Author: Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: 26 August
In our consumerist society, one truism that has been evangelically observed is that with success, inevitably comes the merchandise. Star Wars is no exception; visit a car boot sale, and you’re more than likely to come across a Jar Jar Binks pez, Darth Vader shoe-shine, or a C-3P0 lampshade. In short, most tie-in merchandise is eventual garbage, destined for a landfill near you.
When Star Wars plays to its strength as a creative property, however, the brand remains more powerful than ever. Just look at the numerous books, comic-books, videogames, TV and TV series that have expanded the saga from the 40-odd years of the film into a mythology spanning tens of thousands of years. The Jedi Path aims to provide a general outline of this timeline, placing the galaxy in the context of the Jedi, forever the saga’s backbone, and tracing the history of the eponymous Jedi through their early origins, right up to their eventual downfall and subsequent rebirth into the New Jedi Order.
This historical retelling takes the guise of a training manual for prospective and training Jedi, detailing the history of the order, an analysis of the order’s hierarchy, and practical guides, such as how to construct your own lightsaber. Included within are annotated notes from renowned Jedi, including the likes of Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke and Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, as well as the likes of Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. As well as providing amusing and (occasionally heavy-handed) ironic asides, their notes serve to retrospectively highlight the faults of the Jedi Order, painting its eventual fall from grace as an inevitability rather than a surprise.
Obviously, crafting a complete and concise history of the Star Wars galaxy is a nigh-on impossible task – visit Wookieepedia for as good a guide as you’re going to get – but even if this won’t provide anything new in the way of information for the most obsessive of Star Wars fans, it does at least provide some context for those confused by the daunting nature of the Expanded Universe. Areas of knowledge not explored in the films like the Jedi trials and the Agricultural Corps are neatly summarised, and alternative force users, like the Witches of Dathomir and the Baran Do, are alluded to.
Another impressive feature is the attention to detail. Presented in thick paper in a rustic-style handbook, the wear and tear makes it genuinely believable that this has been passed on down the centuries. Furthermore, it looks as if genuine effort and research has been put into making this something Star Wars fans would want to keep, rather than making it a cheap opportunist knock-off.
With removable features including a severed Padawan braid, a Jed starfighter path and a lightsaber diagram, here you have a piece of Star Wars merchandise that is genuinely appealing, rather than something that has been hurriedly put together. As both a fun piece of fiction and something a bit more sturdy, The Jedi Path comes highly recommended.