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The New Essential Guide to Characters (Star Wars) Paperback – April 23, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The "Star Wars universe is expanding faster than ever before, and "Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters has received an exciting new face-lift-with completely updated text and more than a hundred brand new, full-color illustrations by extraordinary new artist Michael Sutfin.
This all-new "Essential Guide features detailed profiles of more than one hundred and thirty characters from across the "Star Wars galaxy, including all of your favorites-such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and Mara Jade-as well as, from Episode II:
- Jango Fett - Count Dooku - Anakin Skywalker - Zam Wesell
And the key players from "Star Wars: Episode I" The Phantom Menace:
- Queen Amidala - Qui-Gon Jinn - Mace Windu - Darth Maul
Here is complete, updated coverage of the novels from the incredible New Jedi Order and all of the classic movies, books, comics, TV specials, games, and the rest of the "Star Wars universe.
This must-have book describes the essential history and personal data for each character-with vital statistics, homeworlds, and political affiliations.
More characters, more information, brilliant artwork-the "Essential Guides are hotter than ever!

About the Author

Daniel Wallace has been chronicling the Star Wars universe for years, writing four of the most popular Essential Guides, including The Essential Guide to Planets, The Essential Guide to Droids, and the New York Times bestseller The New Essential Guide to Characters. He and his wife live in Detroit with two sons and one daughter.
Mark Chiarello is currently the Editorial Art Director for DC Comics. As a freelance illustrator, he has received the comic book industry's Eisner, Harvey, and Reuben Awards. Mark has also done freelance illustration for, among others, the National Basketball Association, Topps Inc., Disney, and Universal Pictures. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.
After studying film and illustration at the Art Center College of Design in the early 1990s, Tommy Lee Edwards moved to central North Carolina. He has worked for Lucasfilm, DC Comics, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros' on projects like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Dinotopia, and Batman Begins. www.tommyleeedwards.com
John Van Fleet grew up in New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap, playing a lot of baseball. He has worked in comics, production design, and editorial illustration. Clients include Dark Horse, DC Comics, Paramount, Electronic Arts, the Walt Disney Company, Marvel, Warner Bros., Lucasfilm, and many more. www.Johnvanfleet.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Revised edition (April 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345449002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345449009
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Truly essential! Doubtless any Star Wars fan will find this book as fun, informative and entertaining as I did. I have the earlier edition as well, and while it was good in it's time, it became hideousely out of date quickly, and a new edition was definitely needed. I'd definitely say that this fantastic book is the best of the Essential Guides period; the author's clear, straightford, and unbiased tone are what really gives the book it's charm. Many of the minor inconsistensies between the novels are easily explained away here as well. And of course the illustrations. WOW!!! They certainly picked the right guy for this job; everyone is perfect, just how I imagined them. Among my favorites were Mara (deadly yet beautiful), Jacen (Wow, who ever guessed he'd be that cute), and Tsavong Lah (delightfully hideous). My only minor gripe is that a few characters, such as Callista for example, who hasn't even been MENTIONED in eight or nine years, kept a spot in the actual book, whereas a key character in the New Jedi Order such as Tenel Ka, or Jagged Fel were reduced to the "other persons of note" section in the back. Being that I despise Callista (always have always will) and adore Tenel Ka this irritated me enough that I took off a star for it. Desipite this however, I definitely recommend this book for any Star Wars fan, young or old. It would probably help if you have a fairly well read backround in the Expanded Universe, but this one promises to be entertaining even to amateur fans. Oh, also worthy of note, major AOTC spoilers in this one.
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Format: Paperback
I'll keep it short and simple, the book tells you a lot about the Star Wars characters, but doesn't explain in great detail. For someone to really understand the book, you will have to be a fan into the books. Another aspect that makes the book hard to understand is the formality of it. The author uses the phrases "later, this happend. Next this happened" instead of tellin a story. One more thing made me take yet another star off. Some of the illustrations are a bit "rounded" and mis shaped. Especially some of the aliens. Some of the pictures have life, while others look like prison photos. This wouldn't be so bad, but you get the feeling some of them look very similar. On a personal note, Dash Rendars picture was made without consulting any source other than his height and hair color.
But, with that said, it is a good source book due to its vast amount of characters. I do recommend the book to Star Wars fans, but BEWARE. Don't take the pictures at "face" value if they look strange.
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By A Customer on April 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
After the 1st essential guide to characters, I was happy with the outcome. However, in the years since the book came out, it has become clear that another guide was needed. And does this one deliver. It gives us information on all that were needed, from Corran Horn to Kyle Katarn to Maxmillian Veers. If you need background information, pick this book up!
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Format: Paperback
Excellent! I have no doubt that, until The New Essential Chronology comes out, this will remain the best of the Essential Guides. This book is truly a must-have for Star Wars fans (and mild enthusiasts). It contains extremely detailed biographies of most of the major Star Wars characters that existed at its printing. It also does an extremely good job of clearing of apparent continuity errors in the characters' histories.

Only three faults I can find. One: Those incredibly minute character descriptions at the back of the book (and in the Jedi Council, the Podraces, and the Battle-of-Geonosis Jedi entries) really annoy me. Some of those characters are infinitely more important than several of those who received full-length bios. Do we really need an entire page on Ric "Captain Obvious" Oliè? I think not. When the next Essential Guide to Characters comes out, I hope they've removed those small character descriptions and given everyone a full-length biography.

Two: Several major characters were not included in this edition. I understand the decision to omit those who hadn't done much since the original Essential Guide to Characters, but I'm still disappointed by it. You'll have to check out the original for those guys.

Three: It's out of date! Hurry, LFL guys, we need another one! Almost as badly as we need The New Essential Chronology. Make it so!
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Format: Paperback
I have known about this book for just over a year now, and despite it just being one on characters, Star Wars fans I know who hang out in the TF.N literature forums have been really excited about it. First, it's been seven years since the last Essential Guide to characters and a small part of me was hoping it would be twice as thick as the old one as if they were going update all the old characters then add in the new ones. Sadly, this was not to be the case.
While all major characters got huge updates that brought them up Troy Denning's Star by Star, it adds to the list with a bunch of Expanded Universe characters. Sadly, two of my favorites, Nomi Sunrider and Tionne Solusar, have been removed. Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, Dan Wallace really outdid himself with the breadth of his research and Michael Sutfin's beautiful color art is, well, nothing short of spectacular. Plus characters that we know little about, like Darth Bane who started the new Sith, has his own bio as does Shira Brie- the original red haired, green eyed Emperor's Hand from Marvel Comics, circa 1982. The updates are wonderful, because a lot of people may not have read all of the Expanded Universe novels for one reason or another, so it's nice to get up to date histories to fill in the blanks.
All of the important move characters are here- from Anakin Skywalker to Zam Wessel, from Chewbacca to Luke Skywalker, the latter of which gets the single largest entry. However, I must question the logic of sacrificing pages for minor characters like Owen and Beru Lars, Lobot, and Nien Nunb- yes, they were in the films, but who cares? They're minor characters at best when their pages could have been used to include more characters from the Tales of the Jedi series of comics, or the current Star Wars Ongoing series.
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