Dan Wallace’s “Star Wars: The Rebel Files” is a great behind-the-scenes look into the political machinations of the Rebel Alliance.
If you’re a Star Wars junkie who always wanted to know the behind-the-scenes political machinations of the Rebel Alliance, Star Wars: The Rebel Files by Dan Wallace might be just the book for you.
It’s somewhat similar to JK Rowlings’ Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in that it’s a companion book with details that wouldn’t necessarily be found in the main novel or movie.
Rebel Files is very much in the vein of Wallace’s previous Star Wars books The Jedi Path, Book of Sith, Bounty Hunter Code, and Imperial Handbook. It’s kind of a repository of information that’s important to the history of the Rebel Alliance that had been stored in a secure vault.
Think of it as if the book had been compiled during the Original Trilogy era and then stored away, only to be found again during the time at the beginning of the Sequel Trilogy. So not only do some of the entries have notes from a younger Princess Leia, it also features notes from a more mature General Leia as well, plus characters like Amylin Holdo and Poe Dameron.
It has references to characters, battles and events in Start Wars Rebels, Rogue One, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, plus the new-canon books and comics, all from a Rebel perspective.
The through-line of the book is Mon Mothma’s journal with annotations by a junior aide. The reader gets a really cool insight into Mothma’s internal thoughts plus her communication with the aide. As the book progresses, you see the aide progress from a young, inexperienced intern five years before the Battle of Yavin all the way to the Battle of Endor where the aide is now a full-fledged Rebel operative in her own right. You can really tell Wallace spent a lot of time on that.
More than just Mon Mothma’s journals
But Star Wars: The Rebel Files is not just Mon Mothma’s journals; it’s also a compilation of items like memos, news headlines, Imperial press releases, and more, each one with a very distinct design.
For instance, there’s a memo regarding the Ion Cannon used during the battle of Hoth from the Rebel Alliance Finance Minister to Mon Mothma questioning the “fiscal sanity of those who thought we should install it there in the first place. It wasn’t modular; it wasn’t mobile. Our engineers spent a month hollowing out an ice chamber to accommodate its capacitor banks. That’s an additional expense I haven’t even accounted for yet.”
This is the kind of nitty-gritty details that Wallace goes into in the book that anyone who’s ever worked as an accountant or government budget analyst (or a journalist who covers government budget analysts) would find particularly fascinating.
Another snippet that jumps out is a holonet article excerpt with the headline “What Just Happened on Tatooine?” that talks about the rumors swirling that Jabba the Hutt had been assassinated (but doesn’t mention “Huttslayer” Leia Organa).
There are also short memos from Ackbar to Mon Mothma recommending that Lando Calrissian lead the starfighter attack on the second Death Star, as well as one from General Draven to Mon Mothma over the possibility that Alliance Intelligence feared — ultimately correctly — that the planned attack could be an Imperial trap.
Another cool part of Star Wars: The Rebel Files is a memo from Gen. Madine to Mon Mothma recommending the personnel that would take part in the ground assault against the shield complex on Endor. One of the commandos recommended is Sergeant Kes Dameron, whose name Poe circles and writes: “Hey! That’s my dad! And Mom would have been prepping her X-wing right around this time.”
The book also has several pages scattered about devoted to combat tactics depending on the environment, be it a snowy Hoth or a jungle environment like Endor.
For fans of The Last Jedi, there’s even a brief section on the Crait Base that features a memo from a lieutenant to Gen. Dodonna regarding the original evacuation of Crait with a note from a now-older Leia.
Another cool document featured in the book is a “Resolution of Censure” against Saw Gerrera and his partisans, something which a fan of not just Rogue One but also Star Wars Rebels, particularly the final season, would find particularly hits that geek funny-bone.
If you’re an engineer, the book also sports schematics of Rebel bases like Yavin, Hoth, etc plus fighter starcraft like the X-wing, U-Wing, and others, plus capital ships like Star Destroyers, Mon Calamari cruisers and more.
If you want to drop US$80 on the Deluxe Edition — with really cool removable extras like a brochure for Kuat Drive Yards, a rebel intake card for Lando Calrissian, the prison intake document for Jyn Erso and more — it’s available now.
The regular hardback book will be available for purchase on July 3rd.
Dan Wallace’s Star Wars: The Rebel Files is the ultimate geek guide to the internal thinking of the Rebel leadership, particularly Mon Mothma, and any political junkie who likes the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes details about managing a rebellion in a Galaxy Far, Far Away will find this book a truly worthy addition to his or her collection.
John Liang is a producer for the Beltway Banthas, a Star Wars and Politics podcast on the Retrozap Podcast Network. He has appeared on panels at Star Wars Celebration and DragonCon related to politics and the military in Star Wars. A journalist since 1994, John has covered the U.S. military for the past 20 years. He saw A New Hope at age eight when it first came out in theaters in 1977, but didn’t become a fan until reading the novelization two years later. He’s been a Star Wars book geek ever since.