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"This is so much more than a revisit to the first edition Essential Guide to Planets and Moons."
―First Look: The Essential Atlas[2]

The Essential Atlas is a third-generation Essential Guide written by Jason Fry and Daniel Wallace. It was published by Del Rey on August 18, 2009. The book contains planet profiles as well as extensive star charts.

Publisher's summary[]

Navigate the Star Wars universe as you never have before—with this fully illustrated, full-color guide that maps the entire galaxy.

You know the planets—from Alderaan and Corellia to Tatooine and Zonama Sekot—and the star systems, from the Deep Core to the Outer Rim. But now, for the first time, you can pinpoint their locations and chart the travels of your favorite characters through the vast reaches of space. Star Wars: The Essential Atlas is a galaxy-spanning trove of vital statistics and information ranging from the astronomical and geographical ("Systems, Sectors, Oversectors and Regions") to the historical and political ("The Sith Empire" and "The Great Hyperspace War"). Encompassing the entire Star Wars canon, including all the films and The Clone Wars television series, plus the novels, comic books, video games, and more, this volume is packed with dozens of detailed maps and charts, as well as pertinent data and accompanying facts on.

From Hutt Space to the Unknown Regions, from the Knights of the Old Republic and Episode I to the Fate of the Jedi and Legacy era, Star Wars: The Essential Atlas is the ultimate gateway to space fantasy's most brilliantly imagined and endlessly intriguing galaxy.


"When I was hired on to the Shadows of the Empire project, one of the first questions I asked Allan Kausch was if someone had made a map of all the planets in the Star Wars universe. He just laughed. There's no way; there's too many planets."
Steve Perry[3]

Dan Wallace assured readers of his blog that the book would be "light years" better than his previous book on the subject, The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons, which focused more on summarizing plots than on planetary descriptions. The book is "equal parts cosmology, planet profiles, political structure, colonization, history, the sweep and scale of wars, and bulleted lists presenting miscellaneous items of kewlness [sic]." Wallace also hoped that it would be closer to older but more detailed roleplaying game (RPG) resources like Platt's Starport Guide and Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook.[4]

In another blog entry, Wallace stated he and Jason Fry planned to access Jason's Systems Database for use in writing the book and hoped to include all 3900 place names.[5]

In February 2008, Dan stated in his blog that the book survived its first round of editing and was close to 120,000 words, but there were still many changes to be made and more maps to make.[6] In addition he mentioned several items that may be in the book but that are not canonical until its publication, including the Kymoodon Era, the Leech Legion (a region within the Unknown Regions where blind berserkers resided), Cosm's Well (a region of neutron stars, pulsars, and blue stragglers named by the Zeku) and the Tetrahedron (which was the cradle of the Republic).

On February 24, 2009, Dan released more quotations from the book, as he was finishing its editing. Some names in the quotations include the Bedlam Pulsar (where omnipotent trans-dimensional beings exist in the stark whiteness that digests the fabric of hyperspace), the Planetary Pioneers (a program that, alongside the influence of the D'Asta family, allowed the New Territories to remain loyal to the Republic), the Ark of Baron Auletphant, the Zareca String (which was a jump from Rishi straight up and perpendicular to the galactic plane), and the Twenty Wonders of the Galaxy (assembled by Vicendi for his work Arturum Galactinum).

The authors intended for every canonical star system to be shown or else for its coordinates to be listed in an appendix. Systems from children's books, the RPG franchise, Classic Star Wars, and the Marvel Star Wars series were included. Due to its scope and formal nature, the atlas focuses on showing star systems rather than individual planets; this is in contrast to some previous maps, which due to artistic license showed planets within a system as two separate locations. However, according to Jason Fry, systems may generally be labeled by the name of their most prominent planets rather than by actual system names, since planet names are usually more familiar to fans.[7]

Besides the aforementioned listing of planets, The Essential Atlas supplied maps on various factions and time periods, and contained an in-universe history lecture. In addition, The Essential Atlas was the first to name the factions depicted in the comic series Dark Empire and Crimson Empire; specifically, the factions were named after the stories they originated in.

The authors recognized the community of the Star Wars fan wiki Wookieepedia in the acknowledgment section at the front of the book.

Nathan Butler, contributor to The Essential Atlas, credits Star Wars fan Eddie van der Heijden, webmaster of starwarstimeline.com, with deriving the Great ReSynchronization dates printed within The Essential Atlas.[8] The two also collaborated on dating the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series. Van der Heijden's name in the acknowledgment was misspelt in the initial release of the book as "van der Hejiden".[9]


The book contains a few typographical errors and inconsistencies.

  • The Table of Contents lists the section "Great Spacefaring Species" as "Great Seafaring Species."
  • Page 160, concerning spice, mistakenly names Hutts Jiliac and Jabba as heads of the Besadii clan. However, Jiliac and Jabba were leaders of the rival Desilijic clan.
  • On the map on page 169, "firing" is misspelled "firiring."
  • On page 227, the Atlas mentions that Darth Krayt overthrew Roan Fel in 137 ABY. He was actually overthrown in 130 ABY.
  • Rhen Var is claimed to not have any moons despite one being visible in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Battlefront (all of the planet's on-screen depictions).




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Byss as depicted in the atlas

Organizations and titles

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Weapons and technology



Notes and references[]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 PenguinRandomHouse The Essential Atlas: Star Wars on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  2. StarWars First Look: The Essential Atlas on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  3. StarWars The Secret History and Continuing Adventures of Star Wars: The Essential Atlas on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  4. StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked "It's Away! First Draft of the Star Wars Atlas Submitted" — Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain PanakaDaniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (backup link)
  5. StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked "3900 Planetary Systems And Counting..." — Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain PanakaDaniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (backup link)
  6. StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked "The Star Wars Atlas: Random Quotes" — Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain PanakaDaniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (backup link)
  7. TwitterLogo Jason Fry (@jasoncfry) on Twitter (screenshot)
  8. Star Wars Timeline Gold by Nathan Butler on www.starwarsfanworks.com (archived from the original on May 19, 2020)
  9. Facebook icon Eddie van der Heijden on Facebook: Eddie van der Heijden discusses the mispelling of his name in a post from his page "Star Wars Upcoming Books & Comics" (September 18, 2023): "A long time ago (2009) when I was asked by Star Wars timeline guru Nathan P. Butler to assist him in establishing the dating for the New Jedi Order books, my surname was misspelled in the credits! Nothing to worry about, but co-author Jason Fry promised me it would be corrected in subsequent printings! I forgot all about it until my good friend Carlos from Star Wars Comic Books pointed out he had a book where my name was correctly spelled! Thus I decided to order another one last week, and behold, I managed to get a later edition where it was indeed spelled right! And the French edition must've had the right template, as they did spell it right as well!" (backup link)

External links[]