Customer Reviews: The New Essential Guide to Characters (Star Wars)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars34
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on May 31, 2002
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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on April 25, 2002
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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on August 17, 2004
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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on November 1, 2011
Really good reference book that applies back story and images for characters not only in the films but in the expanded universe. I use it along with extra reading to put faces to names and to know who is who in the ever growing expanded universe of Star Wars.
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on July 21, 2002
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. I mean really, do we need pages devoted to Captain Obvious himself, Ric Olie? Not likely. Despite a few questionable choices for characters, the New Essential Guide is still a first rate publication.
Michael Sutfin's art is truly wonderful in most cases. There are a few illustrations where it seems a little flat or an unconvincing representation, such as Anakin Solo's picture- Sutfin made him too young looking. I didn't care for Dash Render, Isaard or Daala's pictures much, but that's peanuts compared to the other really great pictures in the book. Wallace's text is clear, concise and a breeze to read. He said he had a blast writing it and I only wish I had been able to come through for him and find a copy of the Japanese version that he wanted before LFL did.
The first of the New Essential Guides, it's completely in color and if the rumors I have heard are true, the following books will also be in the same format and Del Rey plans to release a book or so a year until they are all up to date. Given these books such great sources of data, well written and researched, bringing them up to date with the current films, novels and the New Jedi Order seems to be about the wisest decision they can make.
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on June 25, 2003
This book was very good except that it was missing some good characters. The characters that where missing (or crammed in a tiny appendix) are Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Zekk, The Dark Women, Rayner Thul, Tionne, Nomi Sunrider, Siri Tachi, Xanatos and Tahari. The Jedi council (besides Master Windu & Yoda ) are barely mentoined, I wish that Adi Gallia, Ki-Adi-Mundi (especially), Plo Koon, Even Piell, Saesee Tiin, Eeth Koth, Depa Billaba and Yaddle would be given at least a page each. Also there are many boring people like Ric Olie, Panaka, the Lars, Nute Gunray, and Watto should get less pages. Their are also people that should get more then one page such is Count Dooku (especcially), Exar Kun, Ulic Qel-Droma and Sedriss. But overall it is a fun read. The Solos, the Skywalkers, Chewwie, Obi-Kenobi are well written. Palpitine, Isard, Daala, Pestage and Tarkin are also well written.Kyle Katarn and Corran Horn are good. It is a pretty good book.
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on May 15, 2002
I, like everyone else, look forward to the new Star Wars film, "Episode II: Attack of the Clones". This book contains the characters in the new movie, previous movies and the books and comic books. I don't read the books or comic books but it is interesting to read about the characters and their parts in the trilogies. The illustrations are nice and the descriptions and history of each character is full and informative. While I'm not a die hard fan, I wanted the book because it helps keep up with the many characters in the Star Wars universe. This updated book will be a must, however, for those die hard fans who want the inside info on their favorite characters. I recommend this book to fans of all degrees.
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on June 27, 2002
The New Essential Guide To Characters was worth paying almost $40Cdn for. It gives the reader great insight into the character's life and personalities and allows you to get to know that character better. I really liked the pictures, they were colorful and well-drawn. The only drawback I have is the lack of certain charcters. For example, Elan from the New Jedi Order should have been included in this book, she was important to the Vong. Also I noticed that the two charcters shown in Star Wars Insider were not even in the book, except for Poggle the Lesser, who is only mentioned briefly in the appendices.
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on December 29, 2013
Over all it is a good book, but it has some flaws. It does not give as much detail as the original Star Wars The Essential Guide to Characters. It's missing weapons and vehicles of choice, and does not provide political affiliation. Sometimes it mentions a character, but does not provide a picture of them.
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on October 13, 2012
This book is amazing and well detailed, but I just wanted to point out that 60 of the 102 entries from the first essential guide to characters are not even mentioned in this book. Thats fine, but I just wanted to get out there that this shouldn't be looked at as a revised edition (even though for some reason they are marketing it that way), but more like a volume two. There are many characters highlighted in the original that arent even mentioned in this volume, such as Biggs Darklighter, Moruth Doole, Mako Spince, and even Joruus C'Baoth. So in short it's a fantastic book, but the true fan will want to get both editions.
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