This is one of the most exciting reviews I’ve ever gotten to write, because it’s the first time I have gotten to read a book before its official release date! It’s also one of the strangest because it’s a traveler’s guide to a place I cannot currently visit no matter how much I may want to.
But that will be changing soon, as Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both scheduled to reopen in July. Which means Galaxy’s Edge will be open to galactic travelers once again. And any galactic traveler needs a good guide. Enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Traveler’s Guide to Batuu.
Written by Cole Horton, this guide is written in-universe from the perspective of Eloc Thorno, a galactic adventurer sharing his knowledge of Batuu. This is one of the more intriguing things about this guide. It’s not just written like Frommer’s guide – it’s told from the first-person point of view of a fictional character in this universe. It adds a level of authenticity to the story.
Which leads to another layer of this book that I found fascinating. Everything at Disney is done with an element of story in mind. Even down to the Disney Springs shopping district, there is a story behind everywhere you visit. This is one of the first times in my memory that we get an entire book that really just takes you inside the story.
Piggybacking on this idea of story, if you’ve read Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, there are a number of areas in this guide that will be cool little “hey, I remember that!” moments (if you haven’t read it, you can catch up right here). From entries on the Gatherers to mention of a possible Resistance base, there are plenty of tie-ins to that story. And, of course, Vi Moradi makes an appearance in the guide.
Getting back to the guide itself, it’s broken into nine sections: Explore Batuu, Explore Black Spire Outpost, Land Port, Merchant Row, Docking Bay 9, The Spaceport, The Market, The Forest, and Quick Reference Guide. I was excited right off the bat to see that a map of the Galaxy was included, something I sorely miss in a lot of the current era of Star Wars books.
The book includes a ton of interesting tidbits about Galaxy’s Edge, from design elements and why certain things were chosen to short bios of many characters you’ll meet. It even gives you hints to some Easter Eggs you’ll find as you explore the land, including one very fun connection to the original Star Tours attraction. I’m going to make you read the book to figure out what those might be though. Also peppered throughout are little entries about other areas of the Galaxy, often connecting to the movies (biographies on some main characters like General Leia Organa, for example).
Throughout the guide, you’ll find diagrams to lightsabers and many different ships. These are presented in a blueprint type format and will teach you some of the parts of these to prepare you for the detail you’ll encounter when you’re there in person.
The photography and art are stellar throughout. The photos give you a wonderful glimpse of Galaxy’s Edge in its earliest days, and you may not see Galaxy’s Edge with this absence of tourists ever again. The art, especially the art at the front of each section, is just beautiful.
The Quick Reference Guide at the end I found to be one of my favorite parts of the book. It starts by giving you a guide to Aurebesh, helping you translate the writings you’ll find in Galaxy’s Edge. It also gives you a guide to the holidays celebrated in Black Spire Outpost, each one coinciding with a celebration on our real-life calendar. There’s a list of helpful phrases that you may encounter during your visit and what each one means, and there’s even a guide to some games played on Batuu (along with the instructions to play the local flavor of Sabacc).
Now, how useful is this book as an actual guide? I think for your first advenutre to Batuu, especially if you’re not familiar with some of the more detailed aspects of Canon, this will be incredibly helpful. From reading this guide, I can tell you that Galaxy’s Edge wasn’t just plopped onto some available land. It was meticulously planned and includes some wonderful connections to Star Wars books, movies, and shows. Having this on-hand will help you make those connections and appreciate all that Galaxy’s Edge has to offer. There are so many things I wouldn’t even know to look for without having checked out this guide.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Traveler’s Guide to Batuu releases on digital June 23, 2020, and is coming in a hardcover edition on July 21, 2020. It’s suggested retail price is $19.99, but I have found it a number of places for less than that ($14 or less on Amazon, for starters).
If you have a trip to Galaxy’s Edge planned once the parks start to reopen, I think this guide is a wonderful, reasonably priced companion for you to take with you, especially on your first visit or two. It’s also just a fun way to see what’s been built and brought to life, even if you don’t have immediate plans to visit.
Visit the official site, complete with links to everywhere you can purchase.