Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View
Published By: Del Rey Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I remember it like it was yesterday – my dad surprising me with a trip to the RKO movie theater, just us two about to embark on an adventure in a galaxy far, far away. It was the first time my father ever took me to see a movie by himself and it was a special moment for the two of us. We headed to the balcony to see what would become an amazing hit and my favorite film of all time – Star Wars…or as it is now called, Star Wars: A New Hope. No matter how many Star Wars films have been produced over the years, A New Hope has always been my favorite, as much for the nostalgic reasons as for the story, action and adventure. Forty years later, a new anthology of stories has been put together to celebrate that same film: Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View.
Boasting that it contains “40 Stories Celebrating 40 Years of Star Wars,” Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View features short stories set during A New Hope by artists such as Meg Cabot, Greg Rucka, Chuck Wendig, Wil Wheaton, Christie Golden, Pablo Hidalgo, Delilah S. Dawson, John Jackson Miller, Ian Doescher, Alexander Greed, Claudia Grey and more. As if that wasn’t special enough, each of the participating authors decided to forego compensation for their contributions. Proceeds from the sale of Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View were donated to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books, learning materials and other important items to educators and organizations serving children in need. So, not only was I about to embark on an entertaining read set during my favorite film’s time period, but I was also doing some good in purchasing the thing! Score!
The stories, though written by different authors, are arranged to take place in order of the events as they take place in the film. For instance, Gary Whitta’s Raymus takes place as the Tantive IV is racing away from Scarif with the Death Star plans. The story is told from Captain Raymus Antilles’ point of view. You might remember Raymus as the man Darth Vader dangled from one hand while asking where the intercepted plans were…or the ominous crack of the man’s windpipe as he died. Christie Golden’s The Bucket is told from a stormtrooper’s point of view as he participates in capturing Princess Leia aboard the Tantive IV and the change this capture inspires in his way of thinking. You get the idea, right? We see the events of A New Hope in someone other than Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia or Han Solo’s eyes.
This means traveling to the sands of Tatooine, the rough and tumble Mos Eisley Cantina, Alderaan, the Death Star Detention Center just prior to and during the rescue of Princess Leia, Yavin IV before, during and after the destruction of the Death Star and more. We see things from the point of view of stormtroopers, Death Star technicians and officers, Tusken Raiders, Jawa, Aunt Beru, R5D4, various denizens of the Mos Eisley Cantina, Boba Fett, a Death Star maintenance droid, Biggs Darklighter, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, the dianoga living in the garbage chute on the Death Star and more.
I had a great time reading this book – one of the longest Star Wars books I’ve read at over 450 pages. That’s not to say I didn’t find some stuff I could get annoyed at. If you are a Star Wars fan of any length of time and were into all of the books that came out in the 90s, then you would remember Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, a book compiling stories of various characters found at the Mos Eisley Cantina. In other words, these characters’ points of view had already been covered. The stories found in From A Certain Point of View negate those found in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. I find this…to put it in Star Wars terminology…disturbing. The stories found in the new book create different back stories for these characters, different reasons for being in the cantina and different interactions with other beings in the cantina. This bothered me immensely.
That being said, there are a lot of great stories to be had in From A Certain Point of View, like Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy that tells the tale of a Jawa and his yearning for more than the sandcrawler thanks to the memories of one astromech droid. The Red One by Rae Carson tells the story of R5D4 and the incredible sacrifice he makes just to ensure that R2D2 ends up with Luke Skywalker. Meg Cabot’s Beru Whitesun Lars speaks to Beru’s thoughts at the hour of her death and how she felt about life with Owen and Luke. An Incident Report by Mallory Ortberg is Admiral Motti’s point of view of that monumental scene where Vader shows all at the table the power of the Force. You actually feel sorry for the Death Star mouse droid in Glen Weldon’s Of MSE-6 and Men. Then there is Eclipse by Madeleine Roux which tells the final moments of Bail and Breha Organa and the heartbreaking Laina by Wil Wheaton about a rebel on Yavin IV who unwittingly sends his daughter into destruction by shipping her safely to Alderaan. There are just so many great stories to talk about in this book and it all ends with a rather funny poke at George Lucas and the other Star Wars film creators in Whills by Tom Angleberger.
True Star Wars fans and rabid fans of all things A New Hope are going to definitely want to get their hands-on Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View. Just as in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina and various other Star Wars anthologies, From A Certain Point of View will have you reminiscing on certain scenes from the film with some new knowledge imparted on by a variety of writers, all with a distinct love of the Star Wars galaxy. The hardcover format is a tad expensive, but well worth every dollar spent!