"A book like this simply blows everything else out of the water....For Star Wars fans, this truly will be the Holy Grail, and even obsessives who think they know everything about the movie should prepare to be astounded. As a 30th anniversary tribute, this could not be bettered."
After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling SF saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years-a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.
Using his unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its trove of never-before-published “lost” interviews, photos, production notes, factoids, and anecdotes, Star Wars scholar J. W. Rinzler hurtles readers back in time for a one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes look at the nearly decade-long quest of George Lucas and his key collaborators to make the “little” movie that became a phenomenon. For the first time, it’s all here:
• 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
But perhaps most exciting, and rarest of all, are the interviews conducted before and during production and immediately after the release of Star Wars-in which George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, composer John Williams, effects masters Dennis Muren, Richard Edlund, and John Dykstra, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, legendary production designer John Barry, and a host of others share their fascinating tales from the trenches and candid opinions of the film that would ultimately change their lives.
Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of images spanning the creation of the film, and including previously unpublished interviews and stories, "The Making of Star Wars" is a piece of cinema history; and the story behind the making of this book is almost as intriguing. When author J.W. Rinzler heard that a similar book had been started back in the 1970s - around the time of filming - curiosity got the better of him. He was directed to four boxes within the vast Lucasfilm archive. He discovered that over fifty interviews had been conducted between 1975 and 1978 with key members of the cast and crew. These boxes had sat undisturbed for three decades. The interviews were fresh, candid and - above all - more accurate than many other reported accounts. Interviewees included director George Lucas; producer Gary Kurtz; actors Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher; and production designer John Barry (who died in 1979). Conducted long before the film was released in 1977, those interviewed are completely unaware of the future impact of the film and the direction that their careers would take. Since 1977, "Star Wars" has spawned two sequel films, three prequels, countless books, comic books and video games, television shows, and innumerable interviews. With unrestricted access to the archive, Rinzler has created a unique document that is set to become a seminal piece of film history.
No matter how you view the spectrum of this thirty-year phenomenon, The Making of Star Wars stands as a crucial document-rich in fascination and revelation-of a genuine cinematic and cultural touchstone.
J. W. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucasfilm Ltd., is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, as well as The Art of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Art and Making of Monster House, and Creating the Worlds of Star Wars, which he co-authored with visual-effects supervisor John Knoll. J. W. Rinzler now lives in Petaluma, California.