A new book is being released to coincide with Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you). “The Ultimate Stars Wars” book is an in-depth visual publication exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. Two of the books authors, Adam Bray and Tricia Barr, will discuss their new work.
Ted Simons: Today is Star Wars Day. The designation is derived from a pun based on the date, may the "fourth" (force) be with you. Coinciding with "Star Wars" day is the release of "The Ultimate Stars Wars Book," an in-depth visual publication exploring Star Wars characters and story lines. Here now are two of the book's authors, Adam Bray and Tricia Barr. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us. All right, why this book? Why now?
Adam Bray: Well, now is a great time. You might have heard there's a new movie coming towards the end of the year. And with that, it's a great time for new and old fans to reengage the "Star Wars" franchise. So this book, it takes into account the entire film saga of all six movies and the two animated series, the Clone Wars and "Star Wars" Rebels and lays out a foundation to start with as we look forward to what's coming ahead.
Ted Simons: What does this add to the vast "Star Wars" canon?
Tricia Barr: It's not adding, it's compiling it and putting a great visual presentation so you can just literally go in order of watching chronologically and look and discover who the characters were, who they were to "Star Wars," or even a character like Grido who's in the movie for just briefly but he's in the clone wars so you can say I want to find out more about him.
Ted Simons: Obviously, the big stars, 3cpo and others, looking at some of the design here. What I like about this, it's visual but you don't skimp on the words, either. You guys make sure that a lot is said there, and I think this particular audience would find that very important.
Adam Bray: Yeah, definitely. Some of the entries are quite lengthy and it really goes into the characters and the locations and the technology and goes really, really in-depth. I think a lot of fans may not realize who are just familiar with the movies that something like the clone wars TV series, that was six plus seasons so there's an incredible amount of material, which is all considered canon part of the story, and you can get up to date on all of that in this book.
Ted Simons: How did you research this? Is it easy or is it difficult?
Tricia Barr: It's not difficult to do something that you love.
Ted Simons: Right.
Tricia Barr: But it was a lot of work. There were late nights watching the movies specifically to get the information, watching the Clone Wars, that was one of the areas I covered, so six seasons, that's a good volume of work to go in and figure out everything that happened, all the vehicles, the locations and why they matter in "Star Wars."
Ted Simons: Because you can't really put something in the book and you found out later just because a couple of other books said x it was really y.
Adam Bray: Yeah, absolutely. I watched segments of different movies and I went back and I realized oh, gosh I've seen this dozens of times but I never actually understood this point here. I never understood that George Lucas was making a parallel of something in the original trilogy. He's making parallel scenes in the newer prequels.
Ted Simons: Did you learn something? Do you think something was this way but it was really that way?
Tricia Barr: I had a better appreciation of Luke Skywalker's journey of a hero. We tend to think of him as a conquering hero but his final heroic act was him laying down his light saber and choosing to not fight his father and I sort of found that and remembered it and reminded, you see it as a kid and you think one thing and you look at it as a holistic thing and what they've done with all the movies, and then you see where Luke Skywalker really is as the hero.
Ted Simons: When you were writing this, did you think that your audience was the neophyte fan, the dedicated fans, somewhere in the middle?
Tricia Barr: I've used resource books as long as I can remember to write my own stories and just to enjoy the movies and the TV shows. So I used the resource books so I was thinking of those types of fans but this was also a new fan who would come in and want to start diving in. This is where you start. This is people who are working on "Star Wars," going to this resource now already.
Ted Simons: Same thing for you? I know so often when writers write, they have to have a vague idea of who they're writing for. Who are you writing for?
Adam Bray: Really, everyone. The great thing about this book is it's laid out chronologically so as you watch the movies in order, you can follow along in the book and meet the characters in the book as you see them on screen. So you can learn about them as you go.
Ted Simons: I've got to ask. How did you get involved in this? This is a major part of your life. What got you started?
Adam Bray: Well, I first fell in love with "Star Wars" when I was about three years old. I still remember seeing, you know, the fuzzy memories but I remember seeing it at a drive-in movie theater with my parents and my very first birthday that I remember was a Millennium Falcon and the first run of Star Wars action figures. It's a life's dream to be able to work on this.
Ted Simons: What about you?
Tricia Barr: My grandparents took me to see "Star Wars" in 1977 and so it was a family event. And I have sort of stayed in it for the family of fans that we have and I've always loved "Star Wars." This has been a passion.
Ted Simons: Do you still love it for the way it was back then or now do you appreciate the whole hero of a thousand faces and all that aspect to it?
Tricia Barr: I have a great aspect for the hero's journey and all that, that's embedded in it. I write mythology on my own blog. It's something that I think draws everybody into it.
Ted Simons: Real quickly, has your appreciation changed over the years?
Adam Bray: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It definitely has. When I was young and through much of my life the big draw for me was the aliens, the monsters and the robots. I loved the cantina scene. But as I write about "Star Wars," this is my third published book about "Star Wars," I'm going back and analyzing and getting a deeper understanding and a deeper love for what George Lucas was trying to do.
Ted Simons: Well, congratulations to both of you. It's a great publication. It's certainly substantial, and good luck on the new film, too.
Adam Bray: Thank you.
Ted Simons: And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great evening.
Adam Bray:Author, "The Ultimate Stars Wars"; Tricia Barr:Author, "The Ultimate Stars Wars";