Getting back to school, people are in the mood to learn new things. With Visions and The Book of Boba Fett in December and Obi-Wan Kenobi next year, we will be seeing Star Wars from many different eras. Visions, while not currently tied to canon, will cover the time before and after The Rise of Skywalker (yes that is confusing). So, August would be a good time to catch up if you are a new Star Wars fan or re-familiarize yourself with the history of the galaxy if you are a casual fan.
There are many Star Wars databanks and encyclopedias, official and unofficial. But some might feel more like homework, especially for new or casual fans who are just looking to get a little more information before a new show or film releases. So, for the C&C Pick for August, I recommend an encyclopedia that reads more like an engaging editorial, Star Wars Made Easy by Christian Blauvelt. The reference book came out in 2017 and was part of the publishing campaign leading up to The Last Jedi.
Along with having every film up to Rogue One broken down by “At A Glance” sections that summarize the films and “A Closer Look” that go into specifics. And even if you already know the basics, the book answers questions that fans might take for granted like “Why didn’t Leia contact other rebels instead of Obi-Wan?” and “Does the second Death Star have a fatal flaw?”
Other Star Wars encyclopedias are specific to a sector of Star Wars like the (Characters, Vehicles, Visual Guides), but Star Wars Made Easy covers as much of the films that people need to get a refresher without going too deep. There is info on characters and vehicles, but those will be condensed to a few pages within each chapter. Why certain things and concepts matter in Star Wars. Also, per Blauvelt, the guide will help newbies make sense of all the Star Wars references in other films and TV shows that have been made since A New Hope was released. For example, alongside a spread of all the quotes used in pop culture, there is also a pronunciation guide, so Star Wars friends do not laugh at you. I take for granted that I just know how to pronounce Tatooine.
Blauvelt is from an editorial background and worked for Entertainment Weekly writing about franchises like Star Wars, so was used to writing to fit the essence of a character or concept in a sentence. And a key part of the reference guide is the design layout and spreads of significant battles from the films. Star Wars is about wars in space, and there are so many battles that they can start to blur together. Having a brief synopsis on why the battle was important, the players, and the outcome is helpful if you do not have access to the film (or just do not want to sit through). Certain spreads like “Why Do the Clones Kill all the Jedi?” would be great to look over while watching The Bad Batch. To avoid sitting through the film, breeze through the Attack of the Clones spreads before The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only con on the book is that there is only a page each for The Clone Wars and Rebels. Given where Disney+ is headed, these shows will become increasingly important for the general public to have more information on, but there is still enough in these two pages to get the big picture.
The best thing about Star Wars Made Easy is that its all ages copy and visuals make it a great purchase for beginning fans and also a go-to reference for new and old Star Wars lovers. This will be on your shelf (real or digital) for a long, long time.