The original Star Wars trilogy novelisations

Was Star Wars a book before it was a movie? Yes it was.

Well, kind of. Star Wars, a book by George Lucas, was published in America in 1976. The movie was released in 1977.

But as I’m sure you know, the movie was not based on this book – it was a novelisation of the movie. In fact, it was not even written by Lucas, but ghost written by Alan Dean Foster. He was also the author (credited this time) of the very first Star Wars sequel, Splinter of the Minds Eye.

When I was a child, these novelisations were one of the key ways I engaged with Star Wars movies after seeing them at the cinema. As I look back, it seems amazing that I managed to remain interested in the movies. I’m pretty sure my daughter has seen the original Star Wars trilogy more times at age 5 than I did in my entire childhood. There was no way to watch at home on TV (although there were some 8 minute super-8 film versions for those few who had a projector). We saw the movies at the cinema. That was it.

But that wasn’t enough. So we found other ways to revisit the galaxy far, far away. I played with the toys. I read the comics. And I poured over the novelisations of the movies, which have all been re-published.

Reading them is to remember a time when my fandom was born. The exciting thing about the first book – which I read years after the movie came out – were expanded elements of the story that were ultimately cut like Luke and Biggs friendship and Solo meeting Jabba. Elements of these were reinstated in the special editions.

The Empire Strikes Back novelisation was written by Donald F. Glut, a fellow former film school student like George Lucas. He was a writer who’s credit I saw a few more times in my childhood, on some Spider-Man cartoons and various comics. As these Star Wars books were based on screenplays, and not finished movies, even differences in classic dialogue stands out. For instance, no “I love you,”, “I know.” exchange here, as that was ad-libbed by Ford on set.

Return of the Jedi (by James Kahn) was a book I clearly recall  reading before I saw the movie. So, the big revelation of Luke and Leia’s relationship was one I experienced not in the movies, but with my nose in a book at home. This book was also the first time I read how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader – here there is mention of a duel between Obi Wan and Anakin, which ended with Luke’s father falling into lava. My 11-year-old self was pleased that this was later reflected in Revenge of the Sith twenty years later.

These books are now available in a paperback omnibus, and in addition the adaptation of Star Wars has also been re-released in a hardback 40th anniversary edition, featuring the best and most iconic Star Wars poster of all by the Brothers Hillderbrant.

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope: Official 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition has an RRP of £16.99. Star Wars: Original Trilogy has an RRP of £12.99.


I was sent copies of these books for the purposes of this review.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Electronic Music Mix Star-Lord toy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy returned to the big screen in Vol. 2, and so did a slew of new merchandise – including this Guardians of the Galaxy Electronic Music Mix Star-Lord toy. Continue reading Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Electronic Music Mix Star-Lord toy

Let’s go fly a kite! (#MySundayPhoto)

Something I think my wife and I both pride ourselves on is our immaturity. That’s not to say we don’t feel like adults – we absolutely do. But we also embrace our childish sides, passing on our childlike sense of wonder and enthusiasm for the fun things in life.

For me, it will often manifest itself in my continued passion for all things Star Wars and Superhero – which followers of my blog will know I keenly share with my daughter.

My wife is more of an outdoorsy type than me (not difficult). I’ve often put it down to her being a New Zealander – as a country they are far more into being active outside than we Brits are. But really, it’s down to her. Running, doing cartwheels & handstands, and climbing trees are all things she likes to do when we’re off on country walks – which being Shire dwellers are right on our doorstep.

On this particular family walk, we decided to take a kite with us, one that has remained unused since I received it for this review.

The funny thing about this picture and our kite flying activity is that it was pretty much only my wife and I. We took turns flying and launching/photographing for the other. Our daughter was encouraged to stay back, partly because we didn’t want the cord to wrap round her neck because of our erratic flying – but also because she would just be getting in the way of our fun!

Aesthetically, this is not a great photo. I chose it because it at least captures the action of our kite flying in a way that is not too blurred. Also, it needed to fit into the right image ratio for this page, Facebook, and Instagram (which the rejects did not).

We will return here with the kite – it’s a good spot to fly it. And we will share it with our daughter – once we have mastered it ourselves 🙂


Got an opinion on gendered marketing to kids? Have your say by joining Hasbro’s Family HotSpot community

**This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Hasbro**

I’ve written a lot about toy maker Hasbro in the past. They are the master licensee of Star Wars and Marvel toys – two of my favourite fandoms since childhood, which I am now passing on to my daughter. Continue reading Got an opinion on gendered marketing to kids? Have your say by joining Hasbro’s Family HotSpot community

The joy of British barbecue season

This is a collaborative post with Iceland Foods

Being the stay-at-home parent, cooking dinner is largely my responsibility, which is fine because I enjoy it. But I really enjoy it the most at this time of year. When the clocks go forward in April, and we enter British Summer Time, we also enter another auspicious time of the year – British BBQ Time.

However, this being Britain, you can never quite be sure when BBQ weather will strike – so we always have a supply of meats for the BBQ in the freezer.

Iceland’s #PowerOfFrozen is all about the convenience of having frozen food on hand as and when you need it – which is perfect for when that BBQ weather swoops in.

We tried out a trio of frozen meat products from Iceland on the BBQ. Any of these  would be great for a decent BBQ family supper by themselves – or you could have all of them for a super indulgent BBQ feast.

The Ultimate Steak Burger

The Ultimate Steak Burger: Lettuce, tomato, burger with melted cheese, red onion + beetroot slices, more lettuce – surrounded by a toasted brioche bun.

Burgers, specifically cheese burgers, are my BBQ staple, the ultimate BBQ food – so I chose these Ultimate Steak Burgers to have. They needed to be defrosted prior to cooking on the BBQ (packet instructions state to defrost at least 12hrs in a fridge on a plate).

The smoky flavour you get from a BBQ really suits burgers well, and after making and/or eating many burgers in my time I think I have finally nailed the ultimate order of garnishes and accompaniments.

So in honour of the Iceland Ultimate Steak Burger, here is my ultimate burger construction order (starting from the bottom – see photo):

  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Burger (with melted cheese)
  • Red onion + beetroot slices
  • More lettuce

All surrounded by a toasted brioche bun, with ketchup served on the side.

Explanation: The lettuce stops the toasted bun getting soggy, the melted cheese should hold in place the red onion, as well as the beetroot – which is a Kiwi addition to the burger, and a delicious one at that. I couldn’t figure out where to put the ketchup in all this, so leave it on the side to dip you burger into before each bite.

So that’s my Ultimate Burger. What do you think?

Hot dogs (with Cumberland sausages)

Another BBQ favourite are hot dogs. While the Frankfurter might be traditional, I prefer an English classic like Cumberland Sausages.

These Iceland Cumberland Sausages can be cooked straight from the freezer, so are super convenient to slap on the BBQ.

I served these hot dogs with ketchup, and I really like fried onions with them too (my daughter doesn’t, hence the ones without). As with the burgers, if you feel like indulging yourself go for a brioche bun.

Belgian Blue Steak

Steak is not a meat I have cooked on the BBQ much, something I clearly need to rectify as it is delicious cooked this way!

Iceland’s Belgian Blue Steaks are super lean rump steaks, so they’re low in fat but still nicely flavoured. They come in packs of 2, but we love steak so had 2 steaks each! (Belgian Blue are a breed of cows from – you guessed it – Belgium).

They needed to be defrosted before cooking on the BBQ (packet instruction state to defrost at least 24hrs in a fridge).

Once defrosted, I got the BBQ as hot as possible. I oiled both sides of the steak, and seasoned with salt & pepper. We like steak super rare, so just cooked it for 1-2 mins each side. Make sure you rest the meat after cooking though, to get it nice and tender.

I serve it with a side of spinach fried with garlic and onion.

Now, I don’t like to admit to having ANYTHING in common with Donald Trump, but here is a confession – like the Donald, I too like having ketchup with my steak.

It’s delicious. Biggly 🙂