5 Things I Learned from the 'Star Wars Character Encyclopedia'

Fascinating details about residents of a galaxy far, far away

DK Publishing's Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia has been updated and expanded with content from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This 224-page book is packed with details on more than 200 characters from the Star Wars galaxy. It was written by Simon Beecroft, who wrote the original entries, and Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo, who updated those entries and added all of the new ones from Force Awakens.

The full-color book gives each character their own page, but it's worth noting that it focuses exclusively on characters from the films. Content from other materials, such as the animated TV shows, novels, and comics, are all but absent. Hidalgo told StarWars.com that this is due to the nature of the book, which is intended to fit certain size and format requirements (likely to maintain a specific price point).

Below are some details I was fascinated to learn about five side characters from The Force Awakens, but this is just a tiny taste of what's contained in the Character Encyclopedia.

Want to win a copy of Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia? Just follow me on Twitter. I'll randomly pick one follower on Twitter to win sometime before May the 4th, 2016. Note that this contest prize can only be shipped to U.S. residents, to a physical street address (no P.O. Boxes).

01
of 05
ME-8D9

'Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia' cover art
'Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia' cover art. DK Publishing

This female protocol droid serves at Maz's Castle, and has been there longer than Maz herself. She translates indiscriminately for visitors to the castle, regardless of the legality of their dealings.

What's most intriguing about "Emmie," as she's called, is that she's been "reprogrammed countless times" over the centuries, to the point that she can no longer remember her original function. But page 134 says that occasionally little bits of her past sometimes surface as a glitch due to her extreme age. At one time she was an assassin, and in her original function, she may have even served the Jedi Order.

02
of 05
Bobbajo

Bobbajo
Bobbajo. Lucasfilm Ltd.

You may remember seeing this old wandering alien on Jakku. His name is Bobbajo, and according to page 30, his species is "Nu-Cosian." He's known for two things, which he's also acquired other names/titles for:

  1. As the Crittermonger, he sells exotic animals that he acquires from some of the most dangerous areas in the region. These are carried on his back in a stack of cages.
  2. As the Storyteller, he likes to "spin long and unlikely yarns." Despite their hard-to-believe quality, Bobbajo's genteel nature attracts plenty of listeners.

03
of 05
Grummgar

Grummgar
'Grummgar' page from 'Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia'. DK Publishing

This humongous member of the "Dowutin" species is a fixture at Maz's Castle. He uses his incredible size and brute strength as a game hunter, always seeking his next trophy.

According to his profile on page 92, Grummgar has no qualms with violating anti-poaching regulations anywhere in the galaxy, though he draws the line at hunting intelligent species.

04
of 05
Bazine Netal

Bazine Netal
Bazine Netal in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Remember the woman sitting with Grummgar in Maz's Castle? The one who ratted out BB-8's presence there to the First Order? Page 25 reveals that her name is Bazine Netal, and there's an official short story that reveals more about her.

She's also in the Character Encyclopedia, where you can learn that she's an expert hand-to-hand fighter. That form-fitting dress she wears is more than just eye candy; the spiraling, diamond patterns on it are lined with something called "battleweave," which jams sensors, allowing her to operate without being seen by scanners.

05
of 05
Guavian Death Gang Soldiers

Guavian Death Gang soldier
'Guavian Security Soldier' page from 'Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia'. DK Publishing

Remember the guys with heads that look like red light bulbs? They're the foot soldiers of the Guavian Death Gang, and everything about them is both illegal and highly dangerous.

Page 93 reveals that they're cybernetically-enhanced, a procedure that appears to erase their sense of individual identity. They never speak, communicating only via signals sent from the disks on the front of their helmets.

An illegal, secret chemical mixture is injected into their blood to make them faster and more aggressive. They wield prototype weapons acquired from the black market.

 

Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia is available now.