Ultimate Star Wars

DK Books’ Ultimate Star Wars is a rather interesting book. This isn’t just an updated ultimate visual guide to Star Wars. Instead, this is like five essential guides all rolled up into one. There’s a section covering characters and creatures, a section for locations, a section for technology, and a section for vehicles. There are also timelines, and in general, the whole book is sorted in chronological order. So if you’re looking for a character whose name you don’t know, you can quickly flip to where they appeared in the films/tv shows. Yet the real objective of this book is a bit more bold than that. With the division between Legends and canon, this is the first guide to gather everything that is canon under one cover. In a way, it’s the essential guide for the new era.

At 319 pages, Ultimate Star Wars covers a lot of material. For fans new to the franchise or not that steeped in the material, this will be a book that will help you dig deeper into the galaxy far, far away regardless of your age. Each section starts off with a timeline to help you sort through the material. There are lots of pictures to help you identify the element you’re looking for. And buried within all those pages is a lot of detail pulled from the canon material. Keep in mind that everything in this book counts. It’s all canon. However, for some fans, the lack of expanded universe material may be a drawback.

As a long time Star Wars reader and a big fan of the EU, one thing I noticed when reading this book was how limited the knowledge was of the various characters. Quite simply, it’s because the only things we know now are from the movies and the television shows. As of yet, we only have a handful of canon comic and books to draw upon for extra material. As Dan Wallace said, we have to unlearn what we have learned. The EU was a massive wealth of obscure, humorous and detailed background information, but now that it’s all Legends, we have to be aware of what is actually canon. In that regard, Ultimate Star Wars is a very valuable resource as it can remind us of exactly that. What is Jango Fett’s official backstory? Is Mace Windu still from Haruun Kal? Who is Darth Maul’s mom? All of those questions and more are answered in this book, definitively.

Reading through the early parts of the book, I did find myself going over a lot of stuff I already knew. With the big characters, and with the book sticking to canon, there’s not much for well versed readers to learn. However, I did keep finding things as I went along. For instance, I didn’t realize that the Gungans have two subspecies, the Otolla Gungans (Jar Jar) and the Ankura Gungans (Boss Nass). I didn’t know that Ben Quadinaros went on to become Sebulba’s greatest rival, or that Gasgano came in second place in the big podrace in The Phantom Menace. I learned that the name of the Tusken Raider who attacked Luke in A New Hope is named URoRRuR’R’R (which is hilarious). Another thing I didn’t know is that Yarael Poof, the extremely long necked Jedi Master on the council, had two brains and an extra set of arms (which are hidden under his robes). A few cool things to see set in stone was that Lando is still from Socorro, the Sandtrooper’s pauldron ranking is laid out, and Obi-Wan really is from a planet called Stewjon.

There are some errors in the book, though. Even Piell is accidentally listed as a Zabrak from Nar Shaddaa, the clone trooper’s affiliation is Separatists, and Savage Opress species is Dathomirian. Still, with a book this size, there are going to be some errors, and there really aren’t that many. What’s more interesting are the things that are left unstated. For example, the book does not say that Boba Fett died in the sarlacc. Perhaps a hint that we may be seeing the armored bounty hunter once again?

Overall, the book is pretty neat and definitely serves a purpose no matter how knowledgeable of a Star Wars fan you are. While the timelines aren’t going to be very useful for those steeped in the universe, and the character entries might be hit and miss, you will finds things of interest. Personally, I really enjoyed the obscure characters from the Prequels, like the podracers. I got a lot out of the Star Wars Rebels characters as there were things there I didn’t know or hadn’t put together. There were a lot of fun things for the Original Trilogy characters, and the locations, technology and ship sections are all very cool. Whether it’s a close-up shot of a lightsaber hilt or new stats for a starship, there is something to catch your attention. For the ship nuts out there, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer is now 1,600 meters with 72 TIE fighters, 8 Lambda-class Imperial shuttles, 20 AT-ATs, 30 AT-STs or AT-DPs, 15 Imperial troop transports, 60 Taim & Bak XX-9 heavy turbolaser batteries, 60 Borstel NK-7 ion cannons, a contingent of 9,700 stormtroopers and crew of 27,850 enlisted officers and 9,235 officers. So yeah, they don’t skimp on the stats, however, they do dodge them on the Super Star Destroyer so we’ll still have to guess on how big that thing really is.

In comparison to all of the guide books that have come before it, Ultimate Star Wars has a rich field of competition. Visually, it’s hard to beat the Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary as the layout of that book puts all the cool visual elements right next to each other for easy reference. However, it does combine everything into one book, which is very handy. Need to look up a blaster? The name of an Ewok? Or do you need to know what sector Cato Neimodia is in? Now you can get all those answers in one book without pulling up Wookieepedia and wondering if this is canon or Legends. In the end, that is the big draw of the book. This is the first guide to canon. Our knowledge is now limited to the first six films, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and a small but growing handful of books and comics. At the kickoff point, this is a good book to get everyone started on the same page. As such, I give Ultimate Star Wars a four out of five metal bikinis. While not perfect, it still provides a lot of fun and useful content for Star Wars fans of all types.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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