Ultimate Star Wars is a great book that will appeal of fans of all ages and interest levels. One of the authors, Ryder Windham, has worked on many great Star Wars books previously and does a great job compiling detailed information about the movies and their components. In his introduction, he begins with an interesting point: think of Ewoks, or Lobot, or the Slave I. These are never mentioned by name in the films, yet most casual fans are aware of them and know their names. That means they somehow absorbed that information from another source - perhaps the internet, a video game, a novel, an animated series, or maybe even an encyclopedia like this.
The book is organized by topics - the first half of the book is Characters and Creatures, and then the second half of the book covers things like Locations, Technology, and Vehicles. Appearing at various points throughout the encyclopedia are "Key Events" (the Duel on Mustafar, Training on Dagobah, etc.)
The book is full of detail... each major character gets a biography, important events which they were involved, and sometimes other tidbits of info such as their wardrobe, their weapons, etc. Important characters like Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi get a full 2-page spread, while smaller characters like Poggle the Lesser or Jek Porkins only get a fraction of a page. But its the inclusion of these small characters and creatures (who may only be on screen for a few seconds) that make the encyclopedia useful and comprehensive.
Each section also includes a "timeline" and a "behind the scenes". So for example, the section on vehicles will have a Vehicle Timeline that covers the major events in the saga involving ships and transports - the Boonta Eve podrace, the Battle of Yavin (which destroyed the Death Star), etc. Then there will be a behind the scenes page that shows an AT-AT miniature, an early TIE fighter and X-Wing concept sketch, etc.
For those wondering what canon is used for the encyclopedia, it seems to be the six Star Wars films as well as the Clone Wars and Rebels TV series. In looking through the book, I could not find any included subjects that were strictly EU and did not appear in the films/animated series.
I should also mention that the book includes a nice foreword by Anthony Daniels, who briefly discusses the complexity of the saga and admits that despite his involvement in the saga over 30 years even he doesn't know all the facts.
Overall, this is a highly-recommended product. The casual Star Wars fan will likely learn a lot; and even the most die-hard fans should learn something obscure that they did not know before.
Purchase book from Amazon.com
*Review republished with permission from MovieArtBook.com
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