The recent cinematic revival of Star Wars has resulted in a new energy for the franchise, with a whole new generation of fans introduced to its galaxy and a dizzying array of tie-in materials to keep them hooked. This latest publication, the Galactic Atlas, aims to get them in the know regarding many of the saga’s planets, moons, and battle stations.
It’s a big (approximately A3-sized) hardcover volume, and is allegedly an in-universe publication; Emil Fortune’s introduction is from the point of view of an alien archivist who has uncovered an artist’s maps depicting major galactic locations. These maps are not strictly geographically accurate, rather they aim to capture the ‘feel’ of these worlds, and so include depictions of many of the events which took place there.
The maps are in fact illustrated by Tim McDonagh, and he’s done a sterling job at it. Each planet is given a double-page spread, and is captured in colourful and absorbing detail, allowing you to lose much more time than planned poring over it. McDonagh is particularly skilled at capturing the weird and wonderful wildlife of this galaxy in his precise but cartoonish style, really bringing each unique planet to life.
Planets covered include those from all seven existing films, plus some locations from the Clone Wars and Rebels television series, with events and characters from other Star Wars canon sources – including the Shattered Empire comics and Lost Stars novel – sometimes brought in. Excitingly, there’s also a spread dedicated to the desert moon of Jedha, a spiritual home of the Jedi, which will make its debut in the upcoming Rogue One; the book is careful not to give too much away, of course, but you can gleam some hints about the places we’ll visit and the characters we’ll meet come the first spin-off film’s release.
Despite this wide-ranging material, don’t go expecting a serious, info-heavy reference book like the ones popular in the pre-Disney EU; this is largely aimed at younger readers or those new to the Star Wars galaxy, but the charming illustrations and high production quality will nonetheless keep the parents and hardened fans hooked, too. The perfect treat for aspiring Skywalkers!
STAR WARS – GALACTIC ATLAS / AUTHOR: EMIL FORTUNE / ARTIST: TIM MCDONAGH / PUBLISHER: EGMONT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW