself into trouble.
Adapting an interesting novel written by Timothy Zahn, Thrawn tells the story of how Grand Admiral Thrawn first came into contact with the Empire and rose through its ranks in the years before A New Hope. It is fairly fast-paced, since it's an adaptation, and there is also a parallel story focusing on the origin of Governor Arihnda Pryce of Lothal. Both stories lead to plot elements found in Star Wars: Rebels, but watching the show is not necessary to appreciate this graphic novel. However, because this is an adaptation, readers may be more satisfied by reading Thrawn and its sequel, Alliances.
This graphic novel is a fairly straight-forward adaptation of the film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but it does include a few extra scenes and fleshes out a few more details that may be of interest to readers. Nonetheless, those really seeking more information would be better off reading the novelisation by Alexander Freed or the prequel novel Star Wars: Catalyst. On the plus side, this graphic novel does include the one-shot comic, Cassian & K-2SO, which explains how the two characters met and why K-2SO is so quirky.
Set immediately after Star Wars: A New Hope, Princess Leia explores Leia's troubled relationship with the survivors of Alderaan, her home planet that was destroyed by the Death Star. It follows Leia as she leads a campaign to find and reunite the scattered Alderaanean survivors across the galaxy while avoiding the notice of the Empire. It proves to be an important story to the overall Star Wars story as well since several characters in it will make appearances in later Leia-focused books and comics.
The Rebels are on the run from the Empire in the months after the Battle of Yavin and, to make matters worse, there is a spy within the Rebellion. Acting in secrecy, Leia sends Han Solo and Chewbacca on a special mission to retrieve three Rebels agents who may know the identity of the spy. But to retrieve these three people, Han must race in the Dragon Void, a deadly race through three dangerous systems. Will Han survive the race and retrieve these agents? Will Leia discover the spy within their midst?
After a mission goes awry, Chewbacca finds himself alone and trapped on an Imperial-occupied planet. But things could be worse. And of course they get worse when a squirrely girl asks Chewbacca for help and the loveable wookiee decides he must play the hero once again.
Long after Lando lost the Millennium Falcon and a few years before he became baron-administrator of Cloud City, Lando was just a smuggler down on his luck with his increasingly-cybernetic friend Lobot by his side. When the pair take a job to steal a ship from an imperial shipyard, they quickly realise that it's not just any ship and the Emperor wants it back. Follow the smuggler duo on this fun adventure and return to a time when Lobot still could speak and Lando was a bit more down on his luck.
In the days after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, the Empire has fallen into disarray. All of its leaders are fighting for control over the fleet while a secret protocol is activated by the death of Emperor Palpatine to punish the galaxy for failing its leader. Join Shara Bey, Poe Dameron's mother, as she helps subdue the Empire once and for all through several different missions on behalf of the rebellion.
The Resistance Era (One year after Return of the Jedi and onward)
The only regular series included in this list, the adventures of Poe Dameron span 31 issues released between 2016 and 2018. The story begins about a year before Star Wars: The Force Awakens and actually concludes a few days after the end of The Last Jedi. The overarching plot for the first four volumes is the continuing search for Lor San Tekka, who was killed by the First Order in the opening scene of The Force Awakens. Throughout these adventures, Poe encounters and is pursued by the First Order and its rogue agent Terex. The series features several appearances by the pilots of Black Squadron, including Temmin 'Snap' Wexley, Karé Kun, Oddy Muva, and Jessica Pava. Of course Poe's astromech droid, BB-8, is along for the entire ride. The fourth volume leads directly into the events of The Force Awakens, while the final volume rather unusually changes focus to the other pilots of Black Squadron during and after the events of The Last Jedi, explaining where they were during the film and hinting at how the Resistance will survive the defeats they have sustained from the destruction of the Resistance fleet. If you are a fan of the Sequel Trilogy, then the Poe Dameron graphic novels are essential reading.
Ever wonder how Captain Phasma got out of the garbage chute and off Starkiller base before it exploded in The Force Awakens? Well wonder no longer! This story tells of her adventures between that moment and her reappearance in The Last Jedi. Let's just say it was a very busy week for her.
There will doubtless be more adventures in the Star Wars Universe in the coming years, but this is a good starting place and even if everything ended right now, it would be a good collection of stories. Check out these stories and keep watching the library catalogue for new adventures in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.