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SDCC: Star Wars: Year By Year

Posted By Mike on July 26, 2010

Starwars.com provides a detailed report from the Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle panel at San Diego Comic-Con, which featured authors Ryder Windham, Daniel Wallace, Pablo Hidalgo and Gus Lopez:


"Windham was the first author brought onboard for this ambitious hardcover release. "Several years ago, I wrote Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide for DK Books," he recounted. "When I got the assignment for that book, I thought it was to be a history of Star Wars from a fictional point of view. I had done an outline for that. [Editor] Jonathan Rinzler at Lucas Books had suggested it could be a non-fiction history of Star Wars, and I had a small chapter of that in the back of the book, a timeline that was about four pages long. But Jonathan really wanted to see a non-fiction book of the phenomenon, and so I think it was about two years ago that I was notified by DK about this project."

Windham developed the outline for Year by Year and was soon joined by the other three authors. Windham was responsible for material from before the original Star Wars through 1983; Wallace, from 1984 through 1996; Hidalgo covered the Prequels and beyond from 1997 through to 2010, while Lopez filled in stories about merchandising and special promotions throughout the book. "We also all reviewed the entire book, and each other's section, so everyone contributed across the entire timeline," said Hidalgo.

Beyond the saga, Year by Year also includes milestones from the cast and crew of the saga, as well as ILM, Lucasfilm and LucasArts. "DK wanted to see not just Star Wars, but coincidental historical events to put everything into context," says Windham. "There's a lot of information about movies with actors who worked with Lucas, and you'll see aerospace information. You'll see how Star Wars fit into all these things."

While the book collects and presents in new light widely known information, it also uncovers some never before revealed facts -- key among them, it corrects important misconceptions regarding the timing of the early expanded universe. Think that Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc pit in 1984 because that's the date printed on the cover of Star Wars #81? Think again.

"Just so you know, comic book cover dates do not have any reflection on when the comics were released," says Windham. "The cover dates let retailers know when to remove the comic books from their shelves. Consequently, Star Wars #1 has a July [1977] cover date, but the first issue came out two months before the movie was released. DK Publishing had previously done a book called The Marvel Chronicle, and in his introduction to that book, Roy Thomas said that, basically, the [chronology within] was wrong, and the cover dates did not reflect the ship dates, but they had to do it because it was too difficult to track down the information."

Reasoning that 10 years of Marvel Comics information for the Star Wars book would be easier to track down than 75 years of information for Marvel Chronicle, Windham persisted on wanting to contain the original ship dates. "Thankfully, someone had collated these ship dates, and we were able to work from them."

A key challenge faced by Wallace was the lack of Star Wars developments during the so-called "Dark Times" between the trilogies. "That was really tough to fill out," he said. "Especially 1987, '88, '89. There was some stuff that was coming out: Star Tours, West End Games and the Ewoks on Ice Capades. Beyond that, there was nothing. And I had to fill out entire years. So I learned a lot about the George Lucas Super Live Adventure."

Hidalgo described his section as having no shortage of information, what with the Star Wars resurgence in the late 1990s. "The book goes all the way to 2010, and I was really scared watching that last spread change and change, because we knew were coming closer to the publication date," he said. "How weird would it be if this panel was actually in the book?"

Lopez had no shortage of collectibles to include mentions of in the book, but tracking down hard data about release dates proved a challenge. "A lot of the collectibles, we have meticulous records of everything that was made, but tracking down the release month was very difficult. When did the AT-AT toy came out from Kenner? No one really knew that, so we spent a lot of time researching the release dates of a lot of memorabilia. We had a lot of material that we had listed out, researched and shot photos of, but there's only so much you can fit in. But in general, all the real interesting, quirky and major iconic things got in there, which was good seen."'



Look for limited copies of Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle to be available at CV while the mass release is scheduled for August 16, 2010.

Visit the source article at SW.com for pictures from the SDCC panel.


Related Stories

August 4, 2010   Star Wars: Year By Year Launch Event In OH
July 24, 2010   Star Wars: Year By Year Launch Event
March 20, 2010   Star Wars: Year By Year Covers Revealed
November 4, 2009   Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle





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