If you haven’t been in exile on a swamp planet, or been preoccupied with childcare on a desert world, chances are you’ve heard of a certain little show called Star Wars Rebels coming this October to Disney XD.
Rebels looks set to cure the heartache felt throughout fandom when Lucasfilm announced back in March 2013 that The Clone Wars would be winding down – nice talk for cancelled.
Of course fans reacted to this news in varying ways, from social media outbursts to the admirable Save The Clone Wars campaign, which to this day I still believe is the reason why we got to see those amazing Lost Missions. However you chose to react as a fan, the point was you wanted more Star Wars. And that’s exactly what you’re going to get with Rebels.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably seeking out as much information as you can about these Rebels. You’re reading every snippet of news coming out of Lucasfilm, watching every video released on starwars.com, and then watching it again, and again, and again.
If this is you, then I can quite honestly say that you need The Visual Guide in your life. Not only does the guide cover all the main characters, who we’re going to grow to love, or love to hate, but it also covers the weapons, vehicles, and locations we’re going to experience across our journey throughout season one.
We open the book with a very heart felt foreword from non-other than fan favorite and Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni. Filoni talks about his love for Star Wars and how he studied the look of the universe as he grew up. Here’s an excerpt from the foreword where Filoni describes The Visual Guide in his own words:
"“This visual guide to Star Wars Rebels reminds me of the books I used to read when I was first learning about the Star Wars universe. It is my hope that the images, descriptions and details within these pages inspire a new generation of fans to dream of visiting this beloved galaxy, and imagine their own characters, their own stories and what might be, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”"
Following the foreword we’re immediately transported into the Star Wars galaxy, during a dark period, where the noble Jedi are gone, and with them the Galactic Republic. The Empire and its evil ruler stand triumphant over a conquered galaxy. We’re given a brief timeline of events from the invasion of Naboo right up until when Ezra, our main character, meets up with the Rebels. Interestingly all the dates are measured in LY, which is a Lothal Year. The events within Rebels take place 5 years before the events of A New Hope, that’s 3272 LY. This form of measurement tells us just how central the planet Lothal is going to be throughout the story of Rebels.
So, the scene is set and we’re ready to dive into the book! I must say, normally with these lovely big picture-led books I tend to have a quick thumb through from back to front, glance over the content, and then start to read from cover to cover. With The Visual Guide however something inside me told me not to do this. Maybe it’s because I didn’t quite know what to expect from this book, and I liked the idea of keeping an air of mystery around what I’m about to see.
With this in mind I turn to the next page. The vibrant, almost glossy visuals are the first thing to jump out at me. It’s almost as though each page is printed in 1080p high definition, they’re that good. The imagery is complemented with concise information on each page telling us about what we’re seeing and why it’s important. I must say the fine balance between striking visuals and informative text is spot on.
As I continue to read through I find myself devouring page after page as I can’t wait to find out what’s coming up next. We find out about the Imperial occupation on Lothal, learn about each of the Rebels, and what makes them unique. We learn about the different types of vehicles and ships – some familiar, some not so. We uncover the different types of technology in use during this time period and start to meet some of the lesser known secondary characters, each with their own interesting backstories and motivations. We’re even given certain plot points from season one, which you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Out of everything I’ve read, watched or listened to over the past few months surrounding Rebels, this book has given me the best insight into what I can expect to see from the show. I found myself finishing the book within three sittings, each lasting about 30 minutes. Even after finishing the book I still find myself delving back into it and re-reading certain sections with as much a keen interest as the first time.
If you’re eagerly anticipating Rebels, then I can’t recommend picking up The Visual Guide from your local bookstore enough. It’s great for both older and younger readers alike and makes for a highly enjoyable, light reading experience.
My 3 favorite finds from reading this book:
1) Ezra’s lightsaber has a built in blaster barrel.
2) The Ghost has a secondary docked shuttle craft.
3) The ‘Behind The Scenes’ section at the back of the book.