Book Review: Star Wars “Guardians of the Whills” an Enjoyable Read about Jedha before ROGUE ONE

Curious about Jedha and reading about a few of the characters from Rogue One? You’re in luck! A new book, Guardians of the Whills, focusses on Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus in the months leading up to the events in Rogue One.  Continue reading for our book review of Guardians of the Whills. Whether one is a parent or a child, this book makes for enjoyable reading for most ages. Children as young as 7 or 8 could probably read it, but certainly at least 9 or 10 year olds. And parents can easily read this along with their children and discuss it.

Guardians of the Whills

In Guardians of the Whills, coming out on Tuesday, May 2, we follow Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus mostly helping out friends of theirs who run an orphanage, along with a secondary story of their involvement with Saw Gerrera and his insurgency.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

A fallen X-wing fighter in the streets of Jedha behind Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One may have been one of Gerrera’s. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) ©Lucasfilm LFL

A couple of the great things about this book is that we learn more about Chirrut, Baze, and their relationship, which is great, as well as numerous aspects about Jedha in the months leading up to the events in Rogue One and its deterioration due to the increased Imperial presence. Written by Greg Rucka, this book does a nice job of providing insights into the situations of the characters and the world they inhabit, in the months leading up to a feature film. He did the same thing with Before the Awakening, in which he developed the stories of Finn, Rey (and Jakku), and Poe Dameron, in the days, weeks, and months leading up to The Force Awakens. Just as he did with Before the Awakening, Guardians of the Whills is written in a way that could be read by both a younger audience, as well as appreciated by adults.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

L to R: Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), photo by Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

The story regarding the friends of Chirrut and Baze running an orphanage is a primary one, as these two erstwhile guardians of the Whills attack Imperial shipments of goods and pass them along to the needy orphans. Through these attacks, Baze acquires his Morellian 35c repeating cannon we see in Rogue One (after his E-5 ceases functioning properly), which also catches the attention of Saw Gerrera and his insurgents, who arrive to Jedha. Gerrera’s men make an overture to Chirrut and Baze to help them out, since they know the place and people well, to which the latter assent.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Saw Gerrera’s insurgency causes increased Imperial involvement on Jedha before Rogue One. Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) ©2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the course of the book, we see these attacks growing, both in quantity, as well as size. However, this seems to backfire, as the Empire increases its presence on Jedha. In fact, the Empire had kept a Star Destroyer in orbit above Jedha, but, with the increasing amount of violence, the Empire moves its ship to be hovering over the city, as we see in Rogue One.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ©2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

On the morning that they do so, they increase Stormtrooper patrols and even send in some TIE fighters. In response to these TIE fighters flying over the city, we read of three of Gerrera’s X-wings engaging in aerial battle with them,* one of which crashed in the Holy City (which may explain why we see a crashed X-wing in the movie on Jedha). And the Imperial occupation only increased after that. Ultimately, however, Baze and Chirrut part ways with Gerrera and his operation (which would explain why they are not given a free pass or special treatment by Saw’s insurgents in Rogue One).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

A fallen X-wing fighter in the streets of Jedha behind Baze Malbus in Rogue One may have been one of Gerrera’s. Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), photo by Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

It is a pleasant read and provides readers with insights into what transpires on Jedha in the months leading up to Rogue One, as well as providing us with some enjoyable interactions between Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, as well as learning about the Empire’s takeover of Jedha and the insurgency of Saw Gerrera. Guardians of the Whills appears on bookshelves on Tuesday, May 2nd.

* It seems that this was half of the X-wings that Gerrera’s insurgents possessed, as the Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide informs us that “Saw maintains a small squadron of six X-wing fighters dubbed the Cavern Angels, which operates out of the caves near the Cadera catacombs” (86).

Cross-posted from Star Wars Maven. DISCLOSURE: A copy of this book was provided to the author for review purposes. For more family entertainment news and reviews, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Drew Kaplan