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TFN Review: Ultimate Star Wars From DK

Posted by Adam on May 22, 2015 at 03:13 PM CST

Ultimate Star Wars isn't the first Star Wars encyclopedia to be released, and with new episodes in the Star Wars saga on the horizon, it's impossible to imagine it being the last. But when it comes to compiling a (near-exhaustive) compendium of Star Wars facts and knowledge of the galaxy, far, far, away, at this point in time, authors Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace and Ryder Windham have done a remarkable job, and it's hard to dispute the book's testament as being the current go-to reference guide, whether you are wanting to learn about the classic or prequel trilogies, The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels.

With a foreward by C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, and an introduction by Ryder Windham opening the book, the core of Ultimate Star Wars is separated into four main sections, Characters and Creatures, which is unsurprisingly the largest, locations, technology and vehicles. Following a brief introduction, each section is bookended by a timeline that runs chronogically from Episodes I through VI, and a corresponding two-page behind-the-scenes spread that features concept art, production stills and other images from the making of the movies.

The sections themselves are divided into their main entries, typically spread across two-pages, and filled-out with the further countless elements, with all making reference to their appearances, and either species, homeworld and affiliation in the case of characters and creatures, region, sector, system and primary terrain for location, and manufacturer, model and type for both technology and vehicles.

Sheev Palpatine, Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger are among the high-profile characters included within the first section with each of these featuring individual timelines that span one or more of Crisis in the Republic, The Clone Wars and The Empire Era. The remaining entries range from the familiar podracers, members of the Jedi Council, Rebels, Imperials, Kaadu and Tauntauns, through to the lesser-known Senator Tikkes, Passel Argente, Narglatch and TT-L8/Y7. Locations include planets such as Ord Mantell, Abafar and Kessel as well as settings like Kachirho on Kashyyyk, The Citadel on Lola Sayu and Echo Base on Hoth. Technology covers a wide variety of devices and instruments like the imagecaster and Jedi Holocron, droids of the Pit and Buzz variety, armor such as that worn by Stormtroopers and weapons that run the gamut from the somewhat primitive vibro-ax and slingshot, to the more advanced lightsabers, blasters and turbolasers. Similarly, the craft featured in the vehicles' section span all manner of purposes, sizes and configurations, encompassing starfighters, freighters, walkers, speeders and shuttles, with Slave I, Millennium Falcon and Ghost being the main entries in the section.

Studded throughout all four sections are appropriate key events, with each providing a short synopsis and the circumstances that lead up to it, "Ahsoka Walks Away", "Rescue on Hoth" and "Duel on Mustafar" being among the major incidents that are documented.

While not an exhaustive list, there are seemingly no glaring omissions from Ultimate Star Wars, though I would not be surprised in the slightest to hear that there were disagreements between the authors as to who or what ultimately made the cut. Regardless, with new information continually being released and revealed through a variety of different channels, it's probably fair to say that there are few Star Wars fans who would find nothing of interest in Ultimate Star Wars, and even when covering old ground, it's always refreshing to get a different perspective.

Ultimate Star Wars is out now and available online and from all good bookstores, priced $44.00 CAD and $40.00 USD.

As always, a big thanks to DK Canada, whose Star Wars Boutique you can visit here, and don't forget to listen to Jedi Journals for your monthly roundup of Star Wars publishing news, commentary, and discussion on the latest releases in the realm of novels, comics, and magazines. Also, be sure to check out TFN interviews with Ultimate Star Wars' co-authors Tricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace and Ryder Windham.

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