This trio of books recounts the making of the original trilogy. They’re written by J.W. Rinzler, a Star Wars scholar who had unlimited access to the Lucasfilm archives. Each book contains a plethora of interviews, photos and artwork, script drafts, and countless behind the scenes stories. I’d love to have the set on my shelf.
Here’s a few highlights about the first book:
— the evolution of the now-classic story and characters–including “Annikin Starkiller” and “a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and large gills” named Han Solo
• excerpts from George Lucas’s numerous, ever-morphing script drafts
• the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects company that revolutionized Hollywood filmmaking
• the studio-hopping and budget battles that nearly scuttled the entire project
• the director’s early casting saga, which might have led to a film spoken mostly in Japanese–including the intensive auditions that won the cast members their roles and made them legends
• the grueling, nearly catastrophic location shoot in Tunisia and the subsequent breakneck dash at Elstree Studios in London
• the who’s who of young film rebels who pitched in to help–including Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Brian DePalma
Here’s some highlights about the second one:
–the evolution of the script, from story conference and treatment to fifth draft, as conceived, written, and rewritten by George Lucas, famed science-fiction author Leigh Brackett, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan
• the development of new key characters, including roguish hero Lando Calrissian, sinister bounty hunter Boba Fett, and iconic Jedi Master Yoda
• the challenges of shooting the epic ice planet battle in the frozen reaches of Norway and of conjuring up convincing creatures and craft—from tauntauns and snowspeeders to Imperial walkers
• the construction of a life-sized Millennium Falcon and the swamp planet Dagobah inside a specially built soundstage in Elstree Studios
• the technique behind master Muppeteer Frank Oz’s breathing life into the breakthrough character Yoda
• the creation of the new, improved Industrial Light & Magic visual effects facility and the founding of the now-legendary Skywalker Ranch
Some highlights of the third one:
–creator George Lucas, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and director Richard Marquand huddle in a script conference to debate the destinies of iconic Star Wars characters, as well as plot twists and turns for the epic final showdown between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire
• artists and craftspeople at the groundbreaking Industrial Light & Magic facility top their own revolutionary innovations—despite the infamous Black Friday—with boundary-pushing new analog visual effects
• a crack team of sculptors, puppeteers, actors, and “monster-makers” bring Jabba the Hutt and his cohorts to startling, slobbering life from the inside out
• a Who’s Who of heavyweight directors—from such films as Superman, Gremlins, Halloween, Dune, Scanners, and Time Bandits—are considered for the coveted job of bringing a new Star Wars adventure to the silver screen
• actors and crew race to the finish line at Elstree Studios, in a fiery desert, and beneath the trees of a dense redwood forest—before money runs out—to answer the questions that audiences had waited three years to find out: Is Darth Vader really Luke’s father, who is the “other”—and who or what is the Emperor?
Do you have any of these books? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
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