Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor
by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray
Review by Jon Guenther
Harper Design Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062681171
Date: 24 October 2017 List Price $45.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Lavish illustrations, behind-the-scenes photos, and a host of "extras" accompanying a sleeve in the back of the book just scratches the surface to describe Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor. If I can say anything about this book, it's that it didn't just meet my expectations it exceeded them by orders of magnitude.
The narrative of the book begins with an introduction by John Boyega, who of course portrayed First Order stormtrooper-turned Resistance hero, Finn. The concepts first realized by the paintings of Ralph McQuarrie then start the main narrative of how stormtroopers were conceived in the mind of George Lucas, how they grew in concept through the first three films in the Star Wars franchise, and finally delves into the extensive backstory of the Kenner/Hasbro toy lines around these enigmatic soldiers of the Galactic Empire.
The book further explores the history of the stormtrooper in relationship to the troopers of the Clone Wars, and their roles in the games, comic books, and novels (many of which are now considered "Legacy" or non-canon). In addition, there is coverage of the dark troopers in Rogue One, all the various iterations of stormtroopers and their roles in the forest, desert, frozen, and water terrains of the many worlds of Star Wars. Finally, the book explores the latest concepts of First Order stormtroopers and the red-robed Royal Guards of past and present. There is even discussion of the stormtroopers of the real-life 501st Legion.
Basically, if it's about stormtroopers it's pretty much in this book. I was only mildly disappointed by one aspect, and that is there didn't seem to be a detailed discussion of the armor-making process and costuming. At least not to a technical degree that I could get a really good idea of how it's all done. Barring that, however, I was entirely delighted by this book.
Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray is, in my opinion, the penultimate source for information covering the gamut of everything that is related to Imperial stormtroopers. It's a beautiful, hardcover book and would be a delight for any Star Wars collector or fan. I'm sure I'll re-read it through the years, and it's also an ideal gift book.