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The Making of Return of the Jedi

(Star Wars: The Making of #3)

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  50 reviews
This is the definitive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. The author of The Making of Star Wars and The Making of the Empire Strikes Back, J. W. Rinzler uses his unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its trove of never-before-published photos, design sketches, paintings, production notes, factoids, anecdot ...more
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Del Rey
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Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been reading this during the in between moments of the day for about two months. Breakfasts after the family left, during lunch, etc. I enjoyed the hell out of the first two books because they pulled open my childhood memories of these movies - all the obsession for the toys, behind the scenes photos, the magic of special effects, etc etc - and gave me a post-mortem on what the true experience of creating such a juggernaut was like. I've enjoyed them because the human element of discovery w ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film, making-of, nostalgia
In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a big fan not only of the original Star Wars trilogy but also of behind-the-scenes books and so this was an absolute perfect fit for me. The third in Rinzler’s series - but the first I’ve read - this is an exhaustive account of making the third Star Wars film from preparing the script right through to the release. I thought I knew a lot about the production (last year I read Peecher’s “The Making If Return Of The Jedi” and although that is quoted frequently here, ...more
Mike Smith
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like J.W. Rinzler's other behind-the-scenes books about making the original Star Wars films, this one gives a wealth of detail I wasn't aware of about the pre-production, production, and post-production of Return of the Jedi. What is impressive is that although this book is authorized and therefore blessed by George Lucas, it still presents some of the many narrative, creative, and personal problems that plagued Jedi.

Lucas knowingly re-used many plot points from the first Star Wars (such as the
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These "making of" books are fascinating reading for both Star Wars diehards and movie nerds. I did not expect the tome on ROTJ's production to be so stressful though: the behind the scenes stories are infused with a sense of weariness, like everyone just wanted to get it over with and move beyond Star Wars. Hostility even creeps into meetings, such as the arguments between George Lucas and the other writers over the Ewoks and the second Death Star attest. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie F ...more
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-wars
This was a fitting end to a trilogy of extremely well made and informative books. There isn't a lot to say other than this book would fascinate Star Wars fans and also fans of cinema. Don't expect to read it in a weekend though.

Random things I remember that interested me:

It was sad reading about how flippantly the Boba Fett death was decided. This was one of the major mistakes of the third film and it didn't seem like they took it too seriously at the time.

Lucas continued his extreme dislike of
Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella
"There is no difference between doing this kind of film and playing King Lear. The actor's job is exactly the same: Dress up and pretend."- Harrison Ford on working with Ewoks for RETURN OF THE JEDI (though he said this later on) also Ford: "I'm glad I did all three. I'm glad it brought itself to a natural conclusion. But three is enough for me. I was glad to see that costume for the last time. I dont think it had a very successful ending, with that Teddy Bear picnic."

(someone on the crew, I fo
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-wars, movies-tv
I've been a massive Star Wars fan most of my life, and when I was a kid, Return of the Jedi was my favorite movie. I thought it was such an exciting, satisfying ending to Luke's journey. As I grew older, The Empire Strikes Back (a movie that scared the crap out of me at 7 years old) eventually moved into the spot of #1 favorite (and I believe many other fans share the same preference). However, I still have a huge amount of nostalgia and love for RotJ.

Ordinarily, learning about the making of a
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If, like me, you love all things “Making Of”, then J. W. Rinzlers “The Making Of Return Of The Jedi” is for you.

And when I say “Making Of” I mean true “Making Of” books that tell everything about a films production warts and all, rather than just pure promotional guff that tells you how great everyone was. It’s the honesty of the people featured in the book (and it features A LOT of people) that makes this a truly engrossing read. For example, even during pre-production some members of the crew
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This series was immensely enjoyable and informative, providing a lot of food for thought - and not just in useless nerd trivia. See my reviews of the other two books in this series.

This appears to have been the most difficult film to make, with the late Richard Marquand receiving an ambiguous treatment as the film's director and David Prowse nearly getting sued for constantly leaking information about the plot. The film was shot by Marquand, but was really put together over two years of post-pro
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got the feeling that everyone involved with the trilogy, especially George Lucas, was just glad to get this film made and out of the way. This book suffers slightly from having fewer direct sources to draw from, with most of the quotes coming from interviews done after the production was over. It's still very enjoyable if you're a Star Wars fan and interested in movie-making though. ...more
Shane Grier
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Circle complete

Mr. Rinzler has created his own magic with these books. I can't write enough about the ins and outs of the info provided through all facets of production. Here's hoping for a prequel set.
Scott MacBurnie
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like the films that preceded them, this "third chapter" in the "Making of ... " Rinzler trilogy rounds up the usual suspects and attempts to define the (by times) agonized process of bringing the third film to the screen. Unlike the first two installments, this one depends a great deal more upon later recollections of cast and crew, and as such, it sometimes feels as though there has been a bit of self-censorship in hindsight, at play. As such, it lacks some of the immediacy of the first two boo ...more
Jay Gabler
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know how people feel about Jedi, and they've felt that way since 1983, but as a disco baby, I've always held Episode VI in a special place given that it was the first Star Wars movie I was old enough to anticipate before it came out. In a typically detailed, sensitive history, Rinzler makes clear how George Lucas pushed himself to the end of his rope making the most epic production in the original trilogy, financially and logistically overextended yet again but committed to seeing the story to ...more
Scott Kardel
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
For some reason this book has been on my t0-be-read pile for a long time, but I finally got around to it. If you are a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy and are interested in the behind-the-scenes details of how the movies are made than you should read J.W. Rinzler's books on the making of the Star Wars movies, including this one on the making of The Return of the Jedi. I perhaps didn't enjoy it as much as the first two books, but that is likely because I don't love the movie as much as the ...more
Megan Kammeyer
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've skimmed through this one, but it is a masterpiece and very revealing about the production of Return of the Jedi. Much of the book makes me wish or long for what could have been put into the final film, but it's clear that the lack of budget and time, as well as a lack of creativity in some areas, caused the film to be altered. ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by J.W. Rinzler is truly an impressive book to behold. Within the 372 pages, the story of how Return of the Jedi was made is fully laid out in a wonderful format that’s thoroughly engaging. The book covers the entire process, from securing the funding for preproduction to the response of critics and fans after its release. There are summaries and passages from the early drafts of the scripts, behind the scenes stories from the actors and special effect ...more
Paxton Holley
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
Finishing out the Rinzler Star Wars Making of trilogy.

Loved all three of these books. Super in-depth. Lots of different viewpoints. Glad I read all three. I may try to read Rinzler’s Indiana Jones making of book next.
Dariusz Stochmal
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What can I say, it's Star Wars! ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, nonfiction
Very comprehensive book about the last movie of the original trilogy. The book is not only focused on the filming but also about characters development and plot changes.
Trent Hutzenbuhler
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing Star Wars history right here!
Sarah Webber
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, pop-culture
Finale to an excellent series. You want to glory over the photos and read it cover to cover, and then start all over again.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf, history, movies, to-follow
The creative development process is the most fascinating part of the story: story iterations and character sketches are produced and discussed and refined or discarded. Here the process seems rushed and the final product more a result of not having the time to think of anything better, and being constrained by having to wrap up a trilogy. Coruscant (then 'Had Abaddon') and two death stars are in the earlier drafts, with a rebel take over blowing up the imperial capital world. The concept paintin ...more
Alex Gregory
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review is for the Digital Edition of the book.

Rinzler once again nails it with The Making of Return of the Jedi, the last(?) exhaustive tome on the making of the original Star Wars Trilogy, combining hundreds of interviews with cast and crew, previously-unseen photos and videos from the set and a thorough look at the behind-the-scenes development of the production.

Rest assured, if you were amazed by the candor and frankness of some of the material in The Making of ANH and ESB, you won't be
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read Rinzler's books on the other two Star Wars original trilogy movies (as well as his book on Indiana Jones) I was anxious to read this one, especially after reading the enhanced book of "Empire Strikes Back" on my Kindle Fire around Christmas. I had been holding out on this one, though, so I could have something to read on vacation this summer.

This book was as well written and just as interesting as his other two and, even though I thought I knew a lot about the making of Jedi, this bo
Dennis Brock
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is an exhaustive work on the making of one of my favorite movies of all time. This book was simply fantastic! Huge in scope, which is why it took me 2 years to finish! I love learning about the intricacies of film making, and this volume definitely has that.

"Jedi" was the 2nd movie I remember seeing in a cinema (the first being "Empire"). I was 7 years old when it came out and it's my first movie experience I truly remember fully diving into: buying the official promo magazine @ the c
Brandon Forsyth
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The thing with exhaustive books is that they can sometimes be exhausting; the level of detail presented can bog you down and obscure a larger narrative. J.W. Rinzler has walked a fine line with all of his books on the making of the Star Wars trilogy, which, I think is safe to say, are the most comprehensive ever assembled on these films. This book took me a year and a half to read, something I would read a few pages of each day and take long breaks from (especially while I was reading about the ...more
Michael Otway
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THE BEST Behind The Scenes / Making of book that I have ever read from anyone or anything. The information in this book is incredible, the detail is mind blowing and the access you get is amazing. There are so many incredible photos as well.

I love the transcripts of writing meetings between Kasdan and Lucas where we get to see where the ideas came from and what could have been. It also shows you that despite what those who pretend to be in the know say, this movie was always called Return of the
Tim Lapetino
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm fascinated by the create process in many forms, and making films is one of the best ways to see the bumpy, messy, compromising and collaborative way that teams create wonderful things. The Star Wars films are perfect examples of this. The author wraps up this amazing trilogy of exhaustive "making of" books on the original film trifecta with this great volume on making Jedi. It's stressful, intense, beautiful, and has insights peppered throughout that George Lucas would later ignore or forget ...more
Michael Alexander
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is huge, both in terms of physical footprint and the content included. It took my a month and a half to get through it, mainly due to the fact that it's not the kind of book you can easily bring around with you.
This book is a true making of. It covers everything about the film, from pre production licensing negotiations to post release information. There are tons of great behind the scenes pictures and just gobs of information. Anyone interested in how a movie is made should check this
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Exhaustive doesn't even begin to cover this tome.

Really an amazing book that makes me realize I need to go back and purchase the first two volumes in the series.

I absolutely loved the concept art phase coverage and the variances with each draft of the script. The only part that started to drag for me personally was the bit about the actual filming -it's certainly in-depth enough to really intrigue students of film - but it got a little dry for me.

If you like Jedi, you will love this book. I guar
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J. W. Rinzler has authored over 20 books including two New York Times bestsellers and a #1 best-selling graphic novel. With more than 600,000 copies in print, his books have been translated into seven languages.

J. W. Rinzler grew up in Manhattan, New York City, and then in Berkeley, California. He fell in love with old monster films, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, as well as Robin Hood and othe

Other books in the series

Star Wars: The Making of (3 books)
  • The Making of Star Wars (Star Wars:  The Making of, #1)
  • The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars:  The Making of, #2)

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