The Rebel Files
Written by: Daniel Wallace
Designed by: Sam Dawson
Illustrated by: Aaron Riley, Adrian Rodriguez, Chris Reiff, Chris Trevas, Diogo Costa, Giorgio Baroni, Isaac Hannaford, Joe Corroney, Maciej Rebisz, and Randall Mackey
Published by: Epic Ink
Review by Justin Partridge
It won’t shock any of you to know that I am a big tabletop gamer. The thrill of the dice and intricacies of character/party building are big reasons why I keep adventuring. Perhaps the main reason I love RPGs are the handouts. Handwritten scraps of world-building the GM doles out. Pre-written clues/newspaper clippings from modules that further immerse the player in the game world.
So you can imagine my delight when Epic Ink published what was basically an entire BOOK of these in the form of The Rebel Files!
The latest “visual dictionary” comes from author Daniel Wallace, the of The Jedi Path and Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters fame. The Rebel Files is an entertainingly engaging mixture of guidebook and in-universe “journal” of sorts. Presented as a compendium of the Rebel Alliance’s compiled strategies, history, and equipment manifests. Wallace avoids the dryness of other “coffee table books.” He leans into the more, for lack of a better term, “role-playing” opportunities offered up by a concept like this. This makes the lists and information found therein feel more personal and genuine. A mark of all truly great Star Wars products.
The wealth of knowledge presented by Wallace feels real. Even more so by the myriad of hand-written notes and communiques between Alliance bigwigs like Mon Mothma, General Crix Madine, and countless other cameos. The book’s real strength lies in its overall production values and the way it will surely stand out to readers on shelves. Available now as a $79.99 Deluxe edition with a cheaper, book-only hardcover version on its way, available for pre-order. The Rebel Files presents itself to readers as a true blue Rebel dossier. Encased in a gorgeous hunter-green lockbox case. It’s emblazoned with the Rebel Alliance crest and colored to suggest some sort of heavy-duty metal.
Once you open the case you are greeted by the book itself as well as an LED projection of the much coveted Death Star plans. Readers can project onto an inky black “computer screen” pop up on the case’s innards. The Deluxe edition also comes with a few laminated and card-stocked removables. For example, a roster detailing the color-coded evacuation priority of Alliance assets in case of attack. The Imperial prison intake form of a Liana Hallik (who looks suspiciously like our Stardust, Jyn Erso). And a promotional flyer for the shipyards of Kuat. They sing praises of Imperial ship-building and their deadly machines of war.
Some of you might rightfully think some of that stuff is cheesy, but come ON! How could you NOT respond to an official Imperial document detailing JYN ERSO’S crimes against the Empire?! In a book filled with intimate, screen-accurate information that prides itself on being a “personal account,” these removables and the information they contain make it feel all the more real and tactile. You’re really holding the combined knowledge, might, and experience thus far of the Rebel Alliance.
The 80 dollar price point is admittedly steep. This book rises above being just another forgettable visual guide or vehicle/character compendium. The Rebel Files is a conversation piece or a cosplay prop. Even your ready-to-use appendices for your own Star Wars tabletop campaign. This book is chock full of knowledge, stunning artwork, and authentic feeling Star Wars experiences.
Your own mileage may vary when it comes to books like this. The Rebel Files still stands as an unexpectedly emotional, beautiful looking, and hard to put down entry into the visual guide genre of publishing. A genre that is desperately in need of more books like this one stuffed with detail and bolstered by its weapons-grade production values. The Rebel Files is a worthy addition to any Rebel scum’s library.