By George Bate
“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” The iconic words spoken by Ben Kenobi in the original Star Wars kicked off a decades long obsession with lightsabers that continues to this day. The lightsaber is truly honored in Insight Editions’ Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, a beautifully assembled visual guide that brings to life the legendary lightsabers found throughout the Star Wars universe.
While The Lightsaber Collection provides a comprehensive overview of iconic lightsabers and their users, the guidebook begins with a series of introductory chapters that really highlight the meaningfulness of lightsabers. Author Daniel Wallace explores the origins of lightsabers, dating back to George Lucas’ original conception of the weapon in writing Star Wars and subsequently delves into the creation of lightsabers, their design, and their overall meaningfulness. These introductory chapters brilliantly set the stage for the impressive visual guide that follows in really conveying the importance of lightsabers.
The subsequent sections of The Lightsaber Collection showcase an individual lightsaber and its wielder in extraordinary detail. The collection is split into three distinct sections: ‘Jedi of the Galactic Republic,’ ‘Acolytes of the Dark Side,’ and ‘A New Jedi Tradition.’ Collectively, the sections highlight a whole host of Star Wars characters, ranging from iconic ones like Luke Skywalker or Darth Maul to more obscure ones like Lord Corvax and Cin Drallig, not to mention a cool look at Stellan Gios from the upcoming High Republic series. It was certainly unexpected to see the breadth of characters and their lightsabers included in this collection. We obviously expect characters like Obi-Wan or Rey to be featured heavily, but the more unusual choices like Even Piell, Taron Malicos, and even the unseen Darth Atrius are awesome inclusions.
Each individual lightsaber is truly brought to life thanks to some incredibly detailed, drawn to scale illustrations by Lukasz Liszko. Although it’s obviously amazing to see these lightsabers in fast paced action throughout Star Wars movies, shows, and games, there’s something really cool about seeing each lightsaber hilt in such vivid detail up close and personal. Every lightsaber illustration is coupled by a similarly impressive character illustration by Ryan Valle. These character illustrations are breathtaking, especially when we get to see animated characters like Ahsoka Tano or Ezra Bridger brought to life in such a novel way. It’s also cool to see a new image of young Ben Solo as Luke’s student in the new Jedi Order and a great look at his padawan lightsaber.
Aside from the impressive visuals on display, The Lightsaber Collection also includes an interesting written section to accompany each character and their lightsaber. Daniel Wallace manages to pack in a ton of great information in just a few paragraphs for each character. These sections include relevant canon details about the character and his/her lightsaber, but also some great trivia or behind the scenes facts that are sure to interest both casual and hardcore Star Wars fans alike.
Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection is one of the best Star Wars books to be released this year. In reading the collection, it’s hard to not get swept up in the history and emotional resonance of this legendary weapon. This is a true and definitive tribute to the graceful weapon first envisioned by George Lucas and expanded upon by others in subsequent years. The collection is more than just a showcase of the beauty of a lightsaber, however, in detailing amazing new looks at iconic characters and descriptions full of interesting background and trivia facts. The horizontal design of the hardcover book aligns with the elegance of the weapon it is the focus of. And the book, similar to some of the best Star Wars projects, appeals similarly to all ages across the lifespan. The Lightsaber Collection is a must own for Star Wars fans and would surely be a welcomed gift amidst the incoming holiday season.
Images courtesy of Insight Editions & Lucasfilm