Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion by Pablo Hidalgo
Thought the Star Wars universe was just six films and some Vodafone ads? Shame on you. With over 200 books, young adult novels, short stories and novellas, there’s a whole lot more out there. The thing is, if you have never picked up a book with an ageing Luke Skywalker on it, chances are you’re going to need help. Enter Pablo Hidalgo and his ‘Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion’.
I find reader’s companions interesting beasts because they’re basically a book about books and if I wanted to know about a series, I’d just start reading them myself.
However, with the sheer number of ‘Star Wars’ books on the market, you might need a little help, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Thankfully, as well as detailing every book currently on release, Hidalgo has given a handy chronological timeline so you know exactly where you stand in relation to the films and can jump in at the book and era of your choice at any point of the 25,000 year history.
The ‘Companion’ also contains some beautiful illustrations for each era which really helps give a feel for the characters we’ve never seen on screen. It also covers which books are tied into comicbook series for those that like their words to come with pictures. All in all, it’s a pretty comprehensive tome that offers everything you need to discover the Star Wars universe. I’m sure that this will be just the first edition of the companion though, given the upcoming changes.
‘Star Wars’ in an interesting franchise when it comes to books with each novel somewhat interconnected and that events in them having consequences for proceeding books. Plus the books carry a lot more weight within the official universe than say, the 90s ‘Star Trek’ series, where the books used to be a story in isolation and had no impact on each other. Thankfully ‘Star Trek’ has learned from this and there is some continuity among the books now.
With the Star Wars universe about to get a whole lot bigger, thanks to the recent Disney purchase and announcement of more films and TV shows to come, it’ll be interesting to see how the books already written fit into the movie canon. Hidalgo does state at the start of this book that although the books are considered canon, films take precedence over the printed page and if there’s a contradiction, the film is correct. Saying that, however, a good chunk of the books deal with life after the events of ‘Return Of The Jedi’, which is the period Disney is looking to explore so we could see the books taking more of a back seat as time goes on. Unless, of course, the makers decide to use the books as a source and stick rigidly to the events in them. Time will tell, of course, and if they do, they could do a lot worse than using this as a guideline.
A definite read for ‘Star Wars’ fans who want a little more than the six films currently out there but don’t expect to sit down and read it cover to cover. Dip in and out as needed.
(pub: Titan Books. 484 page illustrated nearly enlarged paperback. Price: £24.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-141-8)
check out website: www.titanbook.com