In August 2009 Daniel Wallace and I cheered the publication of Star Wars: The Essential Atlas, our new Del Rey book and a labor of love.
For me, the Atlas was literally a dream come true. I’ve always been interested in the geography of imaginary places — one of the biggest influences on the Atlas was Karen Wynn Fonstad’s 1981 book The Atlas of Middle-earth, which I pored over as a kid. (Fonstad’s book was also invaluable in convincing Del Rey that our proposal was merely crazy and not utterly crazy.)
Anyway, when I was a young teen I woke up one morning and happily relived what had happened the day before: I’d been at the mall and found an awesome book called The Atlas of the Star Wars Galaxy, which I’d convinced my folks to buy and then devoured in the back of the car on the way home. Still sleepy, I inventoried the things I had to do that day — school, homework, track practice — but reminded myself that when those things were done I’d be able to go back to my cool new atlas of a galaxy far, far away.
And then I realized it had been a dream. There was no Atlas of the Star Wars Galaxy. We hadn’t even been to the mall. The amazing maps I studied and the things I read were phantoms of my sleeping brain.
I was devastated, to say the least.
But as it turns out, the book I’d imagined was real — all that was missing was my having to grow up, meet Dan Wallace, find a young mapmaker named Modi, and then write half of the book myself.
Anyway, the book we wrestled out of a dream and our stubborn, dorky love of interstellar geography now exists — and thanks to our friends at Del Rey and Lucasfilm, it’s become a living book, one that’s been expanded and updated several times through features here at StarWars.com. You can find those features here.
This time around, we’ve got a long-promised update to the Atlas appendix, presented in the same format used for the print Atlas. Many thanks to Erich Schoeneweiss at Del Rey for taking the Excel file used to keep track of star systems, sectors, and the like, and turning it into a PDF that fits with the book.
Erich, by the way, was present at the birth of the appendix, which made for an entertaining story (at least for me.) As The Essential Atlas neared completion, I told Erich that I’d imagined an alphabetical listing of star systems in the back of the book, akin to what you’d find in a road atlas. Erich listened patiently and then asked — perhaps with a certain edge to his voice — how many systems I had in mind.
“All of them,” I blithely said.
(Aspiring writers, do not surprise an editor this way.)
Erich, to his credit, remained calm and simply asked if I knew how many “all of them” meant.
“Four thousand, three hundred and eighty-seven,” I replied.
Erich was less calm about that, but he and designer Brad Foltz made it happen. And so the appendix was born.
This latest update covers the entirety of the Dark Horse run, the final seasons of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show, the remaining Legends novels, and rounds up a bunch of stray systems that had escaped us. Huge thanks to Wookieedpedians Hk 47 and Cavalier One for their efforts finding those missing systems, and of course to Leland Chee for vetting everything. (And apologies to anyone I’ve missed.)
The appendix now includes 5,085 systems, up from 4,387 at publication. I’m not naïve enough to think we’ve found every star system hiding in a long-ago RPG supplement or a video-game cut scene, and of course this is an unprecedented era of Star Wars storytelling. So here’s to new star systems, new stories, and Atlas adventures yet to be recounted!
Jason Fry is the author of The Clone Wars Episode Guide and more than twenty other Star Wars books and short stories. He is also the author of The Jupiter Pirates young-adult series.