Thursday, January 10, 2019


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This movie geek is always fascinated to learn details from science fiction films that further bring these motion pictures to life beyond the silver screen. I love to read books that share background biographies about characters, blueprints of vehicles, maps of locations and other details that expand upon the scenes shown in films and provide a greater glimpse into these fantastic settings. So I am really geeked about a new book that The Quarto Group sent my way to peruse called STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious by Pablo Hidalgo.

This book is filled with law enforcement investigative files from three time periods in Star Wars canon: (1) Clone Wars and the fall of the Old Republic, (2) the Empire, and (3) the New Republic created after The Return of the Jedi. Star Wars: Scum and Villainy introduces readers to the Divo clan where they learn about the experiences of Tan Divo (an Old Republic Police Investigator on Coruscant whose assignments included looking into the assassination attempt on Senator Amidala in Star Wars Episode II), his daughter Andressa Divo (who served as an Imperial Security Bureau Agent whose caseload involved hunting for terrorist Saw Gerrera), and her son Exantor Divo (Police Commissioner on Hosnian Prime at the time of the planet's destruction in Star Wars: Episode VII).

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Hidalgo, a creative executive in the Lucasfilm Story Group that is responsible for the development of Star Wars storytelling across all mediums, including feature films, animated television, video games, novels, comic books, and more, is obviously the perfect author for this book that delves into the exploits of notorious criminals through out the saga. He has crafted case reports which make up the bulk of this book that engrain these three new characters into  Star Wars' canon of feature films,  television shows, comic books, and novels.

These case reports include written memos, surveillance images, artifacts, warrants and other evidence compiled during the Devos' criminal investigations of the likes of Doctor Aphra (Marvel Comics), Cornelius Evazan (Star Wars: Episode IV / Star Wars: Rogue One), Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episodes II, V, VI), Moloch of the White Worms Hold (Star Wars: A Solo Story) and the Guavian Death Gang mercenaries (Star Wars: Episode VII) that expand upon the back stories of these rogues and enhance the backdrop of the Star Wars galaxy where the space opera takes place.

Scum and Villainy expands beyond the military conflicts that are often the focus of Star Wars and delves into the seedy side of this galaxy that includes gangsters in the dank lower levels of Coruscant, smugglers making the Kessel Run, pirates preying upon vessels at hyperspace jump points, and organized crime syndicates taking advantage of the less civilized areas within the Outer Rim of the galaxy's explored space. I appreciated that this book wasn't adding more details about the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and Rebel Alliance but rather examined the Star Wars galaxy from another perspective.

Of all the characters in Star Wars, my favorite one isn't actually from a movie but rather from the Clone Wars cartoons. For years my kids and I shared an enjoyment of Star Wars watching a new episode of Clone Wars each week. It really was some special family time spent together during the years this show was on TV. My favorite character is a bounty hunter named Cad Bane from that show who presented himself with a wild west attitude and always seemed to get the best of anyone he encountered. No wonder Tan Divo describes Cad Bane as the "best bounty hunter in the business" in File 7956.901.3 in his case files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious.

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Other aspects of this book that I found really interesting was learning more about the red-clad Guavian Death Gang mercenaries that were chasing after Han Solo and Chewbacca in The Force Awakens, the doctor and his monstrous walrus looking friend that assaulted Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley cantina during A New Hope, and the Enfy's Nest Cloud Riders from Solo: A Star Wars Story. I also enjoyed how Hidalgo included elements from Marvel's publications into Scum and Villainy including a segment about the Megalox Beta prison pulled from a story arc in the Poe Dameron comic book and including Doctor Aphra within a Imperial Security Bureau dossier that is connected to a story in a Darth Vader series.

I've also always been a fan of the bounty hunters featured in The Empire Strikes back so really enjoyed reading through the case files in the book about Bossk, Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, Zuckuss and 4-LOM. In addition to hiring them, the Empire was also keeping close tabs on these bounty hunters as well. These bounty hunters are also some of my favorite characters from the Star Wars galaxy.

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As a kid, I had a book full of Star Wars artwork by the concept artist Ralph McQuarrie that I would flip through the pages over and over again examining all the details of his incredible illustrations and imagining exploring alien worlds in outer space. Having the chance to see some of McQuarrie's original Star Wars sketches during an exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2018 was one of my personal highlights from that year. So have to say that my favorite aspect of Scum and Villainy is the book's artwork.

STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious has 120 original illustrations within it that were created just for this book. From an image of New Republic police officers on patrol to a reproduction of the view from a surveillance camera at Canto Bight, I found the art in this book captivating. Much of the artwork has a McQuarrie style to it that I especially found appealing being that his concept art really created the sense of place for the overall Star Wars galaxy.  There is also artwork though that has its own vibe in the book too including an energetic group shot of the Krayt's Claw gang and imagery of a cloud rider swoop that appears as if it is a photograph of a real version of this sci-fi vehicle. The artwork is what truly earned the book nod of approval.

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STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious is from EPIC INK, an imprint of the Quarto publishing company. Epic Ink is known for publishing deluxe, collectible books that celebrate entertainment and pop-culture brands through incredible artwork, in-depth information and original content. Scum and Villainy is a 128 page hardcover book that does just that and is sure to delight Star Wars fans. It will have you scouring through its pages from cover to cover garnering all sorts of interesting details about the most notorious criminals from a galaxy far, far away. The book also includes a sturdy plastic slip cover to protect the book and make its front cover stand out.

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For more information about the book or to find out where you can buy it, head over to

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