As an adult Star Wars fan, a large-scale pop-up book spanning the ten existing theatrical live-action movies is not something that would ordinarily appeal to me, but like I’ve said recently on this site, Lucasfilm has been making an effort to catch up young would-be fans on the events of the saga before this winter’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released.
With that in mind, I have to say I was very impressed when I first opened Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy upon receiving a copy for review. Not only does it cover the broad strokes of Episodes I through VIII (plus Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story) across five intricate two-page “spreads” and twenty-four individual pop-up sections, but it does it in a way that is sure to capture kids’ imaginations and stick in their memories, likely helping to spur the beginning of a lifetime of Star Wars fandom.
Watch “Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy” Book Review:
Author Matthew Reinhart (Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, Frozen: A Pop-Up Adventure, and Pixar: A Pop-Up Celebration, among many others) is described as a “paper engineer” who abandoned his pursuit of a career in medicine to create children’s books– and based on my experience being amazed by his work with Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy, I can say it was probably worth it! Each section is packed with minutiae than any fan will appreciate, and most feature a pull-tab that activates some kind of fun hidden motion or reveal.
In this book, Reinhart has collaborated with illustrator Kevin M. Wilson (Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts) to craft a detailed, painstakingly rendered love letter to over four decades worth of Star Wars content. Each spread is dedicated to a certain era of the franchise, in narrative chronological order– you’ll first encounter the prequel trilogy with a giant pop-up Battle of Geonosis from Episode II: Attack of the Clones, next to smaller representations of the Battle of Naboo from The Phantom Menace, Anakin and Obi-Wan’s lightsaber duel from Revenge of the Sith, and other memorable moments from those films.
The next spread covers Solo, Rogue One, and Episode IV: A New Hope (AKA the original Star Wars) with a giant pop-up of the Death Star, accompanied by Lando’s Millennium Falcon, the Battle of Scarif, the Mos Eisley Cantina, and the Rebel base on Yavin 4. Then we move on to The Empire Strikes Back / Return of the Jedi period with a huge depiction of the Empire’s shield generator on Endor’s forest moon, plus the AT-AT attack on Hoth, Yoda’s hideout on Dagobah, the carbon freezing platform on Bespin, and Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge.
The final two spreads are devoted to the sequel trilogy installments made under Lucasfilm’s new parent company Disney, with the crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku from The Force Awakens and the Battle of Crait from The Last Jedi taking up most of the pop-up real estate on those pages. Considering the idea here is to prepare budding fans for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker– it’s marketed on the packaging as part of the “Journey to…” series– it makes perfect sense to commit so much space to the two most recent entries in the timeline. And while there are no real spoilers or teasers for Episode IX (other than a glimpse at some of the new starfighters), the book does conclude with this ominous forewarning: “The final battle is coming, with the fate of the galaxy in the balance.”
Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy would make a great gift for the young (or young-at-heart) Star Wars enthusiast in your life, and is available as of Tuesday, October 22 wherever books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.