Imagine being given unlimited access to the Star Wars archives at Skywalker Ranch in California. Even more, imagine going to Tunisia where the desert planet scenes for the first movie were filmed and finding old props lying about in the open desert. Such is the life David West Reynolds has led since 1995.
The results of these months of exploration are seen in the recent publication of Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary (there's also a companion book Star Wars: Incredible Cross Sections). It treats the fantasies as though they were real facts with detailed photographs and explanations in large reference-book format. This world of new information makes reading about the mythical Star Wars universe almost as compelling as watching the movies.
The dictionary describes clothing, weapons, equipment, as well as spotlighting each of the characters in turn, starting with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. A "Data File" describes incidental fascinating information about the characters. Did you know Chewbacca has a wife and son on his home planet? Or that Princess Leia is the youngest person ever to hold a seat in the Galactic Senate?
Other pages give details about stormtrooper equipment, imperial droids, and a variety of weapons and space freighters.
Reynolds, a trained archaeologist, approaches the world of Star Wars as he would ancient Rome or Egypt, but he brings the gift of imagination and entrances us all again in a world that seems nearer at hand with each passing day.