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‘Star Wars 100 Objects: Illuminating Items From a Galaxy Far, Far Away….’ (review)

Written by Kristen Baver
Published by DK Publishing

 

In a franchise that’s created thousands upon thousands of objects that have appeared before our adventure seeking eyes, Kristen Baver took on the unenviable task of spotlighting just 100 of them.

But fear not, Baver covers her bases admirably by including objects major and minor from each live-action film and TV show and brings to the reader’s attention visual details easily overlooked as well as the in-universe mythology behind each object.

The journey starts epically with the highly detailed mural decorating Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s office in the Star Wars Prequel trilogy.

Upon a first viewing, it’s simply a background detail that serves only to help create an atmosphere within Palpatine’s scenes.

And while the author chooses to focus on the fictional history of the mural itself and the mythology of the characters within, I find myself fascinated by the effort the filmmakers made to create such a large physical piece of art that tells its own story to flesh out the Star Wars Galaxy, knowing it would never be a focus of the story being told in the film.

The objects are categorized by Star Wars era; Republic (prequel trilogy), Imperial (original trilogy, Andor, Rogue One, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Obi-Wan Kenobi), New Republic (The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett), and First Order (sequel trilogy.)

The choice of objects range from well known staples such as Luke Skywalker’s first Lightsaber and Han Solo’s DL-44 Blaster to less treasured objects like the pendant that young Anakin Skywalker gifted to his future wife Padme Amidala.

In addition to referencing the endless volumes of source material to illuminate the known history of each object, Baver fills in some gaps with her own creative flare. One of the more creative examples is explaining away why Chewbacca was neglected during the medal ceremony at the end of the original Star Wars, despite being equally as important to the destruction of the Death Star as Luke and Han. According to Baver, “Wookiees do not set much store in trophies and trinkets,” implying that it was Chewie’s choice not to be recognized for his heroism.

I don’t buy it. But, there it is.

In contrast, Chapter 88, Calligraphy Set, set my curiosity ablaze. The calligraphy set in question is found in Ben Solo, aka baddie Kylo Ren’s, sleeping quarters in the flashback sequence of The Last Jedi. The author points out that this calligraphy set once belonged to Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, Ben’s namesake. Being the Star Wars nerd that I am, I immediately began to research to find visual evidence of this claim. In spite of the fact that I have found none as of yet, the suggestion is another nice reminder of how important Obi-Wan Kenobi was to the Skywalker family.

If I have one gripe, it’s this; as I began to digest the Imperial era objects, based mostly of course on the original trilogy, I realized that there is a missed opportunity to enhance the appeal to folks like myself that are also deeply fascinated by how the real-life props came into being.

In addition to being reminded of how Luke’s first lightsaber was created by his father and how it was passed onto him, I would have been thrilled to learn that the actual prop was made from a 1940’s Graflex flash handle for cameras, adorned with the same “T” strips used on the Imperial Stormtrooper D-11 blaster with bubble strip lights from calculators added.

I love that stuff.

In that vein, aficionados of the original trilogy are well aware that the head of the assassin droid bounty hunter IG-88 in The Empire Strikes Back is a simple recycled prop from the Mos Eisley Cantina distillery island behind the bar in the original Star Wars.  Here, the reuse is explained stating that IG assassin droid heads were hollowed out because they made great beverage dispensers.

The tradeoff to not learning how the props were made however, is learning details I had yet to pick up on despite repeated viewings.

For example, did you catch that Lando Calrissian’s cane grip in The Rise of Skywalker is a metal mold of Cloud City where he was once administrator? I also never made out that Emphy Nest’s helmet in Solo: A Star Wars Story had an inscription in Aurebesh, the official writing language of Star Wars. It reads “Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher.”

These are the kind of tidbits I would soak up as a kid.

The 100 Star Wars Objects journey is fun and informative and the photos of the objects are straightforward and crystal clear. However, despite Baver’s creative backstories, with one particular object there’s one unforgivable glaring omission.

In chapter 59, Max Rebo’s Red Ball Jett Organ, Baver fails to bring to light how Max survived the destruction of Jabba’s Sail Barge, the Khetanna in Return of the Jedi, only to be tragically killed in the bombing of Garsa Fwip’s cantina, The Sanctuary, nine years later in The Book of Boba Fett.

You will never be forgotten Max.

I’m waiting Kristen.

 

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