The 1970s wasn't exactly the pinnacle of cinematic art. Anyone remember The Day of the Dolphin? Death Race 2000? The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds? Precisely.

But then in 1977 something happened that would change cinema for ever: the first Star Wars film was released. After years of depressing, cynical and downright awful films, this was a shining light, a beacon, a New Hope, if you will.

A new book has been launched by publisher Taschen called The Star Wars Archives 1977-1983. Written by Paul Duncan, it includes an interview with writer, director, and producer George Lucas. This first volume covers the making of the original trilogy – Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – and is illustrated with script pages, production documents, concept art, storyboards, on-set photography, stills, and posters.

Here's a sneak preview of some of the unique behind-the-scenes images…

The Star Wars Archives: 1977–1983 by Paul Duncan (Taschen, £150) is out now.