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The Star Wars Vault    by Stephen J. Sansweet & Peter Vilmur order for
Star Wars Vault
by Stephen J. Sansweet
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year, the Star Wars franchise is in a similar predicament to the time after the release of Return of the Jedi: no plans for future movies, apart from a continuing animated series of the Clone Wars. By the same token, fans are in the same state with little to anticipate. Thankfully, to commemorate the third decade of the blockbuster movie series, here's The Star Wars Vault, filled with 'Thirty Years of Treasures from the Lucasfilm Archives, With Removable Memorabilia and Two Audio CDs'.

Sansweet keeps his story short, taking up little room on the page, and leaving the evidence reproduced here in various forms to speak for itself. He begins with the fascinating tale of how the first movie, Star Wars Episode IV, barely made it to release, and with little support, until an enormous audience proved the studio executives very wrong. While Sansweet spends less time on the development and release of the rest of the movies, the experience as one turns the pages and relives the history of the Star Wars empire is unlike that of any other. With unique photos, movie posters, and a plethora of pictures from around the world, there are innumerable insets and handouts of unique items like patches, stickers, collectible postcards, film cells, and even two audio CDs with a variety of different pieces ranging from the mid-eighties radio ads, to special interviews, to a recording of the song sung by Carrie Fisher for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.

This is not just a nicely decorated picture book in a sturdy slipcase; it's an experience, a journey that one immediately embarks upon after opening up the cover. The Star Wars Vault is one of the new style of pictorial book being published, like 1776: The Illustrated Edition, where the book goes beyond glossy, colorful pictures and photos to incorporate all types of media. And with the rich heritage of the Star Wars franchise which literally revolutionized the world of merchandising, this is a gift that would be highly welcomed by any fan of the series, no matter their age. While the price is considerable, no one will regret it when they turn the pages to discover the world within. The Star Wars Vault is a book that will be read immediately, and added to an accessible shelf to be rediscovered over and over again.

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