One of the most incredible things about Star Wars has to be its versatility. Not only does the story itself weave effortlessly through genre and structure, but it also flows between mediums of all kinds.

Star Wars:The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy cover
Star Wars:The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy cover

Throughout the last forty-two years, we have experienced George Lucas’s universe in films, tv shows, novels, comics, video games, and more. Working at Youtini, I thought I had witnessed almost every type of Star Wars media, but I’m here to say that I was wrong.

Enter Insight Editions and Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart & Kevin M. Wilson.

I can’t claim to be an expert on the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into creating pop-up books, but after exploring the ins and outs of The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy, I can confirm that the creation of such a book is exactly that: an art.

As this book is as much a piece of artwork as it is a written text, I would be remiss not to mention the striking piece that greets you on the cover. The top is emblazoned with the Journey to the Rise of Skywalker logo (promising some enticing sneak peeks inside), and the mural beneath wonderfully illustrates some of our favorite moments from the saga. Kylo Ren’s helmet stands majestically to the left as Obi-Wan & Anakin duel opposite his fearsome gaze. Rey’s powerful pose shines light onto the medal ceremony from A New Hope, and the Battle of Crait brings us home beneath it all.

Before opening this beautiful cover, I was greeted (thankfully) with a page of instructions on how to properly experience the pop-up. As opposed to classic books of this type, the frankly gargantuan pieces that Insight create are meant to be displayed and experienced at their full majesty which required my entire dining room table. Step by step, I followed the instructions that required me to occasionally turn the book, unlatch some flaps, and carefully open some delicate folds to witness the entirety of the diorama that was created.

Once the entire book was revealed, I began to dig through each individual page, and this is where the fun truly began. Every episode of the saga is given a scene with incredibly beautiful construction by Matthew Reinhardt and astonishingly detailed artwork courtesy of Kevin M. Wilson. Each individual diorama faithfully replicates a location from each film, and every building and structure features a number of arrows directing you to gently pull in order to reveal new secrets.

The full Pop-Up Book on display
The full Pop-Up Book on display

Sometimes these hidden sections will reveal new characters, other times, they fundamentally shift the nature of the scene. Your movements can cause explosions, unearth secret rooms, and even alter the fate of our favorite characters.

However, if you’re going through this book with some younglings, I would highly suggest going through the book by yourself first in order to prevent any damage in relation to these intricate structures. Due to the incredible construction of the book, there are a mind-blowing number of extra flaps, folds, creases, and pieces connected by small strands of delicate, easily rippable paper. Even though I was extremely careful in my own perusal of the pop-up, I still noticed a few tears that occurred as I went through.

Additionally, some of the hidden pulls may need a little nudge from an adult now and then in order to help fully reveal their treasures. Occasionally, some of the pulls would get stuck as I was trying to figure out what they were actively attempting to change about the diorama, and smaller hands may try some aggressive negotiations in similar scenarios to dire effects.

This is not to say that the entirety of the pop-up book is exceedingly fragile. The internal structures of each scene hold up beautifully through both unpacking and repacking (which was surprisingly easy), but I would just make sure not to let the excited adrenaline cause any undue wear and tear to this fine piece. For easier reading in this regard, the book may also be read like a more traditional pop-up rather than witnessing the full diorama. With this view, you can use a bit less space and perhaps exercise a little more control in your unwrapping of certain scenes.

A sample page from the pop-up book
A sample page from the pop-up book

In addition to the artwork contained within this book, each set of pages contains a few blurbs about the films that are represented. Bite size descriptions of our favorite scenes will be more than enough to create a context for pop-up explorers that may not be quite as familiar with the source material as others, and I found them to be a fun introduction to each new exploration.

Finally, as the cover promises, the pop-up does contain a small section dedicated to some surprises from The Rise of Skywalker, but I’ll let you open that tab for yourself. It certainly broadened the smile on my face.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy could be a perfect gift for someone who simply wants to spend more time with their favorite saga before its conclusion. The book combines a wonderful sense of nostalgia with incredible engineering and beautiful artwork to create a slightly delicate package that will have you exploring its intricacies for hours on end.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy is available now, and you can help support Youtini by ordering it from Amazon using our affiliate link HERE.

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