About a year ago, Random House came to us with the idea of creating enhanced eBooks out of the three Making of books I’d written on the original trilogy. Odd as it may seem, a year is not a long time. When possible I made busy forays in the film archives on Skywalker Ranch, where archivist Monica Chin-Perez was invaluable in helping to dig up old reels of 16mm behind-the-scenes footage and 35mm dailies (actual scenes filmed on set by one of the main cameras and subsequently chosen to be “printed”/developed). We had the selected film digitized at Spy Post and then went through another selection period, during which I showed what I found to marketing and PR, and to experts Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee, for their feedback. We pretty much all agreed on what was the most interesting material.
Archive for ‘Books and Comics’
Concept art has always played a huge role in the creation of Star Wars films, from Ralph McQuarrie’s original work on A New Hope, which brought George Lucas’ early ideas to life, to Iain McCaig’s designs of Darth Maul during the development of The Phantom Menace. Abrams’ new tome Star Wars Art: Concept, released this week, celebrates the concept art of a galaxy far, far away, with pre-production drawings and paintings from the films, TV series, video games, and more — and features a forward by filmmaker Joe Johnston, who served as a storyboard and concept artist on the original trilogy and designed Boba Fett’s costume, and an introduction from prequel trilogy (and future Star Wars films) artist Doug Chiang. Check out a special preview of selections from Star Wars Art: Concept after the jump!
Mythological creatures come in any shape and size, their appearance only limited by the boundaries of the human imagination. Earth’s history is full of mythological creatures and fabled monsters, some of which have found their way to the Star Wars universe, either in form or in name. While the best known creatures are probably from Greek mythology, the most prominently referenced specimens have their origin in the Old Testament. The behemoth and the leviathan are mentioned in the Book of Job and have become the metaphors for any large monster or sea creature, respectively. Star Wars knows several of these creatures. The Behemoth from the World Below and the Sith Behemoths were creations of Sith alchemy, as were several incarnations of the leviathan. Other leviathans lived on Dorumaa and Arrakan.
Since the Bible didn’t include too many clues towards the appearance of these monsters, the behemoths and leviathans featured in Star Wars and many other stories come in many different forms. Therefore, the link between Earth mythology and the creatures and sentients of the saga may not be as obvious as with some of the other fabled beasts that made their way into a galaxy far, far away…
See-Threepio once noted that he was “not very good at telling stories.” While the validity of that claim may be debatable, given his Ewok fireside chat in Return of the Jedi, it turns out that Threepio wasn’t the franchise’s real storyteller anyway. That distinction, it appears, goes to Artoo-Detoo.
More on that in a moment.
“R2-D2, where are you?” and “There’s one! Set for stun!” will probably be two of the best recognized quotes from the Star Wars movies by parents in the ’70s and ’80s. These phrases were among two of the six sounds produced by Kenner’s Imperial Troop Transport vehicle. It was announced recently during the panel of Star Wars Rebels at New York Comic Con that this iconic toy will appear in the upcoming animated television series. So it seems like a perfect timing to have a closer look at the Kenner vehicles that have not (yet?) made it into a Star Wars movie. But, be not mistaken. Several of these vehicles have already flown, hovered or rolled their way into other mediums of the Star Wars franchise.
The Wheel, the most opulent gambling resort in the Star Wars galaxy, was created in 1978 by comics legends Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino for a storyline in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars issues #18-23, leaving an indelible mark on the Expanded Universe. Since then, it has been a major setting for stories set during the Clone Wars, and more than a hundred years into the future in Dark Horse’s Republic and Legacy series, as well as featuring in the Essential Guide books and many roleplaying game titles. This is its story. In case you missed it, you can find part one here.
Today sees the release of J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Return of the Jedi, an epic tome chronicling the years of hard work that went into the last film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucasfilm, had unprecedented access to the source materials, concept art, and handwritten notes in the Lucasfilm Archives, and his extensive research shines through in the pages of this book.
Nothing like killing two birds with one stone: Joe Johnston drew this concept sketch to go with early drafts of Revenge of the Jedi. But it also illustrates something from the very first draft of Star Wars, which George wrote back in 1974. In the “Revenge” scripts, Princess Leia has various run-ins with some vaguely described “Imperial trackers,” who are also causing problems with the Ewoks and Yussem. Given that Johnston has added forearm guards and a head mask, it’s possible that George Lucas had already envisioned these Imperials seated on rocket bikes (later, speeder bikes). They also had “T-bombs” and a garland of (Ewok? Yussem?) teeth.
Hello! It is my pleasure to write a piece for the official Star Wars blog about myself, Hans Jenssen, and my good friend and very talented colleague Richard Chasemore. I’m proud to say we illustrated almost the entire series of DK’s Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections and Locations books.