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New 'Star Wars' books will foreshadow 'The Force Awakens'

Study up on new adventures featuring Princess Leia, Han Solo and friends with 20 new books, hitting shelves before the December release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

New adventures with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo? Yes please! Lucasfilm

As any hardcore "Star Wars" fan knows, when we have to wait patiently for the next movie, we can always lose ourselves in a galaxy far, far away thanks to the thousands of books and comics in the Expanded Universe. It's in these books we're treated to characters not yet featured in "Star Wars" films and TV series, like red-headed female assassin Mara Jade and blue-skinned villain Grand Admiral Thrawn.

While we reported last year that Lucasfilm revealed that the upcoming "Star Wars" films "will not tell the same story told in post-'Return of the Jedi' Expanded Universe," it looks as though fans will be getting a large dose of new stories in the form of 20 new books for both adult and young adult audiences.

Disney Publishing Worldwide and Lucasfilm confirmed plans for the new books to Entertainment Weekly, saying the titles will foreshadow events in J.J. Abrams' upcoming movie.

"The partnership with the story group and the editorial team always had to be true to the sanctity of the film while making sure that we find these moments to introduce hints, clues and puzzle pieces," Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, told EW.com. "Without revealing what those pieces are, it will just allow readers to speculate about the new film: What could a location mean, or what could a character mean?"

While many of the books are still in the development stages, EW.com revealed a few of the titles including the book "Star Wars: Aftermath" from fantasy publisher Del Rey, as well as a novel series that retells events during the original trilogy -- "A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" -- from other characters' perspectives.

Marvel Comics are publishing a prequel called "Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens," as well as another comic from C-3PO's point of view.

C-3PO gets to tell his side of things in a new Marvel comic. But will he remember all that singing during Wookiee Life Day? Lucasfilm

Disney and Lucasfilm are also focusing on young adult (YA) readers with a series of novels that focus on the main characters from the original trilogy as "a way to introduce the heroes and villains of that original trilogy to a new audience that might not be as familiar as the audience that went and saw the films when they first came out," Sugerman told EW.

The "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" YA book series includes a Princess Leia adventure called "Moving Target" by award-winning YA author Cecil Castellucci; a Luke Skywalker novel called "The Weapon of a Jedi" by Jason Fry, author of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia"; a Han Solo story called "Smuggler's Run" by "Batwoman" comic book writer Greg Rucka; and "Lost Stars," a book by "Evernight" series author Claudia Gray.

The authors of the upcoming books were more than happy to share their excitement with their fans online.

"Guess I can go ahead and unveil my Star Wars Pinterest board now, huh?" Gray tweeted.

"Emerged from a school visit to discover my secret Star Wars Princess Leia book news is revealed! Am so excited!" Castellucci tweeted. "When I was in my band Nerdy Girl, I wrote a song about seeing Star Wars Ep IV for the first time," she added. "Enjoy!"

"Seriously, getting to write 'Smuggler's Run' and being a part of Star Wars in any way is beyond amazing to me," Rucka tweeted. "Thank you for the kind words."

"I'm fired up to share The Weapon of a Jedi with folks -- don't let the YA thing throw you, as it's a fun tale that I hope will engage you whether you're 8, 18 or 80," Fry revealed on his blog. "And writing it gave me a new appreciation of Luke as a character. I've always been more of a Han Solo guy, to be honest, but figuring out what made Luke tick turned out to be first challenging and then really satisfying."

We can't wait to see what hijinks our favorite characters will be getting into -- and it'll give us something to do until "The Force Awakens" opens on December 18.