“Star Wars Vault” by Stephen J. Sansweet and Peter Vilmur (It Books, 2007)

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Celebrating it’s thirtieth anniversary this year, the Star Wars franchise is in a similar predicament to the time after the release of Return of the Jedi: no plans for future movies, apart from a continuing animated series of the Clone Wars.  By the same token, fans are in the same state with little-to-nothing to look forward to.  Thankfully, to commemorate the third decade of the blockbuster, internationally bestselling movie series, there’s the Star Wars Vault: “thirty years of treasures from the Lucasfilm archives with removable memorabilia and two audio CDs.

This is not just a nicely decorated picture book in a sturdy slipcase; it’s an experience, a journey that one is immediately taking when they open the cover.  Star Wars Vault is part of the new style of picture book being published, like that of 1776: The Illustrated Edition, where the book goes beyond glossy, colorful pictures and photos, but incorporates all types of media, and with the rich heritage of the Star Wars franchise which literally revolutionized the world with merchandising, Star Wars Vault is a gift that would make any fan of the series, no matter how old or how much of a fan, respect you greatly in your choice of gift.

Sansweet keeps his story short, taking up little room on the page, and leaving the evidence reproduced here in various forms to speak for itself.  He begins with the fascinating tale of how the first movie, Star Wars Episode IV, barely made it to release, and with little support, until the enormous numbers of audience members proved that the studio executives were very wrong.  While Sansweet spends less time on the development and release of the rest of the movies, the experience as one turns the pages and relives the history of the Star Wars empire is unlike that of any other.  With unique photos, movie posters, and a plethora of pictures from around the world, there are innumerable insets and handouts of unique items like patches, stickers, collectible postcards, film cells, and even two audio CDs with a variety of different pieces ranging from the mid-eighties radio ads, to special interviews, to a recording of the song sung by Carrie Fisher for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.

While the price for Star Wars Vault is considerable, no one will regret it when they turn the page and discover the world within.  It is a book that will immediately be quickly read, the stickers and patches possibly used, and added to the shelf to be rediscovered over and over.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on November 29th 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.


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