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The Making of Star Wars (Star Wars: The Making of #1)

4.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,135 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling SF saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original ...more
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Del Rey (first published 2007)
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The Making of Star Wars by J.W. RinzlerRebecca by Jennifer Leigh WellsAll About All About Eve by Sam StaggsJAWS by Matt  TaylorThe Sound of Music by Julia Antopol Hirsch
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kelly Lynn Thomas
Feb 05, 2014 Kelly Lynn Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, star-wars
J.W. Rinzler is an excellent, meticulous researcher who is able to present his information in a clear, interesting manner. He has the talent to do this for both books like this one, that are "out of universe" and for "in universe" books like the Star Wars blue prints series. For die hard fans, he's a real treasure. This is a fantastic book, filled with wonderful details about the making of my favorite movie, ever. It's fun to read, and has great photographs, but it also makes a great reference ...more
Jack Gattanella
Jan 23, 2016 Jack Gattanella rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
"This film has been murder." - George Lucas

"I told George, 'You can't say that stuff, you can only type it.' But I was wrong. It worked." - Harrison Ford

If you're a major Star Wars fan (more than I am, and I like the films quite a bit on the whole, yes even the prequels to greater or certainly lessor degrees), you've likely already read this, and probably own it as well since it's been out for over ten years. The people I'd like to recommend this book t0 are those who like movie books and have a
Review written: 10th January, 2016

Making of Star Wars by JW Rinzler

Why I read it: Due to The Force Awakens being a thing now I figured it was worth pulling this old book out and reading it again.

Rating: 4/5

What I thought: I didn’t like this as much as I did the first time I read it, and I’m not sure why. In hindsight a bit of it could be that there was a little too much filmmaking minutiae thrown around in there that I couldn’t quite excavate properly. In certain respects though I’m happier with
Jul 11, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This is the book that would have changed my life had I read it as a 14-20 year old, causing me to pursue a career in film.

Having just completed it as a 37-year-old, I'm still highly inspired by the persistence, creativity, leadership, teamwork, and raw determination displayed by so many who collaborated on this film. Simply the making of this movie is as dramatic as the story itself, and highly worth the reading.

This is for fans of Star Wars, movie buffs, film historians, and - for the right per
Geoff Gresh
Jan 14, 2010 Geoff Gresh rated it it was amazing
One of the few Star Wars books that avoids staring through the rose-colored glasses and shows Lucas & Co as what they were: a bunch of 20-something prodigies who could have just as well made a huge sci-fi flop as they could a media empire. Most of the interviews were culled from the time of actual production, so there's not much revisionist history. An excellent read with lots of awesome photos of people in 70s dress.
Nov 27, 2016 Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may look like just a big coffee table book, but it is a well-researched and insightful document of how Star Wars came to be. I had had just about enough of Star Wars merchandizing and hype at this point, but this book reintroduced me to the idea that George Lucas was a sensational film maker (and also someone who could never write dialogue). This does a great job describing the historical context and provides interesting detail for Star Wars.

I would recommend the Kindle version, its much ch
Nov 01, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Star Wars fans, people who think it's easy to make movies
I first saw Star Wars at the age of 3, and from my early childhood until today, I have spent countless hours reading about that movie. From the first comic book adaptations, to magazine article and books, I have always wanted to know more about how the movie was made.

I've seen at least a dozen "making of" documentaries and shows, and even attended a 30th anniversary screening of the film after which George Lucas, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammill, and the special effects, sound and editorial crews r
Mike Smith
Dec 24, 2013 Mike Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For long-time fans of Star Wars, this enhanced e-book will contain much that is familiar. It discusses the evolution of the movie's plot, George Lucas's innovative approach to movie-making, the reluctance of 20th Century Fox to back the film's production (which led to many compromises), the stress of the production process, and nearly everyone's inability to understand what this ground-breaking move was all about. But where this book shines above others I've read, such as Garry Jenkins's Empire ...more
Feb 24, 2011 Warren rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Star Wars Filmmaking Fans
delivers - by conveying the reality behind the film. A strong sense of being there while it was made.

tons of tiny details that help bring all the creative peeps involved from (from lucas to mirch to coppola, and on and on) down to earth, while pulling back the curtain a weee bit on lucas's little talked about saavy business decisions.

Was blown away to read about the ways in which ILM was sort of a union breaking art-engineering collective/experiment. Very interested in the perspectives of all th
Jeff Lanter
Mar 26, 2014 Jeff Lanter rated it really liked it
This is a very impressive book in many respects. The physical copy is very hefty and retails for $80. That is probably more than a casual fan would spend on a Star Wars book, but if you can get your hands on this one, it is well worth it. I've read all of the prequel making of books and I find that this one is much stronger than any of those and not just because the original movies are a lot better than the prequels either.

What is impressive is how detailed and well-researched the Making of Star
Jef Blocker
Feb 12, 2016 Jef Blocker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of the best overviews of the film-making process from idea conception to the premier.

I'd forgotten what a huge impact Star Wars made on my life when I was a kid, and this book brought back memories of reading the Marvel comic book adaptation first and having to wait until it was re-released in the Summer of '78 to finally see the movie. (This was before Netflix, Red Box, and HBO, kids!)

I enjoyed the interviews--from crew, actors, and other film-maker friends of George Luca
Carey Walker
Dec 21, 2013 Carey Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Making of Star Wars is a book that all Star Wars fans and enthusiasts should read. This book is incredibly detailed about the making of the movie. It's amazing that it captures the first moment George Lucas brought up the idea and discussed it publicly through the multiple drafts and studio issues all the way through the release and Lucas's "retirement" from directing. While I've always had respect for George Lucas, this open my eyes even more to what he brought, and is probably still ...more
Greg Pettit
This book was a really interesting look at all the difficulties George Lucas went through in creating Star Wars. It's strange to think about how different that movie and the times were, especially now in a post-Star Wars world.

I liked the use of sources contemporary to the time. It's refreshing to read people's doubts about the movie even being finished, let alone as successful as it was. I liked the discussion of the changes to the different drafts, and I really appreciated the appendix that in
Mar 13, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it it was amazing
The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler
Ballantine Books, 2007
353 pages
Non-fiction; Hollywood
5/5 stars

Source: Library

This is a massive coffee-table book but it is covering a big topic: the genesis and making of Star Wars (A New Hope). There are so many pictures, excerpts from early scripts, quotes from many of the principal figures, both on and off screen talent. The best part is that those quotes are culled from interviews from about 1975-79, right as the instances happened and not as involved i
Nov 26, 2010 Jlawrence rated it really liked it
It's hard to think of the Star Wars franchise now without summoning up the glitzy mediocrity of the prequels or Lucas' seemingly unending attraction to worse and worse ideas (refusing to allow the original theatrical release to be restored, despite various offers from industry experts; plans to re-do the the original trilogy in 3D, etc). But if you haven't gone *completely* sour on the Star Wars universe, this book, along with The Secret History of Star Wars, can remind you what an unprecedented ...more
Feb 15, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to call it I would say I'm a bigger film fan generally than a Star Wars fan specifically but this was in the library and I'd heard good things about it.

It's an immense but thoroughly readable chronicle of Star Wars from inception to release. The level of detail is enough to satisfy most people, certainly a casual fan and there's a lot of fine print detail, far deeper than the usual anecdotes most people are aware of. I found it fascinating for the most part, occasionally a bit too much
Oct 16, 2014 James rated it really liked it
I was six years old in 1977. Which means Star Wars was my favorite drug as a kid.

Reading this book was a major fix.

The main thing that struck me was how this movie pretty much ushered in the modern age of entertainment. From ancillary marketing to special effects to the size of the audience. It's the blueprint for what everyone wants to do these days. Which affects everything. Before Star Wars, what was there to match it? Everything that orbits the beating star at the center of the nerdy enterta
Brad Wheeler
Jun 10, 2014 Brad Wheeler rated it really liked it
I'm adding this to my "history" shelf for a reason. It's not just a movie tie-in with EXCLUSIVE, 100% UNOFFICIAL secrets or something that you'd ever find advertised in TMZ. Instead, it surprised me by being and exhaustively detailed and comprehensive look at the four-year process of getting Star Wars made.

A lot of the broad info I already knew, but this book is worthy of calling itself "definitive." Lots of primary sources from Fox and Lucasfilm make their first appearance in this book, most of
Matti Karjalainen
Sep 25, 2014 Matti Karjalainen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Star Wars -faneille. Leffafriikeille.
J.W. Rinzlerin "Making of Star Wars" (Ebury & Vermilion, 2008) on kiinnostava tietokirja, joka kertoo ensimmäisen Tähtien sota -elokuvan syntyprosessia aina ensimmäisistä luonnoksista ensi-iltaviikon menestykseen saakka. Elokuva ei syntynyt ongelmitta, budjetti paisui alituisesti ja elokuvastudio pelkäsi menettävänsä sijoittamansa rahat.

George Lucasin lisäksi Tähtien sodan syntyä valottavat muun muassa näyttelijät, kuvaajat, erikoistehosteista ja äänistä vastanneet ihmiset ja monet muut pros
Nov 15, 2014 Revan97 rated it it was amazing
I am a member of The Star Wars Action Team or SWAT ( and I was very exited when our community manager added the entire Star Wars "Making of" trilogy to the SWAT Rewards Store. Not only was I able to purchase all three of these great books with credits I earned for creating pieces of Star Wars art, building Star Wars dioramas, posting reviews of Del-Rey SW books ect., but all three of the books where signed by J.W. Rinzler himself! After reading books like "George Lucas: C ...more
Nick Nguyen
Sep 18, 2014 Nick Nguyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Superior account of a game-changing American film that provides a detailed narrative of the painful process of the project from idea to release. The presentation of the oral histories by the major players, rare materials from the production archives, and the evolution of the film through its multiple screenplay drafts offers a fascinating look at the challenges faced by Lucas and his team at every level, including the never-ending struggles to gain the confidence of 20th Century Fox. Th
Aug 28, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing
Excellent not only for Star Wars fans, but for anyone interested in how films get made. There's real drama and suspense here: Lucas' difficulty to obtain backing for what was an ambitious kids' movie; putting together a crew that would attempt to do groundbreaking work, and actually getting it done and in the process changing cinema history.
The book is gorgeous: great attention to detail, loads of never-seen-before sketches and photos, and sections that chronicle the evolution of the story, sho
Todd Bauerle
Mar 08, 2014 Todd Bauerle rated it it was amazing
While the name says it all, we have had a few of "these" already. More accurately, this should be titled The Definitive Making of Star Wars, because that is what this book is.

Rinzler has done a masterful job of combing through antique articles, insightful interviews and detailed documents to piece this grand work of another together. Packed with rare photos, candid conversations and script revisions, this book covers all the subtle nuance and monument that was poured into and created by, Star Wa
Stephen Foster
Apr 16, 2011 Stephen Foster rated it really liked it
I like Star Wars. It is pretty cool. Thus this book was enjoyable to me.

Seriously though, this book is just an incredibly in-depth look at the making of Star Wars. It follows the movie starting from its genesis as an idea in Lucas's head for a "space-opera fantasy film", through to its eventual triumphant release as it became a worldwide phenomenon. Along the way it details the many rewrites and story changes the script saw, and covers the constant problems and setbacks that plagued production.
Jan 15, 2014 ANDREW R PRUNIER rated it it was amazing
I read the enhanced Kindle edition. The journey that this movie took from George Lucas's mind to the screen is a pretty crazy and unlikely one, and every detail you could possibly want to know is in here. I especially like the neat anecdotes, particularly the stories about how the special effects were made. The founding of ILM is probably the best part. They spent six months and close to half a million dollars (out of an $8 million budget for the whole film) to produce four shots, which Lucas ...more
Jul 16, 2011 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic, detailed, and fascinating telling of the story behind the making of Star Wars told in the original words of those involved!

Culled from hundreds of interviews given throughout the three year making of Star Wars, this book gives the inside, real world grit perspective on one of history's most amazing films. All the troubles, frustrations, and obstacles that George Lucas and his crew had to overcome are shown for what they are: a heroic struggle to make an original piece of cinematic m
Apr 08, 2015 Bobby rated it it was amazing
This book is the definition of "definitive". Even die-hard Star Wars fans may be overwhelmed after finishing this. Not only is it the most extensive and detailed behind-the-scenes account of the making of Star Wars, full of previously unseen photos and production documents, but it really makes the historical case for how groundbreaking the struggle and work of George Lucas and his filmmakers was.

Lucas had to create what amounted to a research and development corporation and factory for designing
Jan 27, 2010 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book for Star Wars fans, it painstakingly documents the process of the creation of the original Star wars film. There's a complete history of the movie from its very inception, throughout its numerous draft changes, filming mishaps and funding problems.

What's also interesting is that most of the interviews are from around the release of the original film, I believe no interview is from later than 1979. As such, the book closely relays how all the people involved actually felt at t
Robert McGovern
Feb 09, 2014 Robert McGovern rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
I read the enhanced edition (iBooks) and this book from Rinzler was throughly fascinating, particularly as it covers a bit more of the struggles behind the scenes at ILM than I was previously aware off.

The scary thing about the book is that there could have been so much more content. I'd love to see the raw complete unfiltered interviews that form part of the basis of this book, like the B5 "Echoes of all our Conversations" books.

I never say the print version of the books, but the enhanced editi
Philip Isaacs
Sep 23, 2015 Philip Isaacs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I read this book I had a lot of respect for George Lucas, creating a universe from scratch, moulding it and watching it take shape is a titanic venture and I thought I understood that, how wrong I was.

This book has opened my eyes to how much truly went into the making of Star Wars and from it I have a deeper respect for George Lucas.

The number of people that went into making this groundbreaking film is astounding and the technology and methods they created from scratch is amazing. So man
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J.W. Rinzler is a senior editor at Lucasfilm, and has enjoyed unprecedented access to the creative processes behind the scenes of Star Wars: Episode III, including being on the set in Australia for much of the principal photography and restricted meetings at Skywalker Ranch and ILM. Before joining Lucasfilm, he was an editor and writer in the gaming industry.

More about J.W. Rinzler...

Other Books in the Series

Star Wars: The Making of (3 books)
  • The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars:  The Making of, #2)
  • The Making of Return of the Jedi (Star Wars:  The Making of, #3)

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“I think Disney would have accepted this movie if Walt Disney were still alive. Walt Disney not only had vision, but he was also an extremely adventurous person. He wasn’t afraid.” 0 likes
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