Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor
by Ryder Windham, Adam Bray
Published: October 24th 2017
Genres: Non-fiction, Star Wars
Format: Hardcover (176 pages)
Source: For Review
Foreword by John Boyega
Just in time for the next blockbuster, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this unique and beautifully designed compendium with removable features traces one of the franchise’s most iconic characters—the stormtrooper—from initial development through all nine Star Wars movies to their many iterations in TV, comics, videogames, novels, and pop-culture.
Star Wars: A New Hope, the very first installment in the beloved science-fiction series, introduced the Imperial stormtroopers—the army of the fearsome and tyrannical Galactic Empire. Charged with establishing Imperial authority and suppressing resistance, these terrifying, faceless, well-disciplined soldiers in white have become a universal symbol of oppression.
Star Wars Stormtroopers explores these striking warriors and their evolution in depth for the first time. Ryder Windham and Adam Bray trace the roots of their creation and design, and explore how these elite troops from a galaxy far, far away have been depicted in movies, cartoons, comics, novels, and merchandizing.
Filled with photographs, illustrations, story boards, and other artwork, this lavish officially licensed book comes complete with removable features, including posters, stickers, replica memorabilia and more, making it an essential keepsake for every Star Wars fan, as well as military, design, and film aficionados.
I wasn’t sure what Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor was about. How could you write an entire book about stormtroopers? Stormtroopers act robotic like droids except I would argue that droids have more personality. So I was surprised to find that this book is more of a history about the making of Star Wars with a stormtrooper focus that gives a story line to that huge amount of history. That focus helps make it interesting, but it suffers from listing a lot of things (mostly toys and how many versions they came in) for the sake of accuracy which made it tedious to read sometimes. Overall, I came away from Star Wars Stormtroopers with lots of fun facts and insights that I didn’t know before. Here are some of my favorite facts from the book:
- They released comics and novelizations before the first movie which wasn’t a common way to market movies back then.
- Boba Fett was first a super trooper stormtrooper design. It was so cool to see an all white Boba Fett. (The pictures in this book are great by the way).
- They based the AT-AT walkers movements on elephants.
- History of the stormtrooper toys released in the entire franchise (some of which seemed really cool and I kind of want them.)
- Fun details about Daniel Craig as a stormtrooper.
- Some hints at the end about the new stormtroopers coming up in The Last Jedi.
Stormtroopers are a blank slate and given the right setting they can be comical. There’s a great picture of toy stormtroopers posed on a lunch break at the office that made me wonder, are stormtroopers really that scary? Getting to know one stormtrooper when we have always seen them as this massive entity was such an interesting twist which makes Finn one of my favorite characters. John Boyega, who plays Finn, does a great introduction for this book. In 1995, there was a short story about the stormtrooper who had found the droid parts in Episode IV who becomes a spy for the rebellion. The book doesn’t go so far to say that Finn was inspired by this story, but I think it’s interesting how similar the stories are.
I was surprised that I hadn’t read that stormtrooper story before. In 1991, Lucas Licensing started publishing new stories called the expanded universe. This was my Young Adult fiction as a teen and I read every book they had at the library. I was beyond excited when in 1994 they announced that they were making more Star Wars movies. I felt like a part of history.
History is only boring if we don’t know why we should care about these names, dates, and facts. Context helps you care about those things and this history book (I know it’s about a movie, but still) could have used more context. Like on pg 74, it says about a video game that “Stormtrooper voices were all performed by Denny Delk.” Was this significant in some way? Should I know who that is? Or is it just a random fact that they’ve crammed in here so the nutrition label can say “complete facts for your 2000 calorie Star Wars diet”?
Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor is part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi series and it’ll help get your Star Wars fix while we are all waiting for the next movie to come out.
Book Review of Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor on a Post-it
I received this book for review from the publisher, Harper Design, in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own.