Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s truly a rare summer when a new Star Wars movie is in theaters–the last time was in 2005 with the release of Revenge of the Sith. As with the past three post-Disney acquisition Star Wars films, several publishers have released tie-in books for the latest Star Wars chapter, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Some books provide fans with a behind-the-scenes tour, others provide novelized backstories, and still others provide an in-universe look at the story. For a behind the scenes view you’ll want Abrams’ coverage of the concept art in The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story (reviewed at borg.com here). For an in-galaxy view of the characters and places, the book you’ll want to get your hands on is DK’s next chapter in their Star Wars book series, Solo: A Star Wars Story–The Official Guide, by Pablo Hidalgo.
The Official Guide is written like the magazines in the 1970s and 1980s that would follow on the heels of a blockbuster film, a “souvenir” type book that would highlight anything everything fans of the film would want to know more about. The key feature of this full-color hardcover volume is the high-quality, detailed photographs, particularly of the characters, costumes, and props–perfect for cosplay reference. It also includes some great detail in its several images of the re-imagined early Millennium Falcon. Especially in a film of the Star Wars universe, where one of the trademarks is inclusion of enormous crowd scenes with varying peoples of different backgrounds, races, species–and names–moviegoers often miss most of the background characters. When a costume can cost thousands of dollars to design and construct, it’d be a shame to simply leave the characters in the background. So that’s where The Official Guide becomes a unique resource.
In no other book will you find all of these new characters from this latest Star Wars film. They have names and backgrounds, and their cultural objects they carry say something about them. But this is Star Wars, so you can expect to see the latest stormtrooper variant (like patrol trooper, fleet trooper, mudtrooper, and range trooper), as well as denizens of the most recent hives of scum and villainy (like the Grindalid Moloch, the Corellian Rebolt, shipping magnate Crev Bombaasa, and, hey, that’s Ron Howard’s brother Clint as Ralakili, running the droid fights). A great two-page spread features the new many incarnations of mechanical fellows from Lucasfilm’s droid shop.
Here are some pages from the book, courtesy of the publisher:
Similar in content and format to DK’s look at the other “Star” franchise, Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary (reviewed here), at 128 pages The Official Guide covers all the key scenes from Solo: A Star Wars Story, including the locations Corellia, Mimban, Vandor, Kessel, and Savareen, with each of the film’s chapters detailed with the local cultural color, via created costume and props. The big players you’d expect are featured, too: Han, Chewbacca, Qi’ra, Dryden Vos, Beckett, Lando, L3-37, Val, Rio, and Enfys Nest.
Solo: A Star Wars Story–The Official Guide is a book for any fan of the Star Wars universe–how else will you ever know about all these background characters? The work of production designer Neil Lamont, costume designers Glyn Dillon and David Crossman, and literally thousands of designers, craftsmen, and artisans, resulted in one of the most loyal looks at the world from the original trilogy yet created. Their work is worth another look. Solo: A Star Wars Story: The Official Guide is available now here at Amazon.