“From a Certain Point of View” review

On May 25, 1977, George Lucas introduced us to a galaxy far, far away, and now 40 years later people still love and are falling in love with this expansive universe.

We fell in love with characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Darth Vader, and so many others, but perhaps even more so than those starring characters, we fell in love with the galaxy that Lucas had created.  The planets were visually exciting, and the background characters and creatures sparked imaginations as people rushed to fill in their backstories.  In many ways these background characters were crucial to the explosion of new Star Wars material in the 1990s and onward, as minor characters received further exploration.  It became a Star Wars tradition to wonder about and explore even the most minor background characters sitting in the cantina and other environments.

So because of that, “From a Certain Point of View” is the perfect tribute to Star Wars, a love letter upon celebration of the 40th anniversary of the beloved universe.  Released on October 3, 2017, the book features 40 short stories from 43 different authors, all revolving around the timeless film.  The book – titled after Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous line from the movie – shares 40 different stories about different background characters during the timeline of A New Hope.  There are stories about some of the minor background characters from the movie, including (but not limited to) Raymus Antilles, R5-D4, Beru Lars, Greedo, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, Wuher, Boba Fett, Garindan, Biggs Darklighter, Wanten, Tagge, and Motti.  There are stories about a few of the more major characters from the movie, including Wilhuff Tarkin and Obi-Wan Kenobi.  And there are stories about beloved Star Wars characters who aren’t in the movie but who have stories that encompass the movie’s timeline, including Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, Aphra, Palpatine, Breha Organa, Yoda, Mon Mothma, and Lando Calrissian.  And there are many others, too, told about Imperial troopers or Rebel pilots or droids or Tusken Raiders or Jawas.

The stories are told by some Star Wars veterans, including Pablo Hidalgo, Ashley Eckstein, Gary Whitta, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, Chuck Wendig, and Kieron Gillen, among others, while it also features some newcomers.  All of the 43 authors agreed to forego compensation for their contributions, instead donating the proceeds to charity.

The book includes a variety of writing styles and a variety of different settings and stories and experiences and plots, which makes it interesting to read.  Most of the stories were very enjoyable, and while not all of them were great, there were plenty of them that were emotional and satisfying and informative and engaging.  In fact, there were many times that the stories added a ton of emotional depth to characters from the movie.  It sought to give backstories to so many of those background characters throughout the movie, and it was sprinkled in with some really intriguing stories about characters we love but who don’t appear in the movie (like, for example, Qui-Gon’s thoughts on Obi-Wan’s exile and Yoda’s thoughts on training a Skywalker).

After 40 years, Star Wars is as alive as ever, and “From a Certain Point of View” is a perfect tribute to the movie that started it all.  George Lucas introduced us to a galaxy that we fell in love with, and from the first page to the last, the book is a loving exploration of that amazing galaxy.

My grade: 9.5

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