So, I’m that guy — the guy who clicks on every one of those online quizzes like “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Star Wars” and “10 Secret Star Wars Easter Eggs” and laughs. Questions about how many languages C-3P0 speaks, what cell block Princess Leia was held in, and Luke’s call sign number make me roll my eyes. That being said, I still click on them. I can’t help myself!
In all fairness, nowhere in the title of Dan Casey’s 2015 book 100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die does it say you might not already know (or have done) these things, although I learned more than I expected to.
100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die contains 100 chapters with a roughly 90/10 split between things you should know and things you should do. Each “chapter” is 3 or 4 pages long and covers a single subject. For the things you should know, Casey includes major characters, actors, items (like blasters and lightsabers), ships, people behind the scenes, and so on. Each of the seven movies also get their own chapters along with The Clone Wars, Rebels, and the infamous Holiday Special. There are also chapters dedicated to the Wilhelm Scream, the changes made to the special editions, Skywalker Ranch, and a summary of the Expanded Universe novels.
The chapters dedicated to things you should do are fairly sparse. Sprinkled throughout the book is a list of must-play Star Wars games, instructions on how to make your own Death Star scarf, a few Star Wars food and drink recipes, and a few others.
While hardcore Star Wars fans may not find much new material here, I liked the “bite-size” approach to the articles and actually did learn some things, mostly about less popular characters like Ahsoka Tano, Darth Plagueis, and Asajj Ventress. Likewise, I always enjoy reading behind the scene bits about people like John Dykstra, Lawrence Kasdan and Ralph McQuarrie, and was glad to see a few lesser-known names like Drew Struzan, Howard Kazanjian, and Charles Lippincott included as well.
If you’re a fan of almanac-style books (or Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers) and like Star Wars, this isn’t a bad book to own.