Book Reviews

Book Review: The Ultimate Star Wars Collection

Written by Omair Alavi

Every year Star Wars fans celebrate May the 4th as Star Wars Day; that originated from the pun “May the Fourth be with you”, and this year it was celebrated for the 45th time. The best way to celebrate the day is to either watch the Star Wars saga, or read about it, but when you have the ‘The Ultimate Star Wars Collection’ in your sight, it becomes your first priority.

This Ultimate Collection contains not one or two but as many as three Ultimate Star Wars Books plus a Giant Poster and Stickers. In short, it is the perfect gift for a Star Wars geek or someone who wants to explore the Star Wars universe without moving away from their couch. Not only do these books explore the rise and fall of Darth Vader but also how he was able to atone for his crimes, that too in front of his ‘lost’ son at the end of the original saga.

The most important book in this ‘saga’ is ‘The Imperial Era’ which traces the evolution of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, and how his rise from a slave to the master villain is a lesson for everyone who believes they can achieve anything. This book contains all the grim details of the Empire’s deadly grip on the galaxy as well as what made the young Skywalker change sides, and how did it affect his own life.

And if you didn’t know that before Luke Skywalker, Anakin was the one who was trained by Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, then you need to read this book without further delay, for it discusses everything you need to know. The first three Star Wars films – Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – introduce the characters that went on to become integral in the Star Wars original’ trilogy.

Unlike the films, where Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi came out first, and the prequels came later, this book begins with the prequels and then movies towards the ‘original’ trilogy, so that new readers can relate to the six films easily.

Every film from the first two trilogies – not counting the ones featuring Ray, Finn, and Kylo Ren – gets a special mention here, making it worth your collection. From the thrilling schemes, double-crossing, surprise attacks, breathtaking escapes, and seemingly impossible rescues, every act is covered in The Imperial Saga. Even the changes between the film’s original release and the remastered version, memorable bloopers, and behind the scenes facts are added here to impress the readers who either weren’t born when the first three ‘episodes’ were screened or had no clue how difficult it was to add special effect back in the day.

The next book – or the one you need to read in this collection is – Characters, Creatures, Behind the Scenes which is a mini encyclopedia featuring the characters and creatures that made Star Wars successful. Not only does it cover the first six ‘episodes’ but also the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels that serve as the missing link between the prequels and the sequels.

You can meet both the good Jedi and the bad Sith in these pages, discover what made them heroes and what propelled them towards evil, which creatures or droids served who and how were they brought to life, be it using technology or craftsmanship. Every major character gets major space here, in chronological order, while the minor ones obviously have to settle for less space. That doesn’t mean they aren’t considered important; it means that the major ones are given more importance.

And then there is the science – the Behind the Scenes feature in the second book makes you want to watch Star Wars again because it tells you that most of the fascinating action that you witnessed in the first six films actually took place in the studio, featured either trained animals or puppets and didn’t take place in a galaxy far, far away.

The third and last book in this collection – Locations, Technology, Vehicles – is more for geeks than Star Wars fans. Here, every weapon used in the Star Wars films, every vehicle the characters used to travel, and every ‘fictional’ location that was first given a name and later became eternal is mentioned and discussed.

All the planets, palaces, and technology that are now known as part of the famed Star Wars franchise were once unknown; this book tells the readers what made them become part of folklore and how. From Lars Moisture Farm to Jabba’s Palace, from double-bladed lightsaber to Han Solo’s modified DK-44 heavy blaster pistol, every place and weapon is discussed here in detail so that the readers know what they either missed (if they had already watched the films) or what they would have to look out for (when they watch the films!).

And then there were the vehicles that made Star Wars stand out at a time when even air travel was evolving on our planet. From Boba Fett’s Slave I, Luke Skywalker’s Red Five, or Han Solo’s (and Chewbacca’s) Millennium Falcon, every vehicle gets its due in this book that also talks about the ‘supporting vehicles’ as well.

Although one look at the vehicles would make you realize whether it belongs to the Republic (the good guys) or the Empire (the bad ones), it’s always fun to read about such things in detail. Add to that the giant poster and a handful of stickers and you have everything to celebrate Star Wars Day in style. Even ardent fans of the franchise would get to know a lot of things that they might not have known or not been sure about through this Ultimate Collection, making it worth your dime. ‘May the Fourth be with you!’

Omair Alavi – BOL News

About the author

Omair Alavi