I received this book for free from the Publicist in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor by Ryder Windham, Adam Bray
Published by Harper Design on October 24 2017
Genres: Non Fiction, Science fiction
Format: Finished hardcover
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I’ve been a Star Wars fan since waaaay back when I saw A New Hope with my parents, and it’s amazing to look back over the years to see the influence George Lucas has had on our popular culture. When I was asked if I’d like to check out Harper Design’s newest book, Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor, I was very excited! These days I’m more into fiction than anything else, but I love “behind the scenes” books that explain the creation process, and this book was fascinating! The book itself is gorgeous, a beautifully designed and made, over-sized hardcover that starts at the very beginning and tells the story of the Stormtroopers from concept to design to realization to the final movies, all in full color with plenty of text to go along with the photos. I’m including several photos I took of my copy, but believe me, these do not do the book justice at all!
The book opens on a personal note with a Forward by actor John Boyega, who plays the part of Finn in The Force Awakens. He tells about how he found out he’d been given the part, the first days acting on set in Abu Dhabi, and the excitement of attending fan events. It’s a great opening that sets the stage for the next part, where George Lucas hires artist Ralph McQuarrie to create concept art of what the Stormtroopers should look like.
I was surprised by the long process of creating the Stormtrooper “look” from a concept on paper, to three dimensional models, to designing the costume. That look changed many times from those first attempts to the finished product that we’re all familiar with. Costume designers worked long and hard to make sure the many pieces of the costume would be able to fit many different sizes of actors, and they eventually settled on a costume that could be put on in about five minutes.
Developing and designing the Stormtrooper helmet was a completely different process, and over the years the helmet was adjusted to become more comfortable for the actors who had to wear them for hours. Authors Ryder Windham and Adam Bray give the reader lots of behind-the-scenes tidbits, and include movie stills like the ones in the photo above.
Of course, any fan of the Star Wars franchise is well aware of the toys created from the movies. Many of those toys celebrated the Stormtroopers themselves, and if you’re a die-hard toy collector, you may even have some of these items!
There is plenty of information about Star Wars toys, which I won’t go into here, but rest assured if that is of interest to you, then the chapters on toy collecting will not disappoint you!
The other interesting thing I wanted to touch on here, something I was not aware of before I read this book, is that there is a big group of Stormtrooper cosplayers who call themselves the 501st Legion, who show up in force at Star Wars events and even visit children’s hospitals and participate in charity work. Members come from all over the world, and each one proudly wears the Stormtrooper costume when they attend public events. I personally have never seen this group in action, but apparently they’ve been in the Pasadena Rose Parade, attending Comic Cons and movie premieres, and much more. For movie fans, it seems like a wonderful way to participate beyond the borders of the big screen.
The last thing I wanted to mention was that in the back of the book is an envelope with removable items! Sort of an interactive part of the book. There is a reproduction of a storyboard, a bit of a Star Wars comic, a Stormtrooper toy backer card and more. It’s just one more detail that the publisher added to make this book even more special.
I’ve barely touched on everything between the covers of this book, but I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to check it out for yourself. Since we’re deep into the holiday shopping season, this would make a wonderful gift for your favorite Star Wars fan!
Big thanks to Wunderkind PR and Harper Design for providing a copy of the book for review.