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Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
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Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  16 reviews
This book covers many aspects of the filming, and as Arnold has covered decades of movie making before writing this book, he is obviously genuinely impressed with the scale of the production. Good interviews with important members of the cast and crew; even includes Sir Alec Guiness. Especially illuminating chats with Lucas about the overall nine part structure of Star War ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published 1980 by Del Rey
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Wayland Smith
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge Star Wars fan. Know that going in. Not only do I have an entire bookcase (not shelf, case) of Star Wars novels which is overflowing, when I got the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, it took about a week until no one in my circle of friends would play with me. You get the idea.

This is a journal from a publicist connected to The Empire Strikes Back, and it details parts of the making of that movie, which many consider to be the best of the original three. I found it a fascinating read. The nu
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, making-of
Alan Arnold was a veteran film publicist (he mentions working with Tallulhan Bankhead, amongst other Hollywood Greats) who, when assigned to ESB, kept a journal (published as copyright Lucasfilm). Picking up from the start of production and following it through to the scoring, Arnold’s complete access allows valuable insight into the behind-the-scenes processes (though, peculiarly, he appears to spend only one day at ILM). Arnold is careful to describe most people in glowing terms, though he’s a ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cheapthrills
There are some fabulously interesting tidbits in this document about the making of one of my favorite films. But as an editor, I found the writing style even more interesting. This type of content would today be published as, e.g., a blog on There would be an expectation of, say, an eighth-grade reading level (and I'm talking a 2020 eighth grade reading level, not a 1980 one). Instead, I feel like I'm reading the Times Literary Supplement. Definitely worth a read if you can find a ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Long out of print, but worth tracking down. Written by a veteran British publicist, this has more of a personal feel of an outsider looking in on what would be the best of the Star Wars films. Interesting look at a time that people have forgotten about: that period between Star Wars and the release of "Empire", when Star Wars became such a huge hit that no one expected, especially the cast, and the uncertainty of whether they could pull it off again with a sequel. Well, we all know what happened ...more
Amber the Human
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-by-me
My favorite quote from the book (as I've memorized it): "While shooting the scenes that take place on Degobah, Mark Hamill was surprised to find a snake crawling up the inside leg of his pants. After the snake handler came to retrieve the wayward snake, he cheerfully told Mark that it was a harmless snake of course and Mark shouldn't worry. Mark responded with 'I don't keep snakes there.'" As a fourteen year old, I found this beyond hilarious.
Raymond Daigle
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent "You are THERE!" vintage "making of book" that acts as a near perfect time capsule of the production of this incredible film. If you can find a copy, buy it!

With that said, I'm REALLY looking forward to reading the recently published book by J. Rinzler on the same subject.
Matt Towler
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this in a local comic shop (The Outer Limits, Waltham, MA) that has many hidden treasures to be found on its crowded shelves, such as a used paperback like this.
"Empire" is still thought by many (including me) to be the best out of the now many movies in the series, so it's interesting to read about the process on this, only the second one, and read interviews from the then-young creators and actors about their sudden fame attained from the first movie and where they might go on after f
Chris Wilson
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a treat - thank you to Mike Ryan at Uproxx for writing about this and letting me know it existed, as it served as a reminder that I do love Star Wars and just hate The Rise of Skywalker. A day-by-day diary of the filming featuring interviews with Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, George Lucas and a lot of the production crew casually dropped in. I would like one of these to exist for every movie.

(This is a five-star rating for Star Wars nerds, but I think that would also apply if y
Jay Gabler
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a rare, extraordinary book. Imagine being a fly on the wall during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back in Norway and in England, then getting to visit Ben Burtt's studio and have a cocktail with John Williams in California. The fact that Arnold hails from an earlier era just adds to the book's peculiar charm as he offers his asides on the contemporary political situation, chats with Alec Guinness about the films of yesteryear, and refers to the movie's stars as "the young principals." In ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
so fascinating to read contemporary accounts of this stuff - it's impossible to truly capture what it must have been like at the time, but this'll do. much of this is purely interview transcripts, and even though it doesn't feel like true PR work, a lot of it just basically PR work. LOVE hearing about Carrie's "illnesses"
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best film in the series and the best Star Wars book I've read yet.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was interesting, especially in how the author viewed his interactions with the primary characters. Also - looking back at events that transpired 35 years ago, and knowing the outcomes, decreased the suspense the author was trying to create.

the book gave some interesting insights about the struggles of making the movie - they didn't cease with the making of EPIV.

Anyone who is a diehard fan should probably read this.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

As others have mentioned, this is a useful time capsule because it was written before George Lucas tried to retrofit his saga to be the story of Darth Vader. So many contradictions between the current company line and what Mr. Arnold presents in this book. For further and more detailed reading, I would recommend the Secret History of Star Wars which expands the rampant Lucas revisionism.
Eugene Caputi
May 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Interesting as a time capsule when publicists could write books like this and get away with it.
I read it as a kid when I was majoring in Star Wars, then flipped through it as an adult and had to laugh at all the studio approved tidbits.

Nicholas Forbes
Great behind the scenes look.
Gwendolyn Mayo
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything you wanted to know about the behind the scenes of a blockbuster. Interesting read!
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