Review: Star Wars : The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy

Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy is an experience of a book. I’ll admit I was unsure if I’d be into the format when it was first announced but this interactive exploration from Matthew Reinhart and Insight Editions is definitely a different and fun way to revisit the story of the Star Wars films so far.

Star Wars Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy Cover
cover image courtesy of Insight Editions

One of the first things you’ll notice about it is it’s a large book (9.25″ x 11″) covered in beautiful character and iconic scenic art – in some ways reminiscent of some sort of Star Wars Trapper Keeper. It also comes with its own set of instructions to get it to its full five-spread open state. If you were equating pop-up with something meant for a small child, think again. And while I’m sure young kids would enjoy this book they’ll need to handle it with care and probably some adult assistance.

Despite being one of those reads-all-the-directions types, I got stuck on one step going for the full unfolding because I wasn’t seeing what tabs were being referenced. After stepping away for a few minutes, I came back and found the tabs, carefully slid them out and then proceeded to be afraid of breaking something. This book is a mini feat of engineering, with the scenes themselves unfolding and collapsing again with relative ease but it’s still paper. Luckily for me, you can also enjoy the book one spread at a time.

Star Wars Ultimate Pop Up Galaxy opened to the Endor spread
The Endor scene in the book. Image courtesy of Insight Editions.

Each set of two pages features one large pop-up scene in the center, surrounded by three or four smaller scenes you individually open up around it. Each scene has its own text summarizing what’s going on there. I had to go back to read them because frankly it’s more exciting to open the scenes for the first time and see what’s going on. There’s so much to discover in these 360 degree sets, from the little details in the illustrations by Kevin M. Wilson to the joy of all the parts that move when you pull various tabs.

Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy is a saga-centric book but that doesn’t mean that Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story get left out. They’re incorporated based on how they play into the saga story and my favorite pop-up action might be the one of the Millennium Falcon where it switches between how it looked under Lando’s ownership versus Han’s.

I kind of wish they’d waited on this one until after The Rise of Skywalker was out to maybe include an impactful scene from there but there still is a small scene representing a clash between two sides that gives a tiny and not unexpected taste of where things are heading.

Overall Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy is a visual adventure in mini form. Retailing at $85, it’s a sophisticated piece for the saga-loving Star Wars fan who seems to have everything. Plus it’s definitely an entertaining way to review the story in less time than it takes to watch eight to ten films.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy is out now from Insight Editions.

The publisher sent a copy of this book for review, but as always these opinions are my own.

Want a walk-through of one of the prequel era spreads? Check out this video below. Want to get a better idea of how big the pop-ups are? Check out my post on Instagram.

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She grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s okay with that. Kay is FANgirl's resident geek fashion expert and co-host of the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She reviews books and movies for the site with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. Kay's been a guest on various podcasts sharing her love and knowledge of storytelling, film-making, fashion, and of course, Star Wars. Most days are filled with her work as a creative services professional - designing websites & branding, photographing, voice acting, editing, and more. Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, costuming, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.