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Monday, September 6, 2010

Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle by Daniel Wallace, Pablo Hidalgo, Gus Lopez and Ryder Windham


This promises to be a hit with any fan. A can't miss gift.

DK Publishing continues a trend of producing lavish coffee table books filled with page after page of montages of full color images. In this case, the topic is the Star Wars phenomenon.

Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle is a very large coffee table book - one inch thick, 10 inches wide and nearly a foot high.

This book could just as easily have been called "George Lucas Year by Year." Star Wars dominates Lucas's career like the Eiffel Tower dominates the Paris skyline. Perhaps, even more so.

Boba Fett and George Lucas
As the title states, the book is a visual timeline of George Lucas, the Star Wars franchise and the people and companies involved in its production and promotion. We see early handwritten notes about "Journal of the Whills" - one of the first drafts of Star Wars Episode IV. Later on, we see further updates, including the introduction of a character named Luke Starkiller who, of course, became Luke Skywalker in later revisions. We learn about Lucas's early life, his early films and his influences and a bit about the research he did to create the series.

Included in the timelines are other bits of news about movies, politics and space exploration. For example, on pages 34 & 35 we read about July through December 1974 which includes the first draft of the script for Episode IV, some very early drawings for the TIE Fighters, X-Wings and the Death Star, Nixon resigning as President, the birth of the actor that played Darth Maul in Episode I, early plastic models of the Y-Wing Fighters, the release of The Godfather: Part II (the director is a colleague and friend of Lucas), the production of the first script for another Lucas movie - The Radioland Murders and Christopher Lee's (Episodes II and III) role in a James Bond movie. Every picture has a detailed caption and the story goes on for page after page after page.

Luke Skywalker
It is a fascinating read. I particularly enjoyed the pictures and descriptions of the Star Wars dolls that I collected and nearly wore out as a child. There is also information on the different videogames, novels, radio dramas, fan magazines, board games, fan clubs, appearances on TV shows, the famed Star Wars Christmas Special, John Williams, the cartoon shows, the Lego sets and even the Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head toy.

Lavish, thorough, massive and entertaining - this promises to be a hit with any fan. A can't miss gift.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here:  Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle

Reviewed on September 4, 2010.

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