[Warning: Article contains spoilers for the novel Star Wars: Shadows of the Sith.] Treading in the landscape of the Star Wars sequel trilogy is a treacherous task. Among the three trilogies comprising the Skywalker Saga, it is now widely regarded as the worst. Notwithstanding, Disney remains all-in on the sequels, from Galaxy’s Edge at its resorts to a slew of books and comics. Thankfully for them, Shadows of the Sith hits it out of the park, and in the process makes The Rise of Skywalker infinitely better.

SHadows of the Sith; Ochi of Bestoon
We learn a whole lot more about Ochi of Bestoon in ‘Shadows of the Sith.’ (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Who was Ochi of Bestoon? What really happened with Rey’s parents? How did Luke and Lando team up to search for Exegol in the first place? The Rise of Skywalker (and the sequel trilogy, generally) left all of those questions unanswered. Shadows of the Sith, by Adam Christopher, answers them all, and then some. In doing so, the film saga’s finale suddenly comes into a much clearer focus. If nothing else, it makes us appreciate Lando Calrissian all the more.

Shadows of the Sith is the sequel story we needed

SHadows of the Sith; The Rise of Skywalker
Dathan and Miramir, Rey’s parents, in The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

No longer are Rey’s parents “nobodies” as director Rian Johnson would have had us believe in The Last Jedi. Her father Dathan is indeed a failed clone of his “father” Sheev Palpatine. He finds himself on the run from Ochi of Bestoon with his wife, Miramir, and their daughter, Rey. Their fate in the Force takes an unexpected turn thanks in most part to Lando. In Shadows of the Sith, Lando is desperate and heartbroken over his daughter’s disappearance. Overhearing Ochi in a bar by fate or chance propels him on a new mission: help this family at all costs. Lando’s pain is palpable. Unsuccessful in finding his own daughter, he’ll do whatever it take to make sure another child doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Of course he elicits the aid of his old friend, Luke Skywalker. Luke’s own efforts of researching the enigma of the Sith, Lando’s mission, and Rey’s journey all converge in spectacular fashion. Ghosts of the Sith haunt an Acolyte of the Beyond, turning her into a puppet hell bent on making her own way to Exegol. That leads to a spectacular showdown with Luke in a subplot as intriguing as the main story.

Lando Calrissian in a whole new light

Lando Calrissian; The Rise of Skywalker
How exactly did Lando end up on Passana? Read ‘Shadows of the Sith’ and find out. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Make no mistake: Lando Calrissian is the heart and soul of Shadows of the Sith. The anguish he experiences, over the loss of his own daughter and his ultimate failure to protect Rey’s parents, is truly moving. While we see shades of the suave smuggler, this story is about an older, more mature, and sadly broken man. It shows us so much more of Lando, and provides critical background for The Rise of Skywalker. You’ll see the film very differently when you watch it after reading Christopher’s sublime work with this novel.

It truly is a shame that we didn’t get any of this lead-up in the sequel trilogy itself. Had The Last Jedi even touched on some of the themes explored in Shadows of the Sith, I’ve no doubt the sequels would have been much more well received. Thankfully we have the novel now to help us enjoy at least The Rise of Skywalker, and Rey’s journey, a little bit more.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Sith from Del Rey Books is available now at book retailers everywhere.