Seeing Star Wars From A Certain Point of View (book review)

The story of Fake Wedge finally gets to be told!

Forty years ago, Star Wars blazed onto the big screen for the first time and began what is for many of us a seminal moment in our lives.  Today, we know this movie as Episode IV: A New Hope but back then it was just Star Wars and still is for many of us.  Generation upon generation afterward has fallen in love with this series and most of us have a special place in our hearts for the first one.  So when Del Rey announced they were publishing a book celebrating the original film, I was beyond excited.  Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View lives up to hype. Forty different stories by forty different authors about forty different scenes in (and sometimes just adjacent to) the film told in sequential order.  Got your attention?

Dubbed “Fake Wedge” the original actor, Colin Higgins, was fired and replaced by Denis Lawson who is common thought of as the “official” Wedge, but now in A Certain Point of View “Fake Wedge” gets an official backstory. (photo courtesy of StarWars.com)

Title: Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View
Author: 40 different authors!
Cost: $35.00 (but listed as $24.48 on Amazon)
Publisher: Del Rey
Ages: Anyone who likes to read Star Wars books
Genre: Star Wars; Fiction

Each story in the book is placed in chronological order as it plays out in the movie, so if you’re watching Star Wars you can see where the different tales intersect with the film.  Some of the stories are simply amazing. With forty different authors, you are bound to encounter a wide range of writing styles, techniques, and perspectives.  Some will enthrall you, and some will seem like a miss (Did NOT like “The Baptist” ).  But no doubt the book itself is a master stroke of genius.  We encounter little known characters like Jot the Jawa and Fake Wedge (the guy who kinda looks like Wedge in the pilot briefing room) and find out their part in the film or we sometimes hear from characters not yet introduced and find out what they were up to while the events of the film are happening.  There’s a story about Qui Gon Jinn and a private conversation he has with Obi Wan Kenobi right after Luke darts off for the Lars homestead.  Another story tells about Yoda and what he was up to prior to Luke’s arrival.  And still another tells about Lando Calrissian and a spot of trouble he gets himself into while Han is attacking the Death Star.

My favorite story has got to be “The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction (two of my favorite Marvel comics authors).  They build an entire story around the different creatures in the famous cantina scene on Tatooine.  It explains exactly who was where, when, and why with utter brilliance.  Another favorite of mine was “The Sith of Datawork” by Ken Liu about the guy in charge of the massive amount of data flowing through the system to make things work.  He has to help an officer cover up a mistake that with Vader around could literally get him killed and he does so by having him file paperwork.  “Grounded” by Greg Rucka was one that was just so well written.  It was the tale of Nera Kase, Fighter Boss for Base One and the heavy responsibility that came with her job as she monitored the battle over Yavin 4.  Just great writing.  There were a few I REALLY didn’t like at all, but to each his own and some of you might find them brilliant so instead I’ll just name my 10 favorites.  At first I was going to pick five but that would have been too hard to narrow down.

  1. “The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction
  2. “The Sith of Datawork” by Ken Liu
  3. “Grounded” by Greg Rucka
  4. “The Secrets of Long Snoot” by Delilah S. Dawson
  5. “Eclipse” by Madeleine Roux
  6. “Whills” by Tom Angleberger
  7. “Far Too Remote” by Jeffrey Brown
  8. “Contingency Plan” by Alexander Freed
  9. “Duty Roster” by Jason Fry
  10. “Master and Apprentice” by Claudia Gray

What’s unclear is whether or not these stories in particular are part of Star Wars canon.  Supposedly everything written is part of the official storyline, but there are aspects of the individual tales that conflict with one another.  In one, Biggs doesn’t realize Luke is on Yavin 4 until after the pilots’ briefing while another has him in the room with Luke.  One tale has too many pilots and not enough ships.  Another tale has extra ships because there are not enough pilots.  Small discrepancies but discrepancies nonetheless.  But if you simply take each tale for what it is, an homage to a film legacy, you will find great joy between the covers. This is a must have for Star Wars fans! If you have someone in your life who loves the films, consider this as the perfect gift for the holidays, a birthday, or Wookiee Life Day!

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