Friday, 18 September 2015


Know your enemy! Catch up on the villains of the saga in ULTIMATE STAR WARS. Images: DK BOOKS.


Compiled by Ryder Windham, Daniel Wallace, Adam Bray and Patricia Carr


Foreword by Anthony Daniels

Reviewed by Scott Weller

Ever since George Lucas incredible six-film saga came to its then completion in 2005, we’ve had many books large and small with the words “Ultimate” boldly declared in front of them, and many of them ending up being “close but no cigar” in living up to that declaration. Now, DK, already the kings for all-things STAR WARS publishing, for all ages and worldwide tastes, have finally come the closest yet in that mission statement, with this bold and bright, genuinely epic compilation, ton-weighing book- 320 pages of absolute heaven for any fan, and surely the greatest reference for any potential STAR WARS archivist of the officially approved live-action and animated series history.

Heavy enough to rival J. W. Rinzler’s earlier “Making of” books, long–term WARS veterans Daniel Wallace, and Ryder Windham, with the additional support of Patricia Barr and Adam Bray, can be justly proud of their endeavours – surely a year or two in the making. And they’re getting paid to do something they love! How envious can we all be, eh?!

Standout character spreads for Luke, Leia and R2.

Likely initiated as part of a massive and vital canon re-organizational effort from LUCASFILM, controversially shunning the beloved Expanded Universe it had initiated twenty years earlier whilst also getting things ready for the next six new STAR WARS movies ahead (bringing their own unique continuity), all corners of the archives have been thoroughly, exhaustively delved for ULTIMATE STAR WARS (the behind the scenes emailing alone between the compilers and LUCASFILM on content and research likely to have have been the equivalent of twenty times the content of this book!), with each section on characters, creatures, locations, technology, and vehicles presented in pleasing chronological order and properly, often beautifully, showcased. As well as effective character key points and mini-timelines, particularly successful are some wonderful key spreads that evoke the grandeur and beauty of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, amidst some of the best printing for a DK STAR WARS book yet. A glorious tribute and celebration, of which a thousand-plus classic photographic images are well utilized. Keen photo fans should also watch out for the dozen or so rare or never before seen images additionally included.

As a welcome sideline from the fantasy, the book also has several brief spreads devoted to the vital behind the scenes aspects that would bring the saga and its incredible tapestry to celluloid and digital realisation. Plus a brief but witty foreword from STAR WARS most recognized international ambassador and protocol droid shell inhabitor, Anthony Daniels, reflecting on his often-surreal life in the fantasy juggernaut and its all-consuming aspects.

A class item from the get-go, what with its stylized B/W inside front and back covers and two stunning THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK photo cards, the complex politics, darkness and maneuverings of the Prequel Trilogy, to the gung-ho spirit and energy of the Classic Trilogy are firmly represented, as is the full integrating of THE CLONE WARS animated series (though sadly nothing from the Genndy Tartakovsky era), whose own set of characters and grand scale storytelling have proved just as important and popular as the live-action work, including important entries linked to its recently seen The Lost Missions episodes. Plus the new dawn of heroism and resistance with DISNEY’s first animated series in the universe, STAR WARS REBELS, also highlighted with its opening season, surely delighting the new and growing generational fan base it has rabidly inspired.

Disappointingly, though, there’s no real preview for THE FORCE AWAKENS, except for a few seen-them-all-before behind the scenes images. Would one exclusive sneak peek image inclusion really have spoilt anything?

A richly rewarding immersion into film and space fantasy legend, ULTIMATE STAR WARS is also a timely and necessary reminder of just how talented Lucas and his specially selected behind the scene teams were on the pioneering EPISODEs I-VI, how good the actors were at playing their roles, large or small, and, most importantly, a genuine indicator of how DISNEY really got this incredible and diverse cinematic franchise far cheaper than they should have!


Get hold of ULTIMATE STAR WARS here:

With thanks to DORLING KINDERSLEY UK for its continued help and support.

No comments: