Archive for 2012
With the release of the Star Wars Celebration VI programming schedule this week on the Celebration VI Mobile App, fans everywhere have begun sketching out their plan of attack for the biggest Star Wars party of the year. Planning my schedule is easy: I’m going to enjoy the show from the Behind the Scenes Stage, W414, since I’ll be hosting about 20 panels this year. Here’s what my first day (Thursday, August 23rd) will consist of … I hope some of it becomes your first day as well!
In writing these making of Star Wars books, I’ve become more or less adept at interviewing people: actors, heads of department, producers, directors, craftspeople, visual effects supervisors, et al. I’ve had a few people determined not to say a single thing, for fear of offending someone or of letting a secret out of the bag. I’ve spoken to others where all I needed to do was to ask a single question—and then lean back and listen to the stream of consciousness.
There are two things I’ve learned: You don’t need a lot of questions to fill up your time allotment; and, two, it’s important to follow the conversation, regardless of what your questions might be. If Carrie Fisher says something interesting, but doesn’t quite complete the story—and I’ve seen this in lots of published interviews—you can’t just skip to the next question. Simple rule, but it’s important to get to the root of whatever it is they’re talking about. It helps the conversation flow and those tangents often lead to the interview equivalent of El Dorado: an emotional moment or incident heretofore unknown.
And you don’t want to ask so many questions that they get bored or you run out of time. A good interviewer will sense how things are going and tailor their questions accordingly.
In these archival projects, like Making of Jedi, I still prefer interviews done back in the day, preferably while they’re making the film. Under duress people are more honest, in general. I’d say the single most important moment of research occurred about a year ago. I was rummaging through the boxes in the Skywalker Ranch research warehouse—and stuffed on the side of one banal box was more than a hundred pages of interview done with Richard Marquand. After reading it and a little sleuthing, I’ve dated it to November 1982, a few months after principal photography wrapped.
John Philip Peecher wrote the first Making of Jedi book and, as far as I can tell, did only two long sit-down interviews: one with the director, Richard Marquand, and one with the producer, Howard Kazanjian. But when I started researching I didn’t know of the existence of either. Only thorough rummaging, examining every freaking bunch of papers, brought the documents to the light of day—and into the book! Luckily for all of us. Only a fraction of these interviews made it into the first book.
Here’s a fragment from Marquand’s, where he talks, amusingly, about Star Wars and his first meeting with George Lucas: “What I liked about STAR WARS at that point was that it was a totally believable, but absolutely all encompassing myth. It was unlike science fiction where you can always cut holes in it. Also, I just adored the way the story was told. I just loved that way George told the story as the director. If I hadn’t liked it, I would have not said I didn’t like it, but I certainly wouldn’t have told him that I liked it, which I did.”
So a big thank you to whoever stuffed these interviews into a box nearly 30 years ago. At least they weren’t thrown into the trash.
Next blog: I have no idea…
Lucasfilm executive editor J. W. Rinzler is the author of The Making of Star Wars and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. He is now writing The Making of Return of the Jedi (and really looking forward to finishing it) for a fall 2013 release. You can visit jwrinzler.com for more info.
“Many Star Wars fans will come to Celebration VI? … Personally?? … THEN we will DOUBLE our efforts!!!” For us, It doesn’t take an emperor visiting his Death Star construction site as motivation, we just do our very best for all the fans!
Today I’ll take you with me, to the very heart of our team… the prop workshop. Dusty hangars which many of the crew have almost called ‘home’ for the last couple of months…
It sounds like a cliché, but when it comes to The Art of Ralph McQuarrie, preparations for the next Star Wars Celebration pretty much begin on the flight home from the last one.
Despite having exhibited at all seven prior Star Wars Celebrations, Celebration V was a particularly challenging undertaking for us. For the first time ever, we curated a gallery exhibit with more than 100 pieces of Ralph’s original Star Wars art — the majority of which had never been seen before.
I could talk for days about Boba Fett, his popularity in modern culture, his mystique and his infamy, but my true passion for Boba Fett, as with so many things in Star Wars, is not so much the character of Boba Fett (after all, he was little more than a minor background figure with only seconds of screen time) but the care, attention and detail put into his design. In the entire original Star Wars trilogy, there is no other costume that is as detailed and complicated as Boba Fett. His helmet alone is a masterpiece, merging the aesthetic of ancient Corinthian hoplites with futuristic technology. The design provides an inspiring canvas and we were fortunate to have twenty amazing artists step up to take on the world’s most famous bounty hunter!
The easy answer is, look for an awe inspiring composition, a refined color palette, dynamic character poses, and original ideas. But my job in researching the Making of Return of the Jedi was to differentiate between a McQuarrie production illustration and his licensed artwork. Not so easy as it might sound, as they’re all stored together in the archives.
Hello! I’m James and I’m one half of the brains behind the Bounty Hunt at Star Wars Celebration VI. My friend Dan and I have been organizing photo scavenger hunts and puzzle races for several years now, and we’re bringing all our fiendish fun to Orlando. We think that the Bounty Hunt is great for Star Wars fans who want to do something fun, exciting, and active at CVI. This is our third time putting on a clue solving adventure at Star Wars Celebration, and we’ve got a few new tricks for this year.
Hi everyone! It’s James Arnold Taylor here officially kicking off the Countdown to Celebration VI! I’ve got special insights not only on who you’ll see and what you’ll be experiencing on the main state but also other galactic fun taking place throughout Celebration! Be sure to join me for the party and May the Force be with you!
Star Wars Celebration VI is coming to Orlando, Florida on August 23-26. Join the party that brings together fans of all ages to celebrate the pop culture phenomenon that is Star Wars.
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It’s no secret that I have a crush on Jabba the Hutt. What can I say? I find his laugh irresistible. So what better way to show my love for the coolest gangster in the galaxy than by wearing him on my feet!
Recently crafters have been hand-painting TOMS shoes with their favorite Star Wars characters. There have been shoes inspired by R2-D2, C-3PO, and even Boba Fett. For my Jabba-inspired footwear, I snagged an olive green pair and set out to make my sluggy slip-ons!