THE ART OF STAR WARS
(1979, Ballantine Books)
Read before 1990
I have the original version of this volume, with this (yellowing) cover. I like it a
lot. The script is followed by art, and a section on Star Wars posters.
That, in turn, is followed by a section of fan art. It is really
fun to flip through. It's being held together by tape, now!
But I wouldn't trade it for anything.
THE ART OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
(1994, Del Rey)
Read June, 1995
The art in this volume was as good as any Star Wars Art I've seen, but the lack of a script
makes the price paid for it quite hefty.
THE ART OF RETURN OF THE JEDI
(1983, Ballantine Books)
Read June, 1991
I have the original version of this volume as well, with the really neat cover. The script
was easy to follow, but it wasn't as exciting, because there were so few
changes, as in the Star Wars one.
THE ANNOTATED SCREENPLAYS By Laurent Bouzereau (1997, Del Rey)
Read June 9th to July 7th, 2001
Definitely not what I had hoped for. Confusing, with annotations that seemed to be
chosen at random. If it hadn't been for such good stories to tell in the
first place, this book would have easily failed to impress me.
The author decided to give the original storyline summaries for all three
movies. While I liked that aspect of it, it was very confusing to read,
because it was broken up to fit the approximate locations in the actual
film. It would have been better, I think, to do like Christopher Tolkien
did with the History of Middle
Earth, and give each draft sequentially, instead. As it was given,
the author was required to insert "in this draft, recall that...",
which had me going back to see what I had missed.
As we already knew, the first draft of A New Hope was
quite different from the final version. Empire
was pretty close, but it surprised me how different Jedi
was! Obviously, I think the final versions were far superior. But
it was neat to see how other events could have taken place. However, I didn't like the
author's writing style. Nor did I like the way he phrased the non-dialog
lines of the actual film. He placed emotions there that either were not
there to begin with, or could be interpreted in several ways. He
described many of the events from the Special Editions, but missed out on
others. It was if he didn't really watch them all the way
I was frustrated from the very start with this book. Many things were
reasonably described, but I would have liked more information about the
previous drafts, where things fit in, and why they were done that way -or why
they were changed. Many times, he would quote George Lucas or others,
but the quotes seemed to be chosen at random, and there were many times I
would have liked to see something from their point of view, where nothing was
said. Disappointing, to say the least.
THE SCRIPT OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Read June, 1995
Pretty lackluster in appearance, the script follows the movie exactly, so my heart was racing
in all the right places! Since the Art of Empire didn't carry the
script, I decided I had to buy one myself.
THE MAKING OF EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE By Laurent Bouzereau and Jody Duncan (1999, Ballantine Books)
Read September 18th to 24th, 2000
There was little here that I didn't already know, but that's simply because I read it in
the Star Wars Insider, or on the official website. It was still really
fun to read about all aspects of the movie making process.
The first part documents the enormous preproduction efforts, from location scouting,
set building, actor casting, and so on. Visual effects actually started
work on this film before filming started! The second part show what
Lucas termed the gathering of materials. On-location was neat, though
I wish the authors would have spent more time on Caserta, and the Tunisian
sand storm. The third part of the book is the more technical post-production
work. I have never enjoyed the description of this side much, ever
since it became computer generated. Description is best suited for
hands-on stuff, and I find that the technical stuff gets out of reach pretty
quickly. But this book does a really good job with it, and focuses
mostly on the people, instead of the processes.
Reading this book was like revisiting the movie, and that is definitely a good thing.
It had to be published simultaneously with the movie, so it could not have
recorded the mood at the film premier, or the records that the movie broke,
which is a little unfortunate. But that is certainly not the fault
of the book.
THE JEDI MASTER'S QUIZBOOK Compiled by Rusty Miller (1982, Ballantine Books)
There are 425 questions about Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in here, divided up into plot,
cast, and behind the scenes. Pretty interesting, and it was very neat
when it first came out. But the best part of the book is the cover.