It has never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan, as it is today. With a new movie to look forward to every year, loads of new novels, comic books and merchandise heading to stores (and unfortunately making an attack on the contents of our wallets), fans will have enough to keep them happy. However a long time ago (no pun intended), there was a time when Star Wars popularity was at an alltime low. A few years after the release of Return of the Jedi, there were no new movies on the horizon, the comicsline was stopped because of decreasing sales, and as such it seemed Star Wars would be a franchise in danger of dying out. But in 1991, writer Timothy Zahn published a trilogy of books that came to be known as The Heir to Empire trilogy. These books introduced new characters and events, and continued the saga with stories set after the Return of the Jedi.
The books became a massive succes, and it is said that they were pretty much responsible for a renewed interest in the Star Wars franchise. After these novels, hundreds of books and comics were published that tied together events set before and after the sixth movie in the saga. And then came Disney. After Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars everything that had been previously published in written form, was declared non-canon. And thus ended the era of the “Expanded Universe”. Many fans were pretty upset about this decision, myself included. A few of the novels and comics brought forth a few characters and events, that were so cool that you could almost feel as if you were being in the theatre experiencing the opening crawl for the first time.
One of these epic storylines was based on a computer game that was released in 2003, called Knights of the Old Republic. It chronicles events set 3600 years before the rise of our favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader. One could almost call it the Middle Ages of Star wars. Even though Disney has also declared this era to be non-canon, I pretty much don’t care about that. As it is set so many years before the movies, it details events that don’t interfere with the current timeline anyway. If you are a fan of Star Wars, and want to know more about this era, I highly recommend the Old Republic Encyclopedia. This book, published by DK Books, is truly a must have for every Star Wars fan, whether or not you have ever played the games or not.
The most noteworthy feature of this book is the art. It contains incredibly and highly detailed illustrations of the ships, weapons, planets and characters that populate this timeline. You can stare for hours and hours at these pictures, and lose yourself forever without ever getting bored. If the pictures I have included within this review have not already convinced you how cool it looks, I don’t know what will. This being an Encyclopedia, there is also ofcourse a wealth of information that details everything that has happened so many years before Darth Vader came to power. Do you want to know what Jedi were like back in those days? Which Sith Lord nearly brought the galaxy to it’s knees? What battles and wars were being waged? The answers to all these questions and more can be found in this massive 350 page tome.
All I can say is if you are a Star Wars fan, this book is just pure and simple a must buy. Unless you are only buying books that are considered to be part of the official canon timeline, this book will satisfy pretty much every Star Wars fan. Having just concluded it, I will definitely look back in on it, from time to time, if only to look at the beautiful and fantastic art.
I give the Star Wars Old Republic Encyclopedia a 10 out of 10 score.