Part of what makes the Star Wars universe so inviting and awe-inspiring is the depth of history and richness of detail alive in every character and creature, each planet and prop.
The creative caretakers behind the galaxy far, far away have taken great pains to ensure accuracy and continuity. But on the pages of the latest in the Visual Dictionary series, we get a glimpse at the full scope of what goes into imbuing Star Wars with the magic that has made it so enthralling for generations.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary is a definitive guide to the characters, creatures, droids, locations, and technology from the new film, and it does not disappoint.
(If you have not yet seen the film, there are some minor spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.)
With over 100 accompanying images, Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo takes us deep inside the gorgeous and isolated world of Ahch-To, the rickety Resistance fleet and the daring rebels who keep it running, and right into Supreme Leader Snoke's throne room, where the decrepit leader is ringed by four pairs of faceless Praetorian guards.
You could spend hours getting lost in these or the minutiae of Canto Bight and its wealthy patrons and the First Order's finest recruits.
But for me, it's the smallest details that are endlessly fascinating, the “Ah-ha!” moments where a nagging question that's been on the edge of my consciousness since I left the theater finds an answer, and the delightfully strange artifacts that I may not have even noticed on-screen that make this book such a delight.
The messy stitches that appear like a hasty suture on Finn's jacket? Lovingly repaired by Poe in a gesture of friendship while the former stormtrooper was recovering from his wounds.
Leia changed her hair. Here we learn the new style is an homage to her homeworld and her recent windowhood: an Alderaanian mourning braid.
And through ancient Jedi artifacts, we get a little more insight into the spiritual order and the relics they left behind as well as how Luke spent his time after the Battle of Endor.
The Temple Island section alone is filled with plenty of information on characters that harken back to the earliest days of Star Wars creature shop creations. After wondering if those were moofs being milked in the island's coastal outcroppings, I learned that they were indeed Thala-sirens, docile creatures that produce a nutritious green milk.
The Lanais, monastic Caretakers who are devoted to the upkeep of the ancient Jedi structures, have a rich history as as species and several members highlighted by name. And, of course, there are porgs, porglets, and even roast porg on a spit.
Fans craving more information after the credits roll will undoubtedly enjoy this deep dive, a worthy addition to the reference volumes that came before it.