“By adding this book to your collection, you will experience the full power of ALL sides. And that in itself makes this new edition the triumph it honestly deserves to be”
And it’s that time once again. The time I look forward to every year or two. The release of the updated ‘Ultimate Star Wars‘ book from DK Books. I’ve lost count exactly how many editions I actually own now but its quite a few. And as always, just as you think the book can’t get any better, the new edition comes out and proves me wrong. Lovingly written by Adam Bray, Cole Horton, Patricia Barr, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham and Matt Jones and featuring more detail and photographs than you could possibly imagine, the book is the crown jewel, the top of the pile encyclopedia for every Star Wars fan. Everything to do with the franchise is covered in this extraordinary volume, it is like the bible to the fans and rightly so. This new edition brings up to date with everything bar the new film, ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ for obvious reasons. The makers of the new film want to maintain a high level of secrecy and you really can’t blame them. Thankfully, the book does exactly that.
Ultimate Star Wars New Edition | By Adam Bray, Cole Horton, Tricia Barr, Ryder Windham, Daniel Wallace
The book, as always, is presented to the reader in an exterior hard case that is a joy to behold. This new edition features a fantastic picture of the legendary Darth Vader with his lightsaber crossing in front of him on the front and the spine of the case. On the back, we are presented with a hint of what the book inside will contain, Characters and creatures, locations, technology and vehicles. These we will discover upon extracting the weighty volume from its slipcase. Accompanying this, we have a quote from General Leia Organa taken from ‘The Last Jedi‘ printed on the bottom left corner of the back cover. As we extract the book from the case, we discover a photograph of Kylo Ren and Rey taking part in a lightsaber battle from ‘The Force Awakens‘. Beautifully presented to us in black and white with only the lightsabers affording us any colour, the photo brings the reader a sense of history.
At the bottom of the spine, we find a colour photo of Maz Kanata, looking away at something while adjusting her large glasses. The back cover gives us a black and white shot of the Millenium Falcon, again from ‘The Force Awakens‘ in all her glory. By now we are eager to open the pages for the joys that await us inside. As we open the book, we are presented with two exclusive prints inside an interior slipcover along with a photo of BB-8 to welcome us. As we turn the page, Rey confronts us with her lightsaber drawn in a classic battle stance. Turning over again and we find ourselves on Crait with the First Orders new Gorilla walkers stomping towards us with TIE fighters flying overhead in support.
We now turn over again and reach the contents page. Pages 10 to 171 are reserved for the characters and creatures we will find on the printed pages. Pages 172 to 249 are for the locations we have seen throughout the Star Wars universe. From page 250 through to 289, we will discover the technology in the films and pages 290 to 343 are dedicated to the vehicles we have come to know and love. On the opposite side of the contents, we are introduced to the book by Ryder Windham himself, informing us of why the book has been created and what we will find inside. Turning over, we are rewarded by a foreword by C-3PO himself, the masterful Anthony Daniels. Here, we will discover some of the actors’ innermost thoughts on playing the memorable character, his initial reluctance about taking on the role and about the saga in general. He praises the saga and pays tribute to the behind the scenes staff that brought ‘Goldenrod’ to life. Accompanying this is a nice photo of C-3PO himself being put together by the technicians behind the scenes. As we once again turn the page, we are given the Galactic Conflict timeline, starting with the crisis in the republic through to the battle of Crait. The pages take us on a journey through the films and the television animated shows in chronological order.
As we come across the characters and creatures section, we are greeted by a photograph of Luke Skywalker from ‘The Last Jedi‘ along with a description of what we will find across the upcoming pages. We start with an in-depth section on Obi-Wan Kenobi. General Kenobi stares at us with his ignited lightsaber as he welcomes us. Following him is Qui-Gon Jinn, standing in a battle stance, lightsaber ignited and ready for battle as we track his journey throughout his life. More full-page spreads will be encountered throughout the section, mainly about major characters seen in the Star Wars world but every character, no matter how big or pivotal their role is, is covered throughout the pages. We say hello to Gardulla The Hutt, Oppo Rancisis sits on his seat in the Jedi Council, Jango Fett aims his pistols at us as he soars above using his jetpack, The Reek, Nexu and The Acklay stand poised to tear us limb from limb and the tragic Duchess Satine Kryze appear amongst the vast collection of characters that we will encounter through this impressive section. Following each section is a brief behind the scenes page or two that the reader can marvel at before heading into the next part of the book.
We now come to the locations section. Greeting us as we arrive is a photo of Maz Kanata’s castle and another description of what we will see as we make our way through. The entire planet of Naboo is shown to us, both above and below the waters, the royal palace and Otoh Gunga are waiting to be discovered again. Tatooine is revealed in its entirety. Coruscant, that lovely but corrupted world comes into our universe again, from its Senate chambers through to the Jedi Temple. Even the dreaded Death Star with all its power and planet-destroying weaponry is given to the reader so we can see and dissect every aspect of it. Nothing is left out, here again, giving the reader and the hardcore fans everything they could ever wish for and to know.
Technology now rears its head. Greeting us as we come to the section is a Spider-Droid from the Clone Wars era, all-powerful and ready to fire its deadly lasers at either us or some enemy it has in its sights. As we turn over and away from it, we are immediately confronted by the battle droids. These deadly but comical mechanical machines are examined in minute detail, explaining their technical capabilities and their construction. As we move forward, we are granted a look at the equipment seen throughout the saga. The image caster from the prequel trilogy is presented to us, the E-5 Droid Blaster is discovered, Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber is given the once over, Anakin’s Mechno-Arm is examined, Han Solo’s dice are rolled for our perusal, Beckett’s Blasters are shown in their full glory. Everything from the films is shown here and is a sheer delight. Items we see on screen but for a bare few seconds are thrust into the light of day and finally given the credit and attention we deserve to give them. Every droid is afforded a place in this section and nothing is left tom our imagination anymore.
We come to my favourite section of them all. Don’t ask me why but for some reason, I completely adore the Vehicles part of the book. Maybe its because I love the designs and styles of ships we have encountered throughout the past 42 years in the universe. Maybe its because I fell in love with them upon seeing them for the first time on the cinema screen. I really don’t know but this is my kind of section. We are confronted by one of my favourites of all the Star Wars vehicles, The Tie Fighter and in particular, the original TIE and Darth Vader’s craft from the Death Star attack from ‘A New Hope‘, screaming along the trench in a vain attempt to stop Luke Skywalker from launching his proton torpedos and destroying the Empire’s greatest technological achievement. We move along and are shown the vehicles from ‘The Phantom Menace‘ to start with. The Trade Federation Battleship looms large on the page while the Republic Cruiser is featured directly above it. The Bongo from Otoh Gunga glides under the waves of Naboo. Darth Maul’s Sith Speeder races along the surface of Tatooine. And then we come across the famed, legendary and much loved Slave I. Jango and later Boba Fett’s ship silently awaits our arrival like a predator that has patiently waited for its prey. The ship and its history are presented to the reader across a two-page spread.
Every vehicle from every film and TV show is given to us to discover and absorb into our minds. Whether it be an All Terrain Recon Transport (AT-RT), a Hyena Bomber, The Malevolence, an OMS Devilfish or the Invisible Hand, they are all here for us to enjoy in all their glory. But then, as we turn over again, we are presented with the ship it seems all fans love. I adore her but nowhere near as much as my brother and nephew do. She appears to us in her original state and her battle-hardened version we have all come to know and love over the years. We are given the Millenium Falcon in all her splendour. And she looks wonderful. Her original design featured in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story‘ is given a small piece for us to enjoy before we arrive at the version we all know.
Across the two-page spread, she is afforded, we will marvel at her once more. Her history is given to us right up to her present-day ownership. In fact, we are told where Chewbacca took her for repairs after the battle of Crait. Maybe a slight hint of the story we will see on the screen this December? Who knows? All I shall say is, it will tie in nicely with the novels that have been released over the past few months or so. More ships appear before our eyes as we make our way through the section with two-page spreads awarded to the original TIE Fighter, The Ghost and Luke’s X-Wing Red Five before a final flurry of ships from the complete saga as our time spent with everything from the Star Wars universe comes to a close with the index pages and a final black and white photograph of R2-D2 and C-3PO as we close the book.
Wow! The book is worthy of every penny (credit?) of its asking price. The reader cannot ask for more than what is presented to them inside the books fantastic pages. The information and descriptions will blow the mind and will bring the reader even closer to the entire world of the Star Wars saga. There is NOTHING more that we could really ask for, apart from knowing what we are in for and will see in ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ but I have addressed that at the start of this review. What the reader will find as they turn the pages is a wealth of information and facts that will explain everything they have seen and will encounter throughout their journey through the saga. Be advised though, you cannot get through the entire book and its contents in one sitting. If you do, then you will almost certainly have skipped vital information or plot points that may be essential knowledge coming into the final movie in the Skywalker saga. And that would be a shame.
The entire Star Wars universe will undoubtedly throw us a few visual, spoken or sound stingers in the last movie so the viewer will need to be up on all their knowledge to obtain the full experience of the film or else they may miss out on what almost half the audience will probably laugh, sigh or smile at. By adding this book to your collection, you will experience the full power of ALL sides. And that in itself makes this new edition the triumph it honestly deserves to be.
Ultimate Star Wars New Edition by Adam Bray, Cole Horton, Tricia Barr, Ryder Windham, Daniel Wallace is published by DK Books and is available to buy NOW!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
Editors Note: A big thank you to our friends at DK Books for the sending over the advance review copy.