DK has a long history with the Star Wars franchise and has continued to produce excellent companion books for the newest era of movies. With the release of The Last Jedi comes another set of books to go along with it, the Visual Dictionary and Incredible Cross Sections. These are the same kind of reference books they’ve made in the past for the other movies, so if you’ve picked up any of the others for Rogue One or The Force Awakens, you roughly know what you’re in for.
To be entirely honest, when I left the theater for The Last Jedi, the books I most wanted to dive into were these. Last Jedi is a very dense movie, with each scene packed with visual information. Even after a few viewings, it’s impossible to catch everything, especially when minor details only add to the lore without any explanation.
Curious about that mosaic symbol on the floor where Luke is teaching Rey? Want to know about those little trinkets Luke keeps in his hut that we only glimpse for a few seconds? Or maybe you want more details on Snoke’s massive ship, the Supremacy…All of this and so much more get some serious attention in these books.
The Visual Dictionary is once again written by Story Group head Pablo Hidalgo, and the amount of information it contains is vast. While it’s a little thinner than I was expecting, coming in at just 80 pages (the Rogue One Visual Dictionary was pretty hefty at 200 pages), it is still filled with interesting information.
The order it’s presented may seem a little strange at first, but it actually follows along with the film, and showcases things in the order in which they appear. So if you’re looking for something related to a specific part of the film, you can find it pretty quick. All the text is presented cleanly and orderly, making it easy to decipher what’s being discussed and the images used in the discussion.
This makes it ideal for reference purposes, meaning you don’t necessarily have to read it in sequential order. Of course if you do, the bigger picture becomes clear, and more extraneous details come into focus. For one, it starts off with a galactic map and talks about the impact Starkiller’s destruction of the Hosnian Prime system had on the grander scale.
It’s not something we hear about in the movie (which is focused solely on the characters and their journey), so it’s great to get some of that backdrop here. More than providing a little extra context on things, the Visual Dictionary fleshes out other aspects of the movie in interesting ways, with some fun (and teasing) connections. For instance, a little snippet of info reveals that Luke first planned to teach Leia to be a Jedi, but she declined, feeling she was needed elsewhere.
As I mentioned, The Last Jedi is loaded visually, with so much going on in the background that snags your attention and leaves you wanting more. For me, I love those little details, even if they have no bearing on the overall story being told, it’s fun to learn more about. Whether it’s details on Luke’s compass, the First Order Executioner’s laser ax, or even the Superlaser Siege Cannon used on Crait, there’s a ridiculous amount of information to discover (that’s not to mention all the background character names and details)!
There’s a great amount of insight offered up, all kept “in-universe” to the story, making it an ideal companion piece to the film. While it won’t answer all of your burning questions, it makes certain things much more clear, while being presented in a way that will keep you coming back for more.
Incredible Cross Sections
Where the Visual Dictionary is there to give you the breakdown on characters, props, and background stuff (and how they affect everything), the Incredible Cross Sections takes you into the heart (literally) of the new ships and technology.
Using a cutaway art style, you’re treated to a technical look behind the cool things you see on the screen. For me, this type of stuff is drool inducing as we not only get some sweet, technical Star Wars art, but we also get to learn more about the in-universe explanations on how they work.
The information often calls back to earlier Star Wars vehicle designs, with connections to other stories/characters from the comics, books, and TV show. This connective tissue really expands the Star Wars galaxy and is a treat for the fans who’ve been trying to keep up with every little thing. But even if you haven’t been staunchly consuming everything Star Wars, it’s still an incredibly informative book.
Far and Away, however, my favorite part has to be the massive fold-out of Snoke’s Supremacy. It’s the largest ship ever in the Star Wars galaxy, and the Incredible Cross Sections does it justice with a four page fold out spread. The book itself is already large, coming in at 14×11 inches, so when you expand that out over four pages, you pretty much have to set it down on the ground (or table) in order to see it all. Couple that with already great artwork, and it’s just awesome to see included.
In all, there’s a wealth of great technical details fun for both hardcore fans and youngsters alike. The amount of information is considerable, but it’s layout makes it easy to read and get through. DK has done a number of these Cross Sections books and that experience shows.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has opened up a bunch of new story possibilities in the galaxy far, far away and introduced a BUNCH of new concepts and characters. DK’s Visual Dictionary and Incredible Cross Sections serve as valuable companions to the movie, giving us a deeper look into the new tech, creatures, and lore we were given.
It’s clearly written/laid out and work great for reference material, while also making it easy for the kiddos to enjoy as well. All in all these are a lot of fun, and despite working off a familiar template, are still engaging. If you want to delve deeper into The Last Jedi without all the confusion, these are the books you’re looking for.