In the 1970s, Georga Lucas began creating a space fiction film trilogy following Luke Skywalker on his journey a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Forty-one years after Star Wars exploded onto cinema screens, new behind the scenes images, concept art, on-set photographs, and a first person account by writer, director and producer George Lucas has been released, and just in time for the holidays.
The 600-page book The Star Wars Archives: 1977—1983 published by Taschen will have die-hard Star Wars fans relive the original trilogy, as Lucas recounts the making of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
From the drafts to concept art, the book reveals how Lucas’s characters evolved from ideas to reality. For example, Luke Skywalker was a girl at one point, stormtroopers resembled American soldiers in Vietnam with slogans and numbers on their jackets, and Darth Vader resembled an intergalactic bounty hunter. Even Yoda was thought to be played by a monkey before master puppeteer Frank Oz hand-operated and voiced the little green Jedi master.
“When I’m doing a movie, in my mind I see it already finished. I write scripts without a lot of detail,” Lucas reveals in the book. “They do not need much detail—everything is so clear in my mind.”
But in order to produce what he was envisioning, Lucas needed the technology. While filming the first Star Wars film, he formed Industrial Light & Magic in order to meet the special effects required. There Lucas innovated editing techniques and heightened sounds for a cinematic experience like never before.
“For one thing, we were young and stupid and full of ourselves,” Lucas recalls. “For another, nobody could do it. Studios could not think that far out or that far ahead.”
The Star Wars Archives is selling for $200 and is available online at Taschen.com. Check out the gallery above for a glimpse inside George Lucas’s world.