Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia (2017) – Tricia Barr, Adam Bray and Cole Horton

Star Wars.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to visit six year old me, who had just had his life changed after seeing that film in late summer of ’77 and tell him that Star Wars would be with him for his entire life, and that he would see a time when there would be a new Star Wars film every year.

He wouldn’t have believed it. I’m not sure I do now. 

And to accompany those films there are countless tie-ins, toys, clothes, cereal, candy, and at this point countless books. Those books have a new title to welcome the fold. DK Books has unveiled its latest contribution to the wealth of Star Wars material out there, and like their other entries in this beloved franchise, The Visual Encyclopedia is a very handsome book that fits in nicely with the other beautiful coffee table books they have released.

An indepth pictorial compilation, the Encyclopedia looks at everything, everything!, that can be seen in all the canon film and television series. Names are revealed, cultures and planets are discovered and plotted, clothing is studied and species explained. 

Now, keep in mind, this is a visual dictionary, and while there is background text for each section, as well as a small descriptor for each item, vehicle, creature or personage the book is largely a collection of images. The beginning of the book, starting with a fantastic introduction from special effects wizard Dennis Muren is filled with primers about that galaxy far, far away. We get a look at galactic geography, and one of my favorite bits, one I get excited about seeing its continued expansion, is the timeline – it begins with the Trade Federation blockading Naboo and runs through films and television, tying the threads together all the way up to the rediscovery of Luke Skywalker.

There is nothing not examined at some point by this book, furniture, tattoos, classes of droid, land and space vehicles, helmets. 

Whether for the uber-fan, or cosplayers looking to perfect their costume, this book’s imagery is fairly comprehensive. The pages will delight younger fans, the images fairly leap from the pages. 

And for those of us with larger dreams, like design, whether architecture or clothes, whether for film and television or the real world, the book should be thought indispensable in terms of creating a visual through line that, despite the variety of cultures, weapons and inhabitants, creates a solid reality. A reality that calls those of us who are strong with the love of the Force back to it again and again.

My six year old me would be agog at the wonders that galaxy has brought me, and now with this picture filled tome, I can travel there again and again, reveling in the images that never cease to fire my imagination.

The Force is strong with DK Books, and with their new Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia. Check it out today!

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