Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Update and Expanded from DK Books is a pretty nice collection of character profiles perfect for fans who are just beginning to build up their Star Wars library. The 224 page hardcover book is filled with pictures and details on over 218 characters, droids, aliens and creatures. It’s a high quality bind-up with very nice production quality. Plus it’s written by Pablo Hidalgo and earns the stamp of canon material. With characters from all seven films and both television shows, it covers a little bit of everything.
The layout of the book dedicates a page to each character. There’s a prominent shot of the character located in the center of each page surrounded by statistics and supplemental pictures. Each character gets a datafile which lists affiliation, homeworld, species, height, appearances and additional characters to reference. However not every character in the book is a named character. Some of the entries are for character types like First Order TIE Pilot or Kajikulb Gang. There are also entries for species like the Gamorrean Guard, droids like the FX-Series, and creatures like the Dewback. There’s a handy index in the beginning of the book that lists all the entries by name with their corresponding page number which makes it easy to find who you’re looking for. At the end of the book is another index that goes even further by grouping the entries together by category. Thus you can quickly find all the Ewoks included in the book or every page that Obi-Wan Kenobi is mentioned on. It even goes as far as to group all the affiliations togethers so you can find every entry for the First Order, Rebel Alliance, etc. With the two indexes combined, the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia earns high marks for its usefulness as a reference book.
As for the content, the book focuses mainly on very brief summary info. Unlike the old Essential Character Guides from Del Rey, there are no detailed character histories. Instead, there are snippets that give you an idea of who the character is and some of the things they’ve done. It makes for very brief reading and it’s not ideal if you’re trying to research a character. On the other hand, if you’re somewhat new to Star Wars, it’s a great entry point to check out all the characters from the saga. It covers the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it only includes characters who appeared in the films. Any characters who have thus far only appeared in animation don’t show up, so there’s no entry for Ahsoka but Darth Vader does get a credit for being in Rebels.
In addition to all of that, new readers should be aware that there are spoilers for character deaths in the book. If a character has died in the films or the two animated shows, the entries will detail that. So if you haven’t watch all the films and shows, you could run into an unexpected revelation. For long time readers of Star Wars, there’s a couple interesting surprises in the book when it comes to canon. For instance Lando Calrissian’s homeworld is now listed as unknown when it used to be Socorro. It’s kind of sad seeing the lore slip away into Legends as The Black Sands of Socorro was one of my favorite books from the old West End Games material. Alas, that’s the state of things and the result is that most of the current guide books are very light on info since most of the real lore has all be shifted off into Legends and no one is eager to pull to much of it out yet. That means long time readers won’t find too much in the way of new info other than seeing old info left out.
A side perk of this book that many might overlook is the great character pictures. There’s a lot of nice shots of the characters from the films or character stills. This makes the book a handy resource for those looking to craft character costumes or those needing a visual reference for their fan art. In that regard, the book would be really useful and I’d highly recommend it.
In the end, it all depends on what kind of book you’re looking for and whether the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded will fill your needs. As a quick reference book with general info, it’s not bad and as a visual resource, it’s very useful. The price point for the book is very reasonable and it’s a well put together, high quality hardcover. Thus I give it a four out of five metal bikinis.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
Note: Images from Star Wars™ Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded. © and ™ 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd.