The Essential Characters is a cancelled reference book written by Daniel Wallace and illustrated by Douglas Wheatley. As an installment in the Essential Guides series, it would have been an updated version of the previous The Essential Guide to Characters (1995) and The New Essential Guide to Characters (2002).
An untitled updated Essential Guide to Characters was first announced at Star Wars Celebration V by Pablo Hidalgo, in response to a fan's question at the Essential Guides presentation on August 12, 2010.
Hidalgo stated that Daniel Wallace had wanted to write an updated guide to characters for some time, to reflect new developments in Revenge of the Sith, as well as numerous other novels and comics that had rendered The New Essential Guide to Characters largely obsolete, such as the new fates and ongoing stories of characters such as Natasi Daala and Lumiya. At the time, Hidalgo announced a tentative release date of Summer 2012.
At Celebration VI, it was announced that Douglas Wheatley would do all of the internal illustrations. The release date was also revised to July 2013. At New York Comic Con in October 2012, the book's name—The Essential Characters—was announced alongside with the preview of its cover artwork. Also, in a blog post on StarWars.com, the release date was set back to August 2013, with around 80% of the book already finished. Daniel Wallace also stated at Comic Con that the book would feature characters that have had new storylines since the last edition, and not the classic favorites. Amazon.com's listing later pushed the book's publication back to April 15, 2014, then to October 7, 2014. On December 19, 2013 it was announced that The Essential Characters had been cancelled.
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