Star Wars Book Covers

Star Wars Book Covers
by CJ McDaniel // January 18  

The Star Wars book covers are of legendary stature, captivating enthusiasts with their splendid hues and striking visual imagery. They effectively transport readers to remote galaxies, tantalizing them with glimpses of monumental skirmishes and enigmatic protagonists. These covers fulfill their marketing purpose by alluring avid fans and new readers to plunge into the expansive Star Wars narrative.

The Star Wars book covers astutely and strategically augment the marketing prowess of the franchise. These covers wield formidable influence, enticing readers to explore voyages beyond the silver screen.

Star Wars Book Covers Over The Years

star wars book covers collection

Star Wars book covers possess an unmistakable visual charm, rendering them instantly conspicuous amid other books in the same genre. Proficient illustrators dedicate profound consideration and adeptness to every book cover they illustrate, yielding resplendent chromatic palettes and dynamic artworks that attract readers from all generations.

The covers have evolved with the saga, artfully capturing shifting trends in visual aesthetics, narrative currents, and societal undercurrents. From its origins to the contemporary canon, each era has bestowed a signature visible imprint upon these covers. These covers act as tangible thresholds, beckoning readers into the franchise’s immersive narratives while encapsulating the spirit of the eras in which they were released.

With a definite historical legacy, artistic mastery, and persuasive magnetism, it is unquestionable that Star Wars book covers reign supreme as veritable icons within the realm of literature. While over 300 Star Wars books are out there, here’s our curated collection of SOME of the most notable Star Wars book covers.

The Early Days (1976-1984)

1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (US paperback, First Edition)

star wars book covers 1976

The book cover of the first edition US paperback version of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, initially titled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, is a visual masterpiece that effortlessly captures the novel’s essence. Ralph McQuarrie was this issue’s cover artist, released in November 1976. Darth Vader towers over the backdrop of a cosmic expanse with Luke Skywalker and other characters with their lightsabers added just below his image. The sleek and commanding typography showcases the title in bold yellow letters, straightforwardly integrated into the composition.

This book cover, a visual symphony, presents a tantalizing glimpse into the galactic odyssey that awaits readers within its pages.

2. Star Wars: The Han Solo Adventures (US paperback)

The Star Wars books offer many stories and series set within one universe yet featuring different characters. For example, Han Solo and Chewbacca are the main protagonists from The Han Solo Adventures trilogy. The book covers make this apparent as they often stand side-by-side, each holding weapons. Elevating the artwork of each book are planets or other intergalactic elements, which served as backdrops for these covers based on each book’s setting.

Typographically speaking, the text has been designed in a sleek yet bold style, with the outline of the letters different from its fill color for added flair to the words. Furthermore, the typography beautifully complements the artwork for the maximum visual impact of this cover design.

The Legends Golden Age (1991-1999)

1. Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (US hardcover)

The US hardcover edition of “Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy” published by Bantam Spectra flaunts enchanting covers that whisk readers to a realm teeming with enigmatic intrigue and interstellar strife. These meticulously crafted masterpieces created by Tom Jung present more exuberant hues reminiscent of cinematic posters, adorning the pages with vibrant splendor. A kaleidoscope of glorious colors, from the rich blues of deep space to the intense reds and purples of energy bursts, adds depth and visual impact to the cover. Like most series within the Star Wars literary universe, the typography in this set is also consistent: the “Star Wars” title is resplendent in glistening letterforms, with the tails of each word stylishly elongated. Just below, the trilogy’s title lies poised, followed closely by the individual book’s title, maintaining harmonious typographical unity. This effective combination of vivid artwork, dynamic composition, and consistency makes this a compelling set of book covers for the genre.

2. Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (2014 printing)

Each book cover from the 2014 printing of the same trilogy showcased the same stunning artwork from the original edition, depicting moments from this epic saga while strategically introducing the key characters that play a considerable role in their respective story. Only a few changes were made to this reprint, noticeable in the colors, text, and format used. For example, a ribbon line graces the top of each cover (which wasn’t present in the first edition), following the same format across the books in the trilogy and other books in the Star Wars franchise. The book’s titles follow the text “Star Wars.” At the same time, the renowned author of this captivating continuation, Timothy Zahn, was rightfully signaled at the bottom. These book covers are as dynamic and vivid as most of the books in the Star Wars franchise, and the few changes made to this edition only elevate the marketing efforts for the books!

3. Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (2016 printing)

Rich Kelly’s incredible artwork graced the covers of Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy 2016 printing, delighting fans with breathtaking illustrations that brought this beloved saga to life in an all-new light. Kelly displayed his exceptional talent for capturing the essence of each character and the story’s immense scope, reigniting fans’ enthusiasm and excitement. There’s a yellow banner on top where the word “Legends” stays, with the titles beautifully displayed atop each cover and the legendary authorship of Timothy Zahn proudly acknowledged below. Del Rey’s announcement of these covers in August 2016 sent waves of excitement through fans, who quickly purchased these limited-edition editions as treasured tributes to Legends content – at that time, even rarer than it is today. Collectors will find it exciting to collect this edition since its covers connect seamlessly and form a breathtaking illustration. These new editions not only boosted the visual appeal of the trilogy but also served as tangible reminders of its everlasting power and magic.

4. Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (The Essential Legends Collection, 2021 printing)

The edition of 2021 – with its refreshing and modern design, reflected the spirit and the dominance of the much-beloved saga. This version featured artwork on the cover that reflected a contemporary outlook of the characters who played pivotal roles in the trilogy. Compared to the past editions, wherein the text was set at a higher position on the book, this edition places it at the top. The cover contains the titles, and the position of Timothy Zahn, the author, stood beneath it proudly. Gold inscribed ribbon containing the collection’s name separates this from the dynamic illustration. This version’s focus on minimalism appeals to the followers, and the classy style references the timelessness of the story of the Thrawn Trilogy.

Modern Legends (2000-2014)

1. Star Wars: The New Jedi Order

The book covers for the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series unveil a beguiling amalgamation of nuanced typographic elements, glorious hues, and mesmerizing illustrations that effortlessly thrill readers. With bold and refined typography, the text gracefully claims dominion over each cover’s upper and lower reaches while leaving ample space for the artistry to unfold in the center. Furthermore, the uppermost expanse of these covers has a sable backdrop elegantly bisected by slender, chromatic stripes. The meticulous and immersive illustrations breathe life into these novels’ interstellar odyssey, transporting readers to the boundless cosmos where the chronicles of the book’s timeline unfurl. The vibrant colors, too, imbue each cover with its distinctive character, symbolizing the cosmic motifs intertwined throughout the narrative.

2. Star Wars: The Dark Nest Trilogy (Paperback)

The talented Cliff Nielsen was the cover artist for the covers of the paperback edition of Star Wars: The Dark Nest Trilogy. With a color palette of greens, reds, and blues, the covers radiate an aura of enigmatic allure and palpable intensity, deftly capturing the essence of the trilogy’s shadowy and suspenseful narrative. Although following the same font as those from most of the novels in the Star Wars universe, the words “Star Wars” looked like they were carved on the cover for more emphasis. The rest of the text (the title, author, and subtitles) lies below, just enough to be seen and not overshadowing the rest of the elements in the cover. Of course, it’s impossible to ignore Nielsen’s masterful illustrations, painstakingly detailed and viscerally arresting, bestowing life upon the captivating cast of characters and foreboding creatures in the engrossing trilogy. This harmonious synthesis of evocative typographic elements, vivid color palettes, and achingly intricate illustrations makes this visualization nothing short of mesmerizing.

Early Canon (2014-2018)

1. Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy (Paperback)

The paperback renditions of “Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy” feature the artistry of Scott Biel (who worked on the cover art and design) and Christopher M. Zucker (who worked on the book design). The book covers unveil a visual opus teeming with captivating typographic arrangements, a kaleidoscope of evocative hues, and meticulously crafted illustrations, which are all similar across all books in one way or another. For example, the text still follows the same format across all books in the trilogy, placed diagonally and in sans serif font. The arresting and dynamic color palette seizes the eye, infusing the covers with an aura of intrigue that resonates profoundly with the series’ post-war chronicles. Instead of featuring pivotal characters, the covers also feature realistic-looking warships that are either damaged or destroyed.

Modern Canon (2019-Present)

1. Star Wars: Queen’s Series (US Hardcover)

The book covers of the Queen’s Series present a veritable visual banquet, showcasing the consummate skill of cover illustrator Tara Phillips and the artistic prowess of designer Leigh Zieske. Phillips’ artistry imbues the queenly protagonists with a lifelike presence, elegance, and royalty all at the same time. The typographic elements adorning these covers deserve applause for their seamless integration of aesthetic allure and optimal legibility through sleek sans-serif font. The text is placed on the top and bottom of the page, giving the queens’ portraits time to shine. There’s also a regal color palette imbuing the covers with grandeur and refinement. With Zieske’s masterful design, a visual symphony of typography, colors, and illustrations completes this splendid tapestry.

2. Star Wars: The High Republic (US Hardcover)

Joseph Meehan’s masterful artwork as the cover artist breathes life into the characters and cosmic landscapes for the High Republic series. Like most series in the Star Wars universe, this series features similar aspects across all books, like the choice of the typography, border, and placement of design elements. The words “Star Wars” still use the franchise’s signature font, while the title and author use a different sans serif font. The franchise and series’ names remain on top of the page, while the title and author name are on the bottom. There’s also a thin gold border adorning these covers, completing the look for this design.

An Insight About Star Wars

Star Wars has enraptured fans across the globe since the inception of the original film in 1977. Before its resounding success, Alan Dean Foster ghostwrote the inaugural Star Wars novel, “Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker,” bestowed upon the masses by Ballantine Books on November 12, 1976. However, the novel was credited to George Lucas.

The insatiable yearning for Star Wars literature soared after the film’s theatrical release, resulting in an extensive gamut of books that expounded upon and plumbed the intergalactic expanse. These literary opuses delved into the nuanced complexities of individual luminaries like Han Solo and Princess Leia while unearthing the enigmatic history and arcane lore of the Jedi and Sith.

The triumph of the Star Wars book franchise is a testament to its enduring appeal and the insatiable hunger of fans for more tales within this adored realm. Since its inception, Star Wars books have increased, boasting many novels, graphic novels, and reference tomes. Enthusiasts can plunge into many adventures that showcase treasured characters and delve into the expansive Star Wars universe. These literary creations have magnified the lore and allowed skilled authors to embroider their own distinctive narratives in this captivating saga. Through the evocative potency of the written word, the Star Wars books continue mesmerizing readers, beckoning them to traverse distant cosmic domains.

FAQs About Star Wars Book Covers

Q: Are Star Wars book covers capable of captivating experienced fans and franchise newcomers?
A: Star Wars book covers have the power to mesmerize readers from all backgrounds. Their captivating designs beckon readers from every background, sparking their curiosity and inspiring their passion, drawing in longtime fans and newcomers eager for galactic exploration. These collectible covers show glimpses of timeless adventures inviting anyone, in any era, on an incredible voyage through space.

Q: Do the book covers include film artwork?
A: Star Wars book covers often feature original artwork that pays homage to its cinematic source material and expanded galaxy. Accomplished illustrators create detailed interpretations of iconic moments, characters, locales, or iconic locations from film sagas or extended universes. Occasionally, stills or promotional photographs from cinematic productions may appear, further cementing the link between books and the larger cinematic tapestry.

Q: Do Star Wars book covers follow consistent themes or styles?
A: The cover artworks cover an impressive variety of styles and themes that change with every tale. They may feature battle scenes or character illustrations depicting adventure, heroism, and the eternal fight between luminescent and shadowed aspects of the Force. The artistic styles also range from realistic to stylized depictions reflecting its diverse splendor.

Q: Do the Star Wars book covers stay uniform across editions and releases?
A: Star Wars book covers can change significantly with each edition, publisher, and reissue; their versions differ in hardcovers, paperbacks, and collector’s editions as well as from each other, yet typically retain an essence of Star Wars cosmos to provide continuity for enthusiasts.

Q: Are any Star Wars book covers considered rare or collectible?
A: Absolutely! Many sought-after Star Wars book covers have achieved collector status over time, becoming tangible items coveted by Star Wars enthusiasts. These items might include limited editions, variant covers, or special editions featuring embellishments like glittering gilt or iridescence; retro or out-of-print covers often take on special significance among avid collectors of this franchise.


The Star Wars book covers stand as majestic tributes to the visionary craftsmanship and narrative prowess of the masterminds who grant life to the characters. With their visually enchanting designs and enthralling artwork, these covers serve as mighty gateways to the realm of boundless imagination and the extraordinary personas that dwell within the sprawling Star Wars Universe.

From the start to the newest additions, these book covers have played a significant role in captivating enthusiasts, shaping the collective consciousness, and engraving an indomitable legacy in pop culture. Every cover art summons forth the irresistible aura of imagination, encapsulating the quintessence of wondrous odysseys that unfurl betwixt the hallowed pages of these interstellar sagas.

Should you seek inspiration for your next cover design or yearn to explore more ideas, check out our Book Cover Ideas Blog!

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!