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.
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I grew up with Star Wars, but unlike a lot of fans, I actually started with The Phantom Menace. I was eight years old in 1999, and the experience of seeing that movie did more to propel me into watching the Original Trilogy over and over again than any marketing campaign ever could. I was, quite simply, hooked. The releases of Episodes II and III completed my viewing experience, but before then, I had The Phantom Menace and its huge array of established plot lines to ponder. Starting from the beginning and then jumping ahead gave me a glimpse of the Empire and the Jedi-less galaxy that Palpatine would establish, but it wasn’t until first 2002 and finally 2005 that I would have my many “How did we get there?” questions answered.