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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
on 28 April 2017
This is the first of three "The Making Of..." books which J. W. Rinzler has compiled - the other two being "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return Of The Jedi". Put simply, these are must have books for any serious fan of the original Star Wars movies.
"The Making Of Star Wars" is a galactic size book, with 362 pages, dimensions of 263 x 289 x 35mm and weighing over 2.3kg. Almost everything is covered in detail, with colour and black and white photographs, diagrams, drawings, sketches, and a detailed narrative describing every step of the movie-making process.
There are twelve overflowing chapters. The opening one "Two Visions" starts in 1968, where early ideas for plots, themes, characters and weapons are described. Interestingly, George Lucas gained inspiration from the ongoing Vietnam War for plot and character ideas. And, his original name for a lightsaber was a "lazer sword".
The next chapter "Fighting Words" details rough drafts of the early scripts. "Flash Gordon" cartoon strips and the Errol Flynn movie "Captain Blood" were used as inspirations, especially the fighting scenes. At this point, the movie was called "Adventures Of The Starkiller".
Next, "Boundary Busters" contains detailed artwork of Darth Vader, C3PO, planets, the Death Star and many vehicles. And, early storyboards show plot outlines developing, with some being retained unchanged in the final movie.
"Frenzy" shows the model creation process for many vehicles, including the iconic Sandcrawler, Star Destroyer and Tie Fighters.
"Purgatory" has an early design of an overweight and bulky Chewbacca - luckily he was slimmed down for the final movie! Colourful location shots from Tunisia representing Tatooine are very atmospheric. And photographs from auditions for Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker show that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill may not have been cast in these roles - how different things could have been!
"Rise Of The Poetic State" has brilliant images of Chewbacca's face mask, designs for R2D2, the design process of Luke's Landspeeder and a large model of the Millennium Falcon.
"Mindstorms In The Sand" covers the sometimes difficult filming in the Tunisian desert, with fantastic colour photographs of Luke, Obi-Wan, C3PO and R2D2.
"Faster Than A Speeding Freight Train" describes that Princess Leia's memorable ear-muff hairstyle was inspired by photographs of traditional Native American women.
"Vanishing Point" has a wonderful large image of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke and Leia in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon - possibly the best photo in the entire book.
"Ace-People And The Wizards" describes the ground-breaking special effects, sound and editing processes which were used after filming.
"Celluloid Transfiguration" shows how a real elephant was dressed up in a costume to portray a Bantha - amazing that this is how they did it!
Finally, "Fairy-Tale And Cinema" has loads of posters, press releases and media reaction from the unbelievable opening of the movie.
Overall, this is a truly incredible book which gives a detailed insight into the making of one the most memorable and ground-breaking movies of all-time.