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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary

TFN Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo From DK

Posted by Adam on January 22, 2020 at 09:35 PM CST

As has been the case with all of the Star Wars movies released in the past couple of decades, the latest film has been accommpanied by a visual guide that provides a deep-dive into the plethora of characters, creatures, planets, ships and weapons, many of which have been seen for the very first time. And boy, does Pablo Hidalgo deliver in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary! Opening with a forward by Chris Terrio, co-writer of The Rise of Skywalker and an introduction that also includes a timeline that, unlike previous examples, references events in relation to the Starkiller Incident, namely the firing of the weapon that resulted in the destruction of the Hosnian system, with BSI and ASI representing before and after the incident, respectively. While all events are notable, among those that pertain to the The Rise of Skywalker are Leia ending her training on Ajan Kloss (which we will get to shortly) in 29 BSI and Luke beginning his investigation into Exegol 16 years later.

Broken into nine chapters, the first, "The Story So Far..." provides a recap of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, touching upon subjects including "Takodana", "Ahch-To", "Fall of Snoke" and "Battle of Crait". Chapter 2, "The Rise of Skywalker", begins with "A Galaxy at War", and also features sections covering "Ajan Kloss", "Rey", "Jedi Scripture", "Mustafar" and "Kylo Ren". "The First Order" is the focus of the third chapter, starting with Generals Hux and Pryde and closing with pages detailing both the "First Order High Command" and "Forces of the First Order", while the chapter also encompasses "Wayfinders", "Exegol" and "Knights of Ren", as well as the latter group's weapons and equipment. "The Resistance" follows, and features character profiles for "General Organa", "Finn", "Poe Dameron" and "Beaumont Kin", along with other sections looking at the paramilitary group's base, pilots, starfighters, commanders and droids, among other things. Chapters 5, 6 & 7 cover "Pasaana", "Kijimi" and "Kef Bir", respectively, detailing a variety of topics including the "Festival of the Ancestors", "Relics of a Sith Lord" and "Death Star Ruins", as well as pages dedicated to a number of the new characters introduced in the movie, such as "Zorii Bliss", "Babu Frik", "D-O" and "Jannah", as well as "Lando Calrissian", and a precursory section where he is referred to as "The Hermit". The penultimate chapter is the last one with an in-universe slant, focusing as it does on "The Final Battle", in particular "Sith Troopers" as well as those of the Jet-variety, "Sith Fleet Personnel", and from the other side, "Resistance Assault Force" and "The Unaffiliated", that brings with it a reunion with Sidon Ithano, aka the Crimson Corsair, from The Force Awakens. The final chapter takes the reader "Behind the Scenes" with sections on "Character Design", "Creatures and Droids", "On Set" and "Vehicles", that include concept art, graphic illustrations as well as cast and crew photographs.

Along with the extensive number of images that give the book its name, each entry includes a paragraph of text that provides background information on the subject, while many also feature a data file, detailing aspects such as homeworld and species for characters, manufacturer and model for vehicles and planet of construction and type for droids. There are also fact files for every chapter section, several two-page spreads showing stills from the The Rise of Skywalker along with a brief descriptive paragraph, and many of the characters and locations also feature a timeline that documents noted events pertinent to the subject.

One of the standout things that the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary does is to give Pablo Hildalgo the opportunity to go into greater detail than is possible in the movie itself, further enhancing the story, and expanding upon a number of things that were briefly touched-upon or hinted-at. Among those is the suggestion that Jannah may be Lando's abducted daughter as well as the confirmation of the relationship between Commander D'acy and A-wing pilot Wrobie Tyce. We further learn that the Resistance base was established on Ajan Kloss, and not Yavin IV, as many fans had surmised, and that the Corellian Corvette seen departing the planet was in fact the Tantive IV, first seen in A New Hope. Hardcore fans will enjoy references to The Hermit's old yacht "Lady Luck", which would have been a potential spoiler for anyone reading the book before seeing the film, Carib Diss' "Whistling bird" Mandalorian rocket gauntlet, and draw a conclusion as to Rothgar Deng's former identity, based on the character's description. While many would question the need to read ancillary material to answer questions raised in the movie, and while not ignoring the fact that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary does do that, it also goes so much further to expand upon what is already a fascinating story.

As an added bonus, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary includes five intricate cross-section artworks, showing the internal workings of the BTA-NR2 Y-wing, a Treadable, a First Order Treadspeeder, Rey's Pasaana Skimmer and Ochi's Bestoon Legacy.

The wealth of information in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary makes the book an essential read for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in the myth and fantasy of Episode IX, a movie that brings an end, not only to the sequel trilogy, but to the entire Skywalker saga. It's fair to say that one might delight in spending many hours devouring each and every snippet of detail in order to fully appreciate this book.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo is priced $24.99 in the U.S. and $31.99 in Canada.

As always, a big thanks to DK Canada, whose Star Wars books you can check out here. For all of your monthly roundup of Star Wars publishing news, commentary, and discussion on the latest releases in the realm of novels, comics, and magazines, don't forget to listen to Jedi Journals.

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