The Star Wars Vault (Hardback)

Author: Stephen J. Sansweet and Peter Vilmur
Pocket Books
RRP: 40.00, US $85.00
ISBN-13: 978 1 84737 106 5
ISBN-10: 1 84737 106 X
Available 01 November 2007

When the first
Star Wars film was screened in 1977 it changed the face of adventure blockbusters forever and defined the cinematic experience of a whole generation of moviegoers. The industry that followed - two sequels, three prequels, an entire book publishing programme, dedicated magazines and comic books, toys and figurines, plus sell-out conventions where fans could meet the actors, writers and filmmakers - turned the Star Wars phenomenon into the most influential and commercially successful entertainment franchise of its kind; one, moreover, which is still going strong after 30 years. Now, to commemorate its 30th anniversary year, comes the ultimate Star Wars collectible keepsake book. In these lavishly produced and designed full colour pages fans will find a treasure trove of never-before-seen letters, photographs and other material connected with the films each of which has been lovingly reproduced from the originals...

The Star Wars Vault is a pretty impressive piece of work. It offers a wealth of new information and loving reproduced material that will find a welcome home in every serious Star Wars fan's collection.

Written by Lucasfilm's Stephen J Sansweet and Peter Vilmur, this book recounts the history of the pervasive saga which spans three decades and has generated scores of paraphernalia - items readers can now unfold, flip over, touch, and even hear - reproduced script pages, tickets, blueprints, catalogues, stickers, sheet music, audio interviews, radio spots, radio drama excerpts and more. But these are just the beginning of this mega-scrapbook of all things Star Wars.

If you bought and enjoyed Sansweet's 1998 Star Wars Scrapbook, then you'll be in hog's heaven with this latest book. The Scrapbook is a mere pamphlet when compared to The Star Wars Vault - which makes me wonder how much more stuff he's holding back for a future follow-up collection.

The authors obviously spent a lot of time and effort ensuring that only the highest quality material was included in this collection. The end result is a book that even the most die-hard fan will be able to unearth a few nuggets of information that they previously weren't aware of.

This book includes fifty interactive, rare and some never-before published memorabilia, including reproductions of Lucas's own hand-written script pages, flip-through catalogues, swag, posters, T-shirt transfers, stickers, blueprints, production notes, animation cells, hundreds of photos and pieces of artwork. There are also two CDs that contain over two hours of vintage radio ads, original cast interviews, excerpts from the NPR Star Wars radio drama, the complete Star Tours soundtrack, Carrie Fisher's Holiday Special performance of Princess Leia's song, George Lucas's commentary and other tracks that tell the story of everyone's favourite galactic saga as never before.

While this collection covers all the films in the franchise, the bulk of the material is from the first Star Wars movie. This is not surprising, as Lucas and co were not aware that they were in the process of creating history before the film was released and a lot of the material produced here is quite amusing to discover when you consider what a success the first film would eventually go on to be.

While £40 may sound like a lot to pay for a book, it's well worth the money. And a lot of the online stores are already heavily discounting this - Amazon in the UK is already advertising this at half price. For serious collectors' this could be the best Star Wars book you ever purchase.

Nick Smithson

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£19.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
£27.99 (Waterstones.com)
£40.00 (WHSmith.co.uk)
£40.00 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
$53.55 (Amazon.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.