George Lucas's galaxy-spanning vision, Star Wars, has never flagged in popularity since it premiered in 1977. Star Wars video games, tapes, action figures, and books are considered staples of the Christmas season for young and old alike. This Christmas will be no exception, and with the new Star Wars movie due for release in 1999, there are some exciting new offerings available.

DK Publishing, world famous for their illustrated books on everything from aircraft to zoology, has published two Star Wars reference books. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary ($19.95, 0789434814) and Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections ($19.95, 0789434806), both by David West Reynolds, treat the galaxy far, far away as a very real place.

Chronicle Books offers Star Wars Masterpiece Edition: Anakin Skywalker: The Story of Darth Vader ($75, 0811821587) by Stephen J. Sansweet with Daniel Wallace and Josh Ling. This eye-popping package includes a book and a 13 1/2-inch collector figure of Anakin Skywalker in the robes of a Jedi Knight. The book itself is a detailed look at the creation and evolution of one of cinema's most enigmatic villains.

All three are must-haves for any Star Wars fan.

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