Review: Rebel Files by Daniel Wallace

I’m a sucker for in-universe ‘non-fiction’ books. There’s just something fun about reading historic documents from the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Pair that up with the formation of the Rebellion and its early history and you’ve got a combination that might as well have been plucked out of my brain and put into book form.

While I can’t speak to the physical quality of the book and case, we were graciously sent an electronic review copy of Rebel Files to read through. And oh boy, this book is a treat. Throughout are in-universe conversations, journal entries, news clippings, schematics, and historical documents that document the birth and growth of Rebel Alliance. Much of it centers around Mon Mothma and peers into her mindset and struggles trying to keep the fledgling Alliance together in its early days.

Right at the beginning, we’re shown how political high command and military high command are structured. This may have been discussed in other media, but it’s fascinating to see it presented as a sketched out idea in Mon Mothma’s journal. This is just one of the many interesting details scattered throughout the book, all of which are captured by GFFA archivist Hendri Underholt. Split into multiple sections ¬†grouped by era, several underlying themes are discussed as abstracts.

What really makes this book enjoyable and fun is its central conceit, however. We’re being presented these historical Rebellion documents thirty years after the Battle of Yavin. Throughout the pages are “hand-written” notes from Admiral Ackbar, Poe Dameron, Ematt, Amilyn Holdo, and Leia Organa. So not only are we reading historical information from this universe, we’re getting commentary from Resistance leaders as they look back in time. I’m particularly taken with Poe’s occasional commentary on all things starfighter related that veers ever so occasionally into fanboy territory. I get you, Poe. I get you.

Of course, these sort of books always seem to contain new art, and Rebel Files does not disappoint here. Throughout are portraits, schematics, and scenes that add a lot of value to an already worthwhile book. One piece in particular that stuck out to me was a candid frame of the Ghost crew, season three era. Galaxy map fans? You’re covered here as well. Of course as a self-professed fleet junkie, my favorite parts of the book were the breakdowns of starfighters and starships used by the Rebellion and Empire.

Fans of multiple Star Wars touchpoints are going to find something in this book to enjoy. Clone Wars tie ins, links to Rogue One, plenty of Rebels. The previously mentioned annotations from Resistance leaders looking at this different eras is, and I’ll say it again, a tremendous amount of fun. So many different people and things went into the formation and success of the Rebel Alliance and this book takes great care to point that out.

Rebel Files wraps just prior to the Battle of Endor and concludes with a message Mon Mothma is set to deliver to the many and disparate members of the Rebellion. It feels like an appropriate place to conclude. Both we and the denizens of the Galaxy Far, Far Away know how the Battle of Endor ended. The leadup is what’s interesting.

Overall I’d say Rebel Files is a must-have, and that’s just from reading the book. The extras that come with the physical edition make an excellent concept even better. I strongly recommend fans give this book a go.

 

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