The Wildlife of Star Wars
by Terryl Whitlatch and Bob Carrau
Published by Chronicle Books
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This book is illustrated by Episode I designer Terryl Whitlatch and written by Bob Carrau. It is written as the journal of a zoologist from the Star Wars universe named Lyrre T'enna. She has gone from planet to planet studying the characteristics of many different species and reporting on them in this field guide. Many different drawings are made of the creatures, too.
Planets visited are Tatooine, Hoth, Dagobah, Yavin, Coruscant, Naboo, Endor, and Bespin. Detailed descriptions of behaviors of various animals are reported on such as Banthas, Dewbacks, Wampas, and more. Creatures covered are the ones seen in the movies, ones never included in the films, and some from the expanded universe.
I'm a big fan of Terryl Whitlatch's Episode I artwork, but I wasn't sure if an entire book could be successful with just her artwork alone. Fortunately, it could. Whitlatch has an incredible imagination and she has filled the Star Wars universe with a wide range of amazing creatures. They are beautiful, weird, terrifying, and cute. Many of the creatures you wish had been in the movies (or hope they will be in future ones).
Whitlatch and Carrau also take some of the creatures from the movies and greatly expand on them. For example, did you know that the Bantha has a long, elephant-trunk-like tongue? Did you know a Krayt dragon has 10 legs? That dewbacks can run incredibly fast when motivated? You also get to see what a womp rat looks like, what animals gungans get their horns from, and what animals were made extinct when Alderaan blew up. Highlights also include glimpses of the space slug below the rock, the Sarlaac below the sand, and more.
They don't stop with the films, either. They also include creatures from the TV movies and the novels, too. There's a drawing of a ysalamiri, creatures from the Ewok movies, hawk bats from Coruscant, and Dathomir witches with Rancors. It's a thorough glimpse of creatures from all levels of the Star Wars storyline.
Bits of humor are interspersed in the text, too. It talks about how some people mistake Ewoks for pets, how some pet creatures escape on Coruscant and start living there eating people, and exactly why being a nerf herder is unappealing.
Overall this book is a great addition to the collections of Star Wars fans and it is worth picking up.
I don't have much to complain about here. If I were to mention anything, it would be that most of the behaviors and characteristics of the animals are derived from Earth creatures. For example, wampas are described like gorillas, Opees Sea Killer males keep their young in their mouths like sea horses, and other creatures are direct derivatives of otters, frogs, dinosaurs, horses, etc. Beyond their appearance and their names, not many of the creatures have truly alien characteristics. Basing them in reality makes them more realistic, but I'd love to see other aspects of them that are truly alien.
Also, this book is very nice and worth the $40, but it would have been great for fans with thinner wallets to be able to afford a less expensive version.
There's a full description of how the Sarlaac digests its victims for hundreds of years.