|Image Source: IB Times|
Dorling Kindersley, Disney Lucasfilm Press and various other publishers have this week announced the release of several new works of Star Wars literature, each falling under the collective umbrella of Journey to the Force Awakens.
Currently scheduled to launch on precisely the same date as J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, these tonally diverse texts will seemingly aim to cater for a variety of age demographics and sectors of the franchise's immense fandom. More importantly, though, they'll follow the lead of Chuck Wendig's prequel novel Aftermath and Marvel Comics' Shattered Empire series in delving into the events preceding the narrative of Abrams' oncoming cinematic juggernaut.
Official cover images for the tie-in products in question can be found over at StarWars.com at this very moment, but as one would expect from literary announcements of this ilk, with one or two exceptions (take a look at The Visual Dictionary's front-page spread for a particularly tantalising glimpse at a mysterious artefact known only as "Skywalker's Lightsabre"), it's the plot précises which Lucasfilm have seen fit to include alongside each text's front-page artwork that reveal the most thought-provoking details regarding The Force Awakens' sure-to-be complex storyline, all of which we've compiled below for your viewing delight. From the apparently turbulent nature of life on the desert planet Jakku to the circumstances behind the sudden union of ex-Stormtrooper Finn, enigmatic scavenger Rey and their newly-acquired, doubtless quirky astromech droid BB-8, there's no shortage of speculation-inducing information on offer here, although anyone hoping for concrete spoilers might have to remind themselves of Abrams' reputation for keeping schtum in this regard:
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Visual Dictionary - "The complete guide to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this Visual Dictionary reveals all of the characters, creatures, droids, locations, and technology."
- Star Wars: Before the Awakening "[...] An anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe [Dameron, aka the renowned X-Wing pilot recently glimpsed yelling out in triumph towards the end of Awakens' second full theatrical trail] before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
- Star Wars: Rey Meets BB-8 (For Level 1 Readers) - "Rey's life is turned upside down when she meets a little droid named BB-8."
- 5-Minute Star Wars Stories - "Blast off into hyperspace with these 11 action-packed Star Wars tales! Jedi Master Yoda has a lighsaber showdown with the dreaded Count Dooku; Luke Skywalker and the Rebels [or the Resistance, as they'll henceforth become known in each of the series' cinematic instalments starting with Awakens this Christmas] race against time to destroy the Death Star; and the brave but lonely Rey makes a new friend when she meets [...] BB-8. Each of these stories is the ideal length for reading aloud in five minutes - perfect for galactic adventures at lightspeed."
- Star Wars: Han & Chewie Return! - "Everyone's favourite smugglers are back! Han Solo and Chewbacca return in a heroic new adventure [...]."
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Rey's Survival Guide - "[...] Discover what you need to survive the hostile planet, Jakku. What secrets lurk inside the ship graveyard? What do you want to salvage? [...] Include gatefolds with exclusive artifacts including starship schematics and more!"
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Mix & Match - "Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, Poe, Rey and Finn are featured in this book that blends spectacular action with three-panel pages to create confounding combinations! [There are] more than 200 different ways to create crazy mash-ups between the Resistance and the First Order!"
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Flashlight Adventure Book - "[...] This box set features a board book with pop-ups on every spread, and a real working flashlight that plays five different sounds from Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
- Star Wars: Finn & Rey Escape! - "When Finn and Rey find themselves on the run, they must work together to escape from the evil First Order."
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Ultimate Sticker Collection - "Join the heroes of the galaxy on their amazing adventure. Explore incredible worlds, meet bizarre aliens, and face sinister new villains."
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Lightsaber Rescue - "The galaxy is in trouble again! Activate your lightsaber and join the fight! The [...] storybook features a non-removable lightsaber a non-removable lightsaber module with six sounds to bring the story of [the film] to life."
Each and every one of these Journey to the Force Awakens instalments will arrive on British and American book retailers' shelves just in time for Awakens' Stateside première this December 18th, and better yet, there's still the remaining chapters of Marvel's Shattered Empire saga (due to launch in fortnightly instalments between now and November) as well as DICE's much-anticipated video game tie-in Battlefront (out November 27th) to look forward to. It's a great time to call oneself a Star Wars devotee, in other words, and with more cinematic forays into George Lucas' seemingly limitless universe already pencilled in for the coming years, odds are that this franchise-wide renaissance of sorts won't come to a halt any time soon.