Sunday, January 8, 2017

Read, You Must: Rogue One Rebel Dossier

Transmission incoming…

Promising “Info & Intel on the Rebellion’s Bravest Band of Spies”, Rogue One: Rebel Dossier is a 64-page look at the characters and situations of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story told through "top secret" documents, schematics and data files, now available from Disney/Lucasfilm Press.

The story of Rebel Dossier is revealed through communications back and forth between rebel leaders. The Rebel Alliance suspect the Empire is testing a new super-weapon and have spies throughout the galaxy searching for information. “Operation Fracture” is the code name given to the attempt to learn the truth, including the search for Jyn Erso, the rescue of Galen Erso and more. 

Rebel Dossier’s story runs parallel with the way things unfold in Rogue One but told from different perspectives. The Rebels clearly aren’t as united as they could be and there is much disagreement over what to do about the Empire’s growing strength. Eventually the truth comes out and is more terrifying than imagined: the Death Star is real!
General Draven: Seriously Concerned about Jyn Erso

Written by frequent Star Wars author Jason Fry (Weapon of a Jedi, Rey’s Survival Guide, The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections), Rebel Dossier is full of photos and intelligence data about Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2SO and the rest of the rebels of Rogue One.

Fry is terrific as usual as he tells this story in an unconventional way. Here the rebel leaders who may have had only a few moments in the film, like Commander Mothma, General Dodonna, General Draven and Bail Organa, tell their side of the story. The conversations feel authentic to what they must’ve had to discuss between the movie scenes. The urgency builds as it becomes clearer to the characters, and the reader, what the Empire is truly attempting to do.

There are moments in Rebel Dossier which help clarify some of the situations of the film that go by too fast for explanation, and some that just expand on what is on-screen. The perspective here is entirely on what the rebels know or are trying to learn, so there is much mystery inside about Krennic, Darth Vader and the Empire's plans. A folllow-up book from the Imperial side of the story could be interesting to read too!

In some cases, the communiques are from characters that (though important the Rebel Alliance in other stories) are not even seen in the movie, including General Airen Cracken, Major Arhul Hextrophon, and Lt. Voren Na’al - names which will be familiar for longtime Star Wars fans. Fry also has some fun with the text, even making a little nod to his Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire book series by referring to Vader as the most dangerous "servant of the Empire".

The description of this book suggests it will be something like the like the scrapbook-type books like Rey’s Survival Guide and Ezra’s Rebel Journal. Unfortunately that’s not the case because everything looks pretty much the same, which was the only disappointment. It feels more like a magazine layout than a dossier of intelligence “files”. It could’ve been more creative with messages actually looking like they came from different sources, printouts, fold-out schematics, etc.

Also the book is quite dark in look, with some pages featuring blue text over black backgrounds making reading difficult at times. Then again, these are top secret documents we shouldn't be reading anyway...

Design problems aside, Rebel Dossier is a fun and fast-paced alternative way to look at the events of Rogue One.

Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 8 - 12

Also by Jason Fry:

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