Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary

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Produced in close collaboration with Lucasfilm and written by Star Wars insider Pablo Hidalgo, this 200-page book is packed with incredible detail. Pore over more than 600 images, five stunning original cross-section artworks and behind-the-scenes photography in this must-have companion.

Uncover the inner workings of the treadable and the secrets of Rey’s Jedi library. Discover the Sith fortress world of Exegol and the treasures of droidsmith Babu Frik. Examine the brutal weaponry of the Knights of Ren and the ingenious garb of the Orbak riders. Meet the most notorious criminals of Kijimi and the sociable Aki-Aki on Pasaana. Study the intricate reforging of Kylo Ren’s helmet and the menacing armor of the Sith troopers.

The Visual Dictionary for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brings impressive details and lore to the latest film in the galaxy far, far away but is it worth picking up? Check out my review to find out!

With the release of The Rise of Skywalker came the release of more supplemental material, including the Visual Dictionary. It’s one of the supplementary books I was looking forward to most, as they’ve been a constant source of incredible information for the new films.

Ostensibly, the Visual Dictionary serves as a guide through the various elements of the film, highlighting minor details or adding more context to some of the bigger stuff. With The Rise of Skywalker, they’ve also combined elements from the Incredible Cross-Sections (sometimes a separate book), which provides stunning illustrations of various vehicles and deep-dives into details.

All around the book is very well laid-out. The information is presented in an order that makes sense, making it easy to track to specific things you want to look up. This makes it ideal as a general reference book as you can easily locate things you want to find, but it still makes sense even if you read it cover-to-cover instead.

The images are crisp and clear, making it easier than ever to see the smaller details that are easy to miss during the film itself. Even better are looks at the various creatures, weapons, and props that are blink-and-you-miss-it in the film. For obsessive nerds like me, it’s a most valuable asset that’s both informative and fun.

As has been the case with all of the previous Visual Guides/Dictionaries, Pablo Hidalgo delivers a great all around book. Where it really shines, however, is how it offers up a surprising amount of depth on the larger aspects of the film. It’s not just the small details that make up this Visual Dictionary, instead, it gives fans some much needed context for certain events that happen in the film.

Curious about Kylo Ren’s council of First Order leaders? The VD explains who they are, where they came from, and why Kylo chose them. It also helps explain why General Hux, once the leader over the First Order’s greatest weapon, ends up answering to a new guy (Allegiant General Pryde). If you wanted to know how Mustafar (the planet that appears at the very beginning) transformed from the lava planet in Revenge of the Sith to having trees and everything, you can find it here.

Even things like how Rey learned to use the Force to heal people, and where Palpatine found the people to fill his armies and fly all those new ships are more fully explained in this book. That’s just the tip of the iceberg really, and there’s so much more contained within.

I saw the film before reading the book and then once again after. I have to say, the things I learned about from the Visual Dictionary helped me enjoy the film even more the second time. In some ways, that’s a bit frustrating that some pertinent information related to the film is only available in supplementary material...but that’s a discussion for another time. Even so, it’s easy to say that this reference book, even more than the ones for the other films, feels like essential reading for fans. Even more than that, there is a lot of potential within for some teasing of what could be coming to Star Wars down the road. Fans of the old Expanded Universe will be happy to see many of their fan favorites get a mention in some of the ancient Sith lore.

That said, one of the main (only) issues with the book is that it doesn’t have anything regarding Palpatine himself, or much from the final act of the film. I can understand why to some degree, and it’s not the fault of the author or publisher...but at that point, why not just wait to release it so it can truly be comprehensive. In the grand scheme of things it might seem like a minor thing, and I’m sure there will be an inevitable upgraded version (which I’ll happily throw money down for), it just feels like a glaring omission. Considering the depth the Visual Guide goes into on the film, leaving out such a big chunk of it just feels off.

Editor review

1 reviews

Essential Reading That's Still Incomplete
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Re-Useable Factor 
If you've enjoyed the previous Visual Dictionaries you'll love this one as well. It's filled to the brim with stunning details and some necessary information. Even with all it brings, it's missing some key aspects from the film. While it doesn't hold the reference book back from being worthwhile, it's a bit frustrating nonetheless.
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