Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
With a full history of the galactic politics, the Jedi Council, and the Empire, Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia walks fans through the entire timeline of Star Wars. See the blasters of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, look at the stormtroopers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and study the geography of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Each section of the book focuses on different topics to dedicate special attention and detail to every part of the universe, no matter how small. From the planets in the outer rim to Padmé's bridal wear, nothing is missed.
Along with the launch of Rogue One on blu-ray, DK is releasing an all new expanded Visual Encyclopedia that offers fans a more in depth look at the Star Wars galaxy, its inhabitants, and everything in between. It's a hefty book, but is it worth picking up? Check out my review to see what I think!
The Star Wars lore has always been pretty vast. Even within the first trilogy, snippets of dialog and background characters teased a far bigger picture that was somehow all interconnected. Diving into this mythos is something Star Wars fans have long enjoyed doing, but with the new Star Wars films, books, and animated series, it's getting tougher to keep up with it all. As such, it's really nice to see an updated version of the Visual Encyclopedia to help fill us in on some of the new content, especially one that’s put together in a nice easy-to-read format.
Geared towards younger audiences, The Visual Encyclopedia is presented a bit differently from your typical Encyclopedia (including the older, more robust three volume Star Wars Encyclopedia). Rather than being organized alphabetically, entries are organized according to subjects like, geography, organizations, etc. Because of this, the book feels more user friendly in terms of discovering new information. Rather than having to dig through pages of material, you can go straight to a topic of interest and find all new things you never knew or thought about.
This improved layout doesn't only apply to how overall subjects are organized, but how pages are done as well. Being a Visual Encyclopedia it needs to convey a bunch of information at a glance, and in this it succeeds very well. The page spreads are laid out in a way that's easy to understand and quickly establish what's being discussed. That way if you're looking for something specific, you're not wasting a bunch of time skimming text to see where you are.
One example that stuck out to me most as I was reading through, was a page spread dedicated to the Jedi Council. It featured a horizontal layout showing all ten members of the Council and their appearance in each of the Prequel films. It was presented in a way that clearly shows the changes in the Council line-up throughout the years (who left, who took their place). Just at a glance it was easy to see and understand the information being presented. The text that accompanies it adds in extra information as well, filling in some other gaps.
While I knew from watching the films a ridiculous amount of times, that the Jedi Council changed up between each film, I hadn’t really figured out who swapped with who. The Visual Encyclopedia made it super clear within seconds and it’s exactly why this book is worth picking up. Every page is laid out in such an easy-to-use manner, it serves as an optimal resource for fans to turn to for more information.
The Star Wars movies cover a VAST amount of lore within a short period of time, with some ideas/characters popping up only briefly on screen, but leaving us with a million questions. Hell, it could be nothing more than a simple prop, and it has the same effect. The Visual Encyclopedia helps fill in some of that information (within the new canon no less), even though it might not always be in context or delve too deeply.
Obviously, with some things, there are potential stories to be told, or secrets to uncover. So while the Encyclopedia tells you that Yaddle (yes, going back to my Jedi Council example) voluntarily stepped down in the years between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it doesn’t tell you why. Nor does it go into what happened with her next. It’s more of an information resource and doesn’t answer all the questions you may have, but if you’re looking for specific names for weapons, characters, or locales (plus some info on WHY they’re important), you’re covered adequately.
In terms of the physical book itself, it's a pretty solid tome. It features relatively thick pages that are easy to grab and turn, along with a sturdy hardcover binding. Considering it's a book designed for younger audiences, it should be able to withstand the rigors of kids carting it around or dropping it here and there.