Released the same day as the Rogue One blu-ray and DVD, Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia collects a cornucopia of objects from the Star Wars universe and presents them in a way that differs to the previously-released visual guides and dictionaries. Written by Tricia Barr, Adam Bray and Cole Horton, the nearly 200 pages of entries are grouped together based on subject matter as opposed to being organized in alphabetical order, under the headings of Geography, Nature, History, Culture and Science & Technology.
The book begins with a foreword by Dennis Muren, followed by the Geography segment, that opens with a map of the galaxy, and then proceeds to look at the physical geography of planets, including vegetation and extreme geology, as well as urban geography, covering cities, villages and industries, along with the architecture of buildings constructed across the galaxy. Planets such as Scarif, Teth and Hosnian Prime, the swamp marshes of Dagobah, the ice plains of Hoth and the lava fields of Mustafar are among the locations featured in this section, along with cities on Lothal, Jedha and Kamino, as well as homes and palaces throughout the galaxy.
Nature encompasses creatures of the aquatic, aerial and space varieties, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, adaptive sentients, as well as those from both wet and dry habitats, and also a two-page spread on plants. One entry of note under aquatic creatures are the different species of Scalefish, comprising Ray, Mee, Faa, Laa, Tee & See, while the two-page spread on plants contains undoubtedly the most detail on flora in the Star Wars universe that has ever been committed to print!
The History section begins with a timeline and then covers political groups, military factions, the Jedi and the Sith, as well as Criminal Organizations and professions. Starting with the Crisis on Naboo and running through to Rey finding Luke on Ahch-To, the timeline features key moments from the Star Wars saga, taking events from the movies as well as The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Much of this section focuses on the key players and background characters throughout the course of history, be they members of the Senate, the Jedi, the Empire, the Resistance or criminal organizations like Black Sun and Kanjiklub.
Clothing, musical instruments, food and every day objects are among the items that fall under the remit of Culture, along with art, ethnography and languages of the galaxy. Along with a wide selection of Queen Amidala's gowns seen in The Phantom Menace, there are also two-page spreads for both fresh and processed food, luggage and furniture, all of which receive a level of attention that has rarely been seen before.
The last and largest category is devoted to Science & Technology, with droids, weapons and vehicles of varying types comprising the lion's share of the topic. One of the highlights of this particular section are blasters, which are broken down by The Good, The Bad and Rifles, while lightsabers are also divided into the conventional and unorthodox. Vehicles ranging from Warships, Starfighters, walkers and tanks close out the topic with the TX-225 "Occupier" combat assault tank from Rogue One being the final entry.
Unlike earlier illustrated guides, the Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia does not feature any full-page images, instead cramming a multitude of smaller images within each topic and streamlining text to allow for a greater number of individual entries.
As with recent books, the Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia references both the movies and TV, and features live action and animation images throughout. While there is much that has been seen before in other visual guides and dictionaries, the authors have done an exceptional job of enhancing previous content while also adding areas that have typically been overlooked in the past. For that reason alone, the Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia justifies its purchase price.
The Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia is available now online and from all good bookstores, priced $30.00 in the U.S. and $37.00 in Canada.
As always, a big thanks to DK Canada, whose Star Wars books you can check out at 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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