Star Wars: Myths & Fables (Book)
Disney Publishing’s Myths & Fables takes a different approach to stories in the galaxy far, far away and the result is something unique and a ridiculous amount of fun. Come inside for my full review!
Since it’s announcement, Myths & Fables has been on my radar, namely for how different it was going to be. Instead of telling a single new Star Wars tale for readers to enjoy, the book is a collection of short stories, almost like a book of fairy tales. Moreso, the book itself is presented as something that exists WITHIN the Star Wars galaxy. This is similar to 2017’s The Legends of Luke Skywalker, but takes the idea a bit further.
What we’re reading here is a group of legends/stories that are passed down from generations and told to children by their parents. Many are presented as parables, stories aimed to teach specific lessons to the reader/listener, while others serve as tales of mythic heroes doing great deeds.
The book is comprised of nine stories, each coming with their own, stunning, illustration to kick things off. Each story is fairly short, comprising only a handful of pages (one or two are a smidgen longer) which, coupled with a fairly big font-size, makes them super quick to read through. At a glance, it’s easy to look at this and think it’s just something for kids to read. While it certainly works in that way, there’s more than enough to appeal to older fans as well.
Being that they’re so short, I don’t want to delve into the meat of each story. After all, what’s the fun in discovering them for yourself at that point? While a couple seem to intertwine with one another, the majority work independently. Some of the stories/characters should be instantly recognizable to fans, even though their names aren’t given. This gives us the chance to see how these characters are viewed by others in the galaxy as they’ve faded into myth. While some are revered as strange messiahs who appear out of nowhere to help when needed, others are a boogieman used to scare children into doing the right thing.
On top of featuring a wide range of characters and locations--including Batuu from Galaxy’s Edge--it also visits various periods of time. The book itself doesn’t seem to lock itself into any specific moment in time, though there are a number of inferences that allude to (at least parts of it) the narrator being sometime in the FAR future of the Star Wars galaxy...Which is just kinda damn cool to think about!
This aspect, combined with the shorter stories, makes Myths & Fables something I think many fans will find themselves coming back to time and again. Since many of the stories work separately, you don’t have to read it in any specific order. You can crack it open to any story you choose and still have instant entertainment.
For long time Star Wars fans, there are some intriguing Easter eggs and references sprinkled throughout that allude to things from some of the old Expanded Universe stuff. Considering the nature of the book itself, one might not be able to read into too much, but they certainly raise some interesting possibilities.
In some ways, Myths & Fables greatest strength is the potential it holds for future stories...even if they only exist in your mind. The book embodies the idea of Star Wars as mythology, in the most literal way possible. Like all good fairy tales, these stories do more to unlock your own imagination and get you thinking about things far beyond the boundaries of words on the paper.
While they’re short, George Mann’s writing style and the stunning illustrations from Grant Griffin encourage you to fill in some of the blanks on your own. By the end of each story, I found myself thinking about not only what would come next for the characters, but also about the “real” story that inspired the myth I’d read. I felt my imagination have the chance to run wild with these tales, and if that’s not the essence of Star Wars, I don’t know what is.
The concise, but effective, writing style lends itself to the fairy tale aesthetic that immediately engages your imagination. Coupled with the impressive illustrations and poignant lessons in the story, and there’s a lot for fans to love.