Sign In

The Making of The Empire Strikes Back

Author
Time

So what did everyone think?

I loved it, honestly. It repeats itself a few times here and there, but considering the raw length and amount of material in it, that's more than forgivable. And while I'm sure some of the more cynical among us will disagree, I found it overall very honest in dealing with 'touchy' subjects like Kurtz and Brackett. I even sensed some tiredness of David Prowse, even back then (he seems to me like he would get on ones nerves).

I was quite surprised that the whole wampa thing was a The Thing From Another World throwback; never thought of that. I still think it was good it never got made; it seemed like such an odd fragmented idea anyway.

And also, even though I've read and seen virtually everything out there, it wasn't until this that I feel I got a proper appreciation of how grueling the whole film was to do.

I'm looking very much forward to the Jedi book; I have almost no impression of Marquand as a person, nor truly his relationship with Lucas and his role on the film. I have some fixed ideas about it, but it'll be very interesting to see that given the same treatment.

Zombie, what did you make of the last page? Was that a distant reply to your book you think?

Kitbashed
Essays, videos and thoughts on the inspiration behind Star Wars.

Author
Time

I havent seen it yet. What does it say?

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

Author
Time

(the pre-release thread:

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Making-of-Empire-Strikes-Back-pushed-back-to-October/topic/11307/ )

 

Only about half way (just finished the Carbon Freezing Chamber chapter), but agree it's more comprehensive then anything out there. 

Although it's nice to have the book, wish more that they would just release the raw documents on starwars.com, let the fans process the info.  Finding that while reading, wishing the full documentation was there.  Understand that's not the objective of the book, they've got a page limit and font size to adhere to.  But digital media allows for additional info.  Even if it was on a Kindle would like to know the source for each quote.  Have read people's comments that quotes which appear back to back could be 20 years apart.  Understanding when things were said is a factor in this kind of book.  So maybe a few years after the Jedi book, LFL will make some online fan club or SW Research Society where people could hear the Arnold tapes or see the early story meeting transcripts.

Personally, amazed to see how much they accomplished in 3 short years.

Some new perspectives in the book which I hadn't come across elsewhere.  For instance after repeated bickering on the Battlestar Galactica front, (hey we're doing a snow planet!) seemed that eventually it came down to getting their equipment back more then the concept similarities.  But conversely, found it funny that in the early days of setting up the corporation, they had the secretary answer fan mail and distributing cease & desists.

Maybe there's more Prowse in the second half, but just read the 'i've got a book' story and he seems to be sizing up the situation and attempting to interject something to alleviate everyone's stress at his own detriment.  Also with Carrie Fisher's current revelations of non-work extracurriculars trying to piece that into this book, but realize that who knows what other issues haven't surfaced since everyone is waiting for the person with the issue to reveal it when they chose to.

On Brackett, there's some aspect of her work they were trying to inject into the project and maybe it's there, but it's not acknowledged what that is.  But her script as they point out was a fairly straight forward interpretation of the story meeting.  Sure much of the wording was off/not-SWarsy but a lot of that seems cosmetic.  Especially as you continue reading and Rinzler lays out how each player who was brought on board manipulated the story.  GL's idea, Bracket script, GL script, Kazdan script, Kershner on set changes, all the way down to the actors were all molding the story.  ESB comes across as one of the most collaborative of efforts.  That's what i'm taking away from this book.

 

I'll second that the Jedi book will be an interesting look into Marquand.  Recently re-saw an interview he did where Marquand talks about the difference between him and Kershner.  And i'm not sure if he's kidding or serious, but his comments seem off.  This ESB relied heavily on the Arnold book and the Peecher book is a backbone to hang the RotJ book on, so it seems like a no-brainer.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Ideally, the Jedi book should be the most revealing if it's done right. It will probably be surprising how EMPIRE is perceived as such a not-masterpiece throughout 1981. And how much of JEDI is a deliberate reaction to the not-uncommon notion that EMPIRE just wasn't fun enough.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

In some ways, there needs to be redress to give Marquand back his due. Most sources, including the official ones sort of put Lucas up front and then Marquand either beside him or behind him, but everyone was more interested in Lucas. And of course, subsequent to this, it's become the sort of standard POV that Lucas directed the film through Marquand. I'm guilty of propogating this myself. While its mainly true, it also de-emphasizes the very real contributions and controls Marquand had.

That he died in 1987 surely contributes to this. I wonder how Kershner would be regarded if he had passed in 1987? No voice to continue to speak about the film with. Because after the films came and went, no one took interest in either of them until the mid-90s, when all of a sudden people were looking back at their contributions differently.

That's one thing I absolutely loved about the documentary made here, Returning to Jedi. It really put Marquand up front and it was really bizarre to hear so many of his thoughts on his own film, it's the only real time I actually got a sense of him as a director.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

Author
Time

Baronlando said:

Ideally, the Jedi book should be the most revealing if it's done right. It will probably be surprising how EMPIRE is perceived as such a not-masterpiece throughout 1981. And how much of JEDI is a deliberate reaction to the not-uncommon notion that EMPIRE just wasn't fun enough.

By whom? The fans or Lucasfilm? The only major criticism I can recall back in the day was "we only got half a movie" gripe.

Whatever perceptions there were back then, it certainly never stopped anyone from going back and seeing the movie five more times. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Yes, I also remember the film being received very well back then.

Author
Time

zombie84, what's your take on the book, especially the Father-Vader element?

Darth_Nub, myself,  and others have been discussing it over at TF.N.

The poster also known as, "Tosche-Station"

"This is spurious business!" -  'Anonymous'

"Don't freakin' dissemble!" - Jack Nicholson as the Joker if he were in the movie 'Anger Management'

Author
Time

Rinzler's Blog:

P.S. Errata
Unfortunately, The Making of ESB went out with a few mistakes. We hope to fix all of these by the fourth printing. The biggest one-and if it's any consolation to fans, the one that has kept me up at night-is that a double-page matte-painting spread of the Falcon in the book is actually from Return of the Jedi, not Empire; and not painted by McQuarrie but by Michael Pangrazio. A host of strange circumstances went into that error, but I take the blame. Another series of small errors occurred when the publisher replaced my screen grabs from the original ESB version on DVD with screen grabs from the Special Edition DVD; Del Rey regrets the error, too.

We try and minimize all errors by having expert readers go through each of our nonfiction and fiction books, but mistakes happen. It's some sort of cosmic law against perfection.
I love that they're going to remove the SE shots from future printings. Of course, it's probably too later for MoSW...

“005 is super hep” - dahmage

Star Wars Revisited Wordpress / Facebook / Twitter

005’s List of List & Comparisons