Review: “Star Wars Book of Lists” Catalogs a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Review: “Star Wars Book of Lists” Catalogs a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Even more than most fantasy franchises, Star Wars thrives on tropes. The final three installments in the Skywalker Saga have particularly embraced the shaken-not-stirred formula, but even George Lucas’s own prequels delivered the goods for fans who wanted lightsaber battles but different, droid antics but different, a strong queen with even crazier hairstyles.

Star Wars Book of Lists is a new volume from Cole Horton, who as the author of Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know knows absolutely everything you need to know to catalog “Major Figures of the Galaxy,” “Organizations and Factions,” and “Galactic Miscellany.”

Focusing almost exclusively on the 11 live-action films, Book of Lists doesn’t sell itself as anything beyond a fun flip-through for Star Wars buffs. The text isn’t particularly engaging or revelatory, and the images — largely screenshots — are fairly functional. (Sometimes they’re not even that. Was there really no way to get a clearer image of a TIE interceptor?)

While you may learn a thing or two about Warwick Davis’s nine different characters or what, exactly, you’re supposedly eating at Batuu’s Ronto Roasters, the main takeaway from Book of Lists is just how deep the franchise has carved its trenches of typology. Look at all those stormtrooper varieties! Check out that two-page saber spread!

By the end, you can be fairly confident of what you’ll see when Disney gets back to making Star Wars movies. There will probably be a Jedi knight (Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke Skywalker, Rey) facing a Sith villain (Count Dooku, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren) with the help of a reluctant hero (Jyn Erso, Finn, Han Solo). There will be a Place of Scum and Villainy, a Creature Attack, a Famous Hologram, Warriors in Distinguished Helmets, and a Major Space Battle, leading to some Pomp and Circumstance. Oh, and very likely a Wookiee tantrum.

That’s exactly the way we like it, right? Apparently yes, although Book of Lists doesn’t not leave one wondering whether a little freshening up might be in order. It does also support the argument that Rogue One and Solo were actually two of the best movies in the series, despite being relegated to “Star Wars story” status rather than proper installments in the Skywalker Saga. They looked great and were full of meaty characters, without as much cheese. Of course there are plenty of fans who love the cheese…that’s why we keep coming back for all 13 utterances of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Jay Gabler