Tuesday, 26 April 2016


The saga continues! Updated, expanded and out now: the STAR WARS CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA. Images: DK BOOKS.

In the widening history of STAR WARS, one thing is clear: no character has too large or too small a role to play in adding to the overall believability and detail of its incredible fantasy universe. From iconic heroes, or indeed iconic villains, to droids, aliens, and other bizarre non humanoid creatures, all that are presented prove fascinating to see and experience within the seven (so far) filmic adventures- a literal roll call of the thousands that make it pretty much transcend all other sci-fi and fantasy franchises in movie history.

Back in 2011, veteran STAR WARS scribe Simon Beecroft and DK BOOKS gamely began work charting the best, the brightest, the most popular and the rising stars of the saga with their handy-sized, full colour, attractively designed CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA. Since then, however, a lot - really, a lot! - has happened! Now, with the release on Blu-ray and DVD this month of THE FORCE AWAKENS, that special book gets the bright and shiny revision it deserves- still in the same welcome-all-ages, accessible format as before (full page profiles with data files, character and costume notes, plus classic scene imagery), but now blessed with an extended page count charting great new heroes for an exciting new age: orphan scavenger now Force awakened Jedi heroine, Rey, kind hearted and heroic First Order escapee FN-2187 (or "Finn"), daring and cocky Resistance pilot/leader Poe Dameron, the lovable one-of-a-kind ball that is droid BB-8, the vicious and patricide bringing Kylo Ren, and his First Order partners in the sneery General Hux and the shinily brutal Captain Phasma, as well as supporting characters of upcoming importance, like the enigmatic and mysterious alien bartender Maz Kanata. Intriguingly, and surely deliberately, only the shadowy and twisted Supreme Leader Snoke (pretty much kept a secret from all the other DK books so far linked to TFA), remains noticeably absent.

Our Classic Trilogy "legacy" heroes importantly crossing paths with these super newcomers (notably Han, Leia and Chewbacca) also receive fully warranted and updated profiles (though with the exception of the mythical Jedi "New Hope" Luke Skywalker- as with Snoke, his role and final visual appearance also having kept secret by the filmmakers, especially with his acting as the primary "Macguffin" for TFA). Other saga-crossing support stars getting a similar treatment include former Rebels now resisting Admiral ("It's a trap!") Ackbar and fighter pilot Nien Nunb. And let's not forget the wealth of supporting EPISODE VII characters bringing further freshness and interest, whose selections in this new compilation are even better than expected, especially character roles whose importance were sadly reduced during the film's final cut, like General Leia Organa's youthful aide killed on Hosnian Prime, Korr Sella, and other welcome shout outs: Wookiee liking Doctor Kalonia, crimson pirate Captain Ithano, and the Jakku desert world's only real law and order in Constable Zuvio, plus several others who can also be seen in exclusive deleted scenes on the Blu-ray.

Giving the book additional authorized weight as a worthy purchase, Beecroft is assisted by long-time STAR WARS continuity veteran Pablo Hidalgo, now such a vital part of the series storytelling team for both Lucasfilm and Disney, and whose fact-packed, treasure trove mind brings further depth and interest to the new sequels well-grounded storytelling foundations.

AFICIONADO RATING: Capturing the tone and spirit of this audience/fan pleasing new phase for the saga and its characters, yet carefully keeping all of the prior greatness of the George Lucas created universe intact in deserved symbiosis, DK BOOKS sterling work in entertaining and delighting STAR WARS fans continues with enthusiasm and distinction. Its going to be very interesting to see how the encyclopedia adapts and encapsulates the upcoming ROGUE ONE and EPISODE VIII during the next two years. 4 out of 5.

Get hold of it here: Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Updated Edition: DK: 9780241232217: Books

Pablo Hidalgo Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Interview |

With thanks to DK BOOKS for their continued help.

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