The definitive exploration of the original Star Wars trilogy has been launched including an exclusive interview with George Lucas. The new book includes script pages, production documents, concept art, storyboards, on-set photography, stills, and posters
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…
Star Wars (1977): Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher having fun between takes. Harrison Ford: “George cast the four of us — Mark Hamill, Alec Guinness, Carrie, and me — as an ensemble. If he hadn’t used me, say, he probably wouldn’t have used the other two or three. I think that that feeling of being at ease with one another shows up on the screen.”
The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. George Lucas: “My films have a tendency to promote a personal self esteem, a you-can-do-it attitude. Their message is: ‘Don’t listen to everyone else. Discover your own feelings and follow them. Then you can overcome anything.’”
Star Wars (1977): Richard Edlund prepares the finished Millennium Falcon model on the ILM stage to be shot by the Dykstraflex camera. Model builder Lorne Peterson: “At one time the cockpit was to be motorized, so that it could rotate 90 degrees. Lucas had the idea that the ship could fly like a sunfish, landing flat, but at takeoff the body would rotate and the cockpit would remain at the same configuration.”
Star Wars (1977): Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) confronts Darth Vader in the fateful duel. George Lucas (right) is thoughtful. Alec Guinness resisted the idea of Kenobi’s self-sacrifice, but Lucas persuaded him it was good for the character and the film.
Return of the Jedi (1983): Darth Vader’s (David Prowse) choke hold. David Prowse: “I don’t have to get into the part at all. As soon as they start enclosing me in the mask, I begin to feel more evil with every plate they put on.”
Star Wars (1977): “Laser Duel” by Ralph McQuarrie (February 14–15, 1975) illustrates the confrontation between Deak Starkiller and Darth Vader recounted in the second draft of the script. McQuarrie’s set design was copied exactly for the Rebel Blockade Runner set built at the last minute.