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Merrick here... I had to break a kid's nose to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on opening day. In April and May 1980, I was in middle school and struggling with one particular class. As a result, my overall grades were wavering that semester and getting my parents' permission to miss school to see TESB...on the first feature of its first day on screens...was a nearly indefensible notion in their eyes. It didn't matter that I'd been waiting for the picture to arrive since I first heard it was coming in late 1977. It didn't matter that I'd already seen its progenitor film well over twenty times and owned every SW-related toy that could be had. It didn't matter that I'd paid to watch films I would never have gone to otherwise just to see trailers for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
I was having trouble in school that mom and dad were scared shitless about what that meant in the bigger picture...and EMPIRE was a dramatically rescinded priority in their eyes. After all, there was a future to consider. I sometimes wonder: if my parents could've looked forward through the years, and anticipated sites like this and the army of Geeks like me who scour the Internet every day looking to share news with the the same way I used to spend hours looking through Starlogs so that I could gossip about already outdated news with friends..would their answer have been different? Would my missing the opening day of EMPIRE have been in any way acceptable, or conceivable? It probably wouldn't have been. But there I was...failing a class, slogging through others, and I wasn't going. Then came a fateful exam. I don't even recall what class it was anymore - funny how details that seem so significant at a given moment erode into utter irrelevance over time. But I think it was biology. I'd worked my ass off prepping for an exam, felt I'd done pretty well on it when taking it, but ended up failing that test. Badly. When the teacher put it in my hands I was heartbroken - what the hell? What was it going to take? I glumly pushed through the over-institutionalized corridors of my school to head to choir class. I had a lower position on the bleachers in choir, and throughout the semester this arrogant, smarmy little asshole spent choir class after choir class thumping the back of the neck with spitballs he was blasting through a straw from his higher vantage point. I moved to my place, still fuming from the abysmal results of that bio test, and thump. One spitball on the back of the neck. Thump. Another - and he was a good shot. Thump. A third. I turned around, pushed through the people immediately behind me, climbed to his riser, made a fist, and punched that fucker square in the face. Blood flew everywhere - his nose split open as he toppled off the bleacher and back into a pile of chairs. My hand swelled up - it looked like Chris Pine's hand in Abrams' STAR TREK movie. Off to the nurse we went, before our inevitable visit to the principal's office. Turns out I'd broken my hand on that little turd's face. I got to PE the next day, my hand now fully encased with a cast. The school's main coach pulled me aside to ask what had happened. I explained the matter truthfully. The coach after explained that how I handled the matter was "wrong" (whatever)...but admitted that he knew the dude and felt he had it coming. Then he told me he was disappointed in me. Not because I'd gotten into a fight, but because "Sports Day" had just been scheduled for May 21, 1980. Sports Day" was an all day affair in which students in certain grade levels spent the whole day in athletic activities with other kids in the school district. It was like an in-district Olympics - an Olympics I didn't give two shits about. With that cast on my hand, the coach felt I was useless - they couldn't put me on the field. "You can come if you want to - to support your classmates. Otherwise, you might as well not even show up." And there it opening. Sports Day - May 21, 1980. Also THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK's opening day. And my coach had basically given me permission to miss school that day, because the plaster encompassing my battle damage had rendered me even more invaluable to the athletics department than I already was. With this ammunition, I was finally able to convince my parents that seeing TESB first screening, first day wasn't altogether irresponsible. Apparently caught up in my enthusiasm, my father...a university professor...canceled a class so that he could take me to the movie. A gesture, and a moment, that was more meaningful than I could express then...or now. His official cover story was that class was canceled for 'research purposes' - wonder how that played with his students, most of whom were waiting in line with us that morning and came up to say "hi." They also came up to express their appreciation for not having class, which gave them the chance to be part of something truly special. In my mind, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was the greatest of the STAR WARS films - it will most likely remain so forever. Perhaps, someday, someone will conjure a better installment - but such a notion seems highly improbable at best. EMPIRE married the magic of Lucas' introductory SW film with a maturity and depth the first movie never quite attained, resulting in a kind of magic that just doesn't come around too often. And so it was with great anticipation that I awaited the arrival of J. W. Rinzler's THE MAKING OF STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - because, as much as I thought I knew about how the STAR WARS films were made, there had to be more to the process than I could ever have imagined. And I wanted to know it all. Rinzler had done such amazing work with his MAKING OF STAR WARS book (available HERE), which I personally regard as (probably) the finest "Making of..." book ever released. How could subject matter as Geekasmically awesome as EMPIRE be anything less than stellar? And it is stellar.
THE MAKING OF STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is an astonishing accomplishment in many regards. It's "Everything I'd Always Wanted To Know About EMPIRE But Never Would've Thought To Ask." I'd have to look through it again to determine if this bests its MAKING OF STAR WARS predecessor, but it's way high up there...and at the very least equal to it. One important thing to consider before reading this book: it is dense, it is substantive, it is decidedly not frothy, and it is deliberately hardcore. This is not a breezy expose chronicling the creation of what many consider to be one of the greatest SF films of all time - this is steeped in a level of insight and detail that is almost dizzying at times. What follows are a only a few points of interest, which by no means represent the enormity of complex detail you'll find in this 349+ page book (which is rich in rare photos and production art, and sporting rather small print). ** A Foreward by Sir Ridley Scott... ** Not surprisingly, the widely reviled and frequently overlooked STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL - which aired on television between STAR WARS and EMPIRE and introduced us to Boba Fett - is touched on only cursorily here. But it is referenced and discussed briefly...
** Extensive notes illustrating the development of the film. Once considered for appearance in EMPIRE: Darth Vader's metallic castle in the snow (think the buildings of Cloud City - metal-hued - sticking out of a snow scape), a "Water Planet", a "Bog Planet", a "City Planet", the Wookie home world, etc. Many of the environments considered would appear in later films/permutations of STAR WARS. ** LUCAS: "The film was originally set up as a spooky movie, a horror kind of film..." ** The perils of financing the movie in the way it was financed... ** In early development, Yoda's first name was "Minch"... ** Side-by-side comparisons of scenes as written by Lucas -vs- the same movements as adjusted by Lawrence Kasdan.... **Multiple stills of the deleted Wampa attack on the Rebel Base (Hoth)... ***Large quantities of illustrations, storyboards, design progressions, behind the scenes machinations, and images of on-set production. One of my favorite shots is a full body shot of a Wampa ice creature, holding his paws over his private parts like he's shy... ** "Kersh asked me why I didn't direct EMPIRE myself," Lucas says. "You'll see..." I said. ** Fascinating word-for-word transcripts of on-set discussions between director Irvin Kershner, Harrison Ford, 1st Assistant Director David Tomblin, Director of Photography Peter Suschitzky, Carrie Fisher, etc. illustrating both the collaborative process and on-set interactions and tensions... ** Extensive assessment of visual effects approach and development (work began before shooting) - like the complexities of realizing ship motion, many illustrations address model work and matte painting. One section is called "Matte-Line Madness"... **Harrison Ford's deal was only for EMPIRE. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher's contracts had them not only for EMPIRE, but a third and fourth film. I wonder what that fourth film would've been in a different reality...and how things might be different had it happened... ** ADR notes... ** Development of promotional art up through final product... ** Development of title designs... And so, so much more. While its content may be a tad overwhelming to those not deeply steeped in (or intrigued by) the intricacies of massive film production, and may not be fully appreciated by someone who isn't deeply devoted to STAR WARS, THE MAKING OF STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is an important work whose insight and attention to minutiae will resonate for many years to come. If you've ever wondered what it would've been like to be involved in the creation of this movie - there will be few better opportunities to get a sense of having "been there." I'm assuming, and hoping, Rinzler will next turn his sights on RETURN OF THE JEDI. As we learned from THIS INTERVIEW with one time Lucas collaborator Gary Kurtz (producer of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS and EMPIRE) - many behind-the-scenes changes on that picture profoundly impacted not only the ROTJ we ended up seeing, but the course of Lucas' film making future. With such mindbending attention to detail, that tale could be pretty wonderful as well. You can learn more about Rinzler's THE MAKING OF STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK HERE. It should be in-stores right about now, and is also orderable HERE. Enjoy.

--- Follow Merrick on Twitter! ---

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    1st Year of College: Spring Semeter

    by puto tenax

    Yep. I missed class that day. When Vader reveals his true identity, I was shell-shocked. Felt exactly like Luke. No way this dude is my dad. Loved it. Kirshners' direction was the best of all of them. Still awaiting my book from Amazon. Has there been a delay on the release day, Merrick?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:18 a.m. CST

    At last!

    by Darth Scourge

    If it's as detailed and well researched as The Making of Star Wars (and it sounds like it is), then this is sure to be an awesome book.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Why no softcover this time???

    by ShiftyEyedDog2

    Rinzler's Star Wars book had a softcover, as did the Indiana Jones book. I really want this, but at $85 (and still $46 on sale) it's a bit steep for me for a book. :(

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    It was my birthday yesterday

    by RoyBattysBatter

    And this arrived this morning, my misses had ordered it for me on the sly. It really is as good as you could want it to be. I bloody love that woman

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:22 a.m. CST

    On my Christmas list...

    by LLcruize2

    Definite under the tree item for me. I am of the same mind, I hope this kind of book is done for RoTJ. My personal least favorite of all the StarWars films, it would be nice to get some insight as it seems to have had more changes than any of the films.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by TheBLIGHT

    Broken handed,cool story.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by TheBLIGHT

    Broken handed,cool story.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:25 a.m. CST

    I'll wait for a paperback.

    by rev_skarekroe

    I bought the hardcover of the first book because it had an extra chapter (with a lot of really interesting material), but this time there doesn't appear to be that incentive.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Finish the sentence....

    by Horgy

    "Kersh asked me why I didn't direct EMPIRE myself," Lucas says. "You'll see..." I said...." [Because I suck as a director, and that God Marcia was around to make Star Wars into something intelligible and watchable. I need to hand over the directing duties to someone who has a fucking clue. Maybe in 20 years or so, I'll have learned something about directing, and I'll do another movie..."

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:26 a.m. CST

    er... that should have been...

    by Horgy

    "THANK God Marcia was around..."

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:27 a.m. CST

    why people are obsessed with Star Wars is a mystery

    by lostboytexas

    sure, the first 3 flicks were good for their time. most kids at the time had all the toys. personally I havent watched anything star wars since I grew pubes. what the fuck is the attraction?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    and Yoda's original name was Buffy?

    by lostboytexas

    not quite the same really

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST

    The first book had an extra chapter?

    by ShiftyEyedDog2

    well fuck. I didn't know that. What was in it?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST

    The hardcover version of the first book had an extra chapter?

    by ShiftyEyedDog2

    well fuck. I didn't know that. What was in it?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Carrie Fisher recently admitted to snorting coke on....

    by connor187

    the Hoth set during filming of this movie....crazy bitch! I bet she did it somewhere quiet like in the hanger behind the Millennium Falcon!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Re: Coke on the Hoth set, not a good idea.

    by Sailor Rip

    It's all white. You put a line down on a fake snow ledge, get distracted, turn back around to do your bump, "Where the hell is my line!?" <p> I imagine Fisher snorted a lot of fake snow.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    the art of star wars

    by teddy_duchamp

    anyone remember those books?, came out in the early 90s a lot of the above secrets ie Vaders Castle and yoda being called minch were in that. so i wont be buying this...Id like to see the wampa attack stills, can someone scan them in?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    the art of star wars

    by teddy_duchamp

    anyone remember those books?, came out in the early 90s a lot of the above secrets ie Vaders Castle and yoda being called minch were in that. so i wont be buying this...Id like to see the wampa attack stills, can someone scan them in?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST


    by DadTimesTwo

    Why people visit forums in which they have no interest just to criticize something other people value and enjoy is a mystery to me. I wish you had a more fulfilling life.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Anybody remember seeing an alternate crawl?

    by son_of_ebert

    I half-remember seeing a crawl for Empire where as the text faded into the background it formed the words "Star Wars".. <p>can I get a witness?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    I fucking knew she was on something!....

    by connor187

    during the scene when she's chasing Han through the Echo base corridor...You know the scene, "I soon rather kiss a Wookie" etc. I fucking knew the bitch was high, I just knew it. Even when I first saw it, I think I might of been around 3 or 4 years of age.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:30 p.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Your theory would be almost plausible if Lucas hadn't already made THX 1138, American Graffiti and Star Wars.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    I would sever my right hand for a copy...where's choppah

    by moosetutters

    ...someone would have to help me flick through the pages....

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:41 p.m. CST

    i hope they include the story where George...

    by moosetutters

    ....throws an absolute fucking tantrum at Kurtz and the director, screaming through his beard "YOU'RE RUINING MY MOVIE!!!"...according to the book "empire building" anyway...

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Merrick - This is Really Good Stuff...

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...normally I HATE the writer interjecting 2,000+ words before an actual review, I loved reading this. Dude, I was 18 in 1980, but I felt all the excitement and anticipation regarding TESB that you felt as well. Anyway, this is your best piece yet on AICN - nice work, and way to sum up the feelings of those of us who were going crazy waiting for TESB to arrive.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Recently rewatched Empire and forgot how well

    by skimn

    edited the movie is, switching back from Luke's story to Han and Leia and back, with just the right tempo. The only thing that stood out all these years later is the clunkiness of some of the dialogue, sp. the scenes aboard the Falcon. It seemed that ALL C3PO did was quote odds and statistics and complain how impossible everything was. The running gag about the hyperdrive was just that...a running gag. Han and Chewy were working on the Falcon like a couple of grease monkeys in a garage DURING a chase. Do I seem picky? For a sequel thats held alongside Godfather 2 as the pinnacle of followups? Yea, maybe. I still love the HELL of it though, and next paycheck, the book is mine. I still have the Making Of large softcover from 1980...I'm assuming there's a LOT more material here...yes?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    @skimn betcha there's a LOT more...

    by moosetutters

    ...even has some of Georges soiled skidwipes stapled to the inside back cover ...

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Such a loss

    by SmokingRobot

    A high point in genre movie all went to SHIT.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:20 p.m. CST


    by Horgy

    I'd forgotten about THX and American Graffiti. However, nearly everything I've seen or read about Star Wars says that it was made into a classic in the editing bay, not on the set.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Lived behind a cineplex

    by proevad

    When I was 11 years old. Parents goin thru a divorce. Would walk across the street to see movies to take my mind off of shit. Saw this one 15 times. Seemed like it played in that theater forever.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST


    by HapaPapa72

    Yeah, I remember those books. I still have The Art of SW, The Art of ESB, and, despite the...prequels...I still love the artwork, so I got the art of TPM. Also, anyone remember the huge picture book of props from the Lucasfilm archives?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Mine is in the mail

    by disfigurehead

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:41 p.m. CST

    "There, you will learn from Minch..."

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Uh yeah doesn't quite right.<p> This tome shall be like porn to me

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Nice read, but "invaluable" means...

    by BrooseTheScharuk

    ...valuable beyond measure. Indispensable. Just as "inflammable" -- which was on those cheap store-bought halloween costumes when I was a kid -- means flammable, not flame-resitant.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

    This should be fun...

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    The extra chapter in the first book...

    by rev_skarekroe about the early days of Star Wars merchandising. But what makes it really interesting is that Lucas made little bio-sheets for all the characters, detailing their origins (as he saw them at the time). Some were pretty close to what we know now (C-3PO was originally built out of scraps by a slave boy) and some were very different (Leia's, though I don't recall the details). It also has evidence that Lucas cooked up the idea of midichlorians back in the '70s.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Short bus for you Merrick

    by UltraTron

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    2 Year Deal for Ford?

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Did something think it was a good idea to "kill" him at the end of Empire as a contract negotiation strategy or is this just another case of Lucas making it up as he went along?

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST


    by macheesmo3

    are pretty much just a ripoff of mitochondrial dna.( for those that aren't familiar, our cells contain mitochondria that create the energy (ATP) used by our cells. They also have a distinctive genome seperate from our own that is very similar to that of certain types of bacteria (sugesting that at some point they may have existed as a seperate organism from us!) It's a neat idea to use as a source of the force and all, but hardly an original one!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Because I love "Empire" so much I f*ck it

    by Moa Kaka

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Jedi would be whitewashed

    by TheHumanBurrito

    Just as Kurtz and Marcia Lucas are "coincidentally" missing as much as possible from the first book, you can bet your ass that a Jedi book would be incredibly detailed only in the most flattering of ways.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:12 p.m. CST

    The "the other guy" contingent.

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    Many successful artists have to deal with this boring phenomenon. There is always a group of people that compulsively need to attribute the success of artists to one of their collaborators, or say someone else is responsible entirely. It's so dull and annoying. That's right, George Lucas is a talentless moron who can't tie his shoes; it was REALLY Gary Kurtz oh wait no it was REALLY Marcia Lucas, blah blah boorrrrrring.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Wampa attack on the Rebel Base SHOULD be realized on BluRay

    by Monkey_King

    That would own, as much as Han shooting Greedo first being restored to BluRay brilliance.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Snorting Coke on Hoth

    by I_Snake_Plissken

    “This planet is pure snow! Do you know what the street value of this place would be?” Charles DeMarr would join the rebel alliance in a heartbeat.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Hrrmm. 3P0 is a strange robot. He seems kinda like

    by UltraTron

    a PC because he's hacked together from different parts. Yet he's kinda like a Mac in that he's obviously designed for gay people. R2 is a rugged PC laptop in an industrial case that can do anything. The interrogation droid is my Ipad in the otterbox defender case. My ps3 is the hyperdrive for the falcon and my 360 is obviously the droid with a bad motivator

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:30 p.m. CST

    One of the best pieces you've ever written

    by RETURN_of_FETT

    My faith in you is restored Merrick. True you "pulled a Harry" by dragging your childhood into it, but you did it a lot less rambly than he does. And who can't identify with hitting a mother fucker who keeps picking on you? I had to do that a couple of times myself. No matter who says not to do it, it sure corrects things in a hurry!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Best Part of the Holiday Special

    by ushaped

    ...was the cartoon. I always wanted more of that sequence and wished the Star Wars story was continued past Jedi in this style like Star Trek: The Animated Series. would have been cool!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Gary Kurtz wanted a monkey to play yoda..

    by Righteous Brother

    kinda glad they nixed that idea.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 4:04 p.m. CST

    3rd and 4th film

    by FloristGump

    I always remember hearing that about hammill, that he'd once said in an interview that george owed him a film. I have vague memories of him being mentioned as a possible bad guy in a never produced mid 90's Indiana Jones adventure. I'm hoping to interview Rinzler again soon, I'll have to ask him.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 5:11 p.m. CST

    That cover pic...

    by Disgustipitated

    ...has been Photoshopped, if I'm not mistaken. Vader's head is from a different photo and was probably added to this pic in order to show his profile instead of the back of his helmet.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Lucas Is Fat

    by NippleEffect

    star wars is dead to me

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 6:43 p.m. CST

    How did Harrison have a different deal?

    by Nem_Wan

    Did he also have a four-picture deal with Lucasfilm but two of them became Indiana Jones? That would kind of make sense.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 6:45 p.m. CST


    by seagrass

    This was written by a character from Tron Legacy? Sweet!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 6:51 p.m. CST

    you're right, Thunderbolt...

    by TheHumanBurrito

    ....we only need look at the prequels to see that when Lucas isn't burdened by other people he truly writes, directs, and edits the BEST of the Star Wars films. The fact that the one he was least involved with was best and the one shaped by pain and compromise was second best (kick starting the whole thing) which both involved Kurtz and Marcia Lucas while the other lesser films don't are PURE coincidence. I suspect that the original Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers being better than the modern ones is probably a coincidence not related to Peter Sellers' talent, too.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Empire is the Solid

    by ToughGuyRizzo

    While ppl may not love ROTJ, Star Wars blew ppl out of the water and Empire was an amazing follow up. <br><br> Lucas was worn out after SW, had input on Empire & Jedi, but we got dome great films. <br><br> However, after the prequels, all the time & money and input around smart people/filmmakers, etc. I will never spend any $ on anything Star Wars related. and Im in the fuckin 501st. OT for life.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 7:44 p.m. CST


    by TheHumanBurrito

    .....Lucas isn't going to send you toys for brownnosing him on the internet. I can understand the concept of a complete story just like I can understand parts of the telling being bungled. Wait, let me put it into an AICN sexual euphemism for you:imagine A New Hope and Empire as the best blowjob you ever got, then she punches you in the teeth a few times and shits on your face. Would you suggest that if I complain about everything after the blowjob that I'm just a clueless asshole? First two movies=cinematic blowjob, last four movies completely under Lucas=film being punched in the teeth and shit on.<p>So Turd, why then was Return so very very different and terrible, and why does Lucas go so far out of his way to bury Kurtz and M Lucas if they had nothing to do with the superiority of the first two films? Don't pretend like Lucas doesn't know that people think those two are the best.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 8:22 p.m. CST

    nice try, Brain

    by TheHumanBurrito

    Oh no, you threw a baseless insult (attempt) at me because I deflated your point and you had nothing to come back with! My face sure is red now! How will I get laid with such piss poor talkback streetcred from BrainDrain?! Oh god TYPING about blowjobs was the last I knew of my life before!<p>Turd, you have surpassed me, young Jedi. You forgot the part where we find out that Jolie was actually a 12 year old boy named BrainDrain though.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Merrick, that was a perfect story

    by CountryBoy

    Well done sir.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:23 p.m. CST

    76 Days

    by Countdown_to_Vader

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    did I mention "Fanboys"?

    by TheHumanBurrito

    Hmmm, look at that, no mention of "Fanboys". Seeing as I'm sitting here bashing Lucas and part of the "holy trilogy", I probably wouldn't be the sort to get behind "Fanboys" would I? How far into the negative is your midichlorian count, BrainDrain?<p>Also, yes. ROTJ sucked. And blew.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:40 p.m. CST


    by Darth Thoth

    Bravo sir. That was an excellent piece of writing. Thank you! I can't wait to pick up the book.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Merrick, maybe I'm late to the party but...

    by God's Brother

    This sounds like an expanded version of A JOURNAL OF THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK which was a 1980 paperback that fucking rules. The author Alan Arnold was on set through the entire shoot right up to John Williams' scoring session. Transcribed on-set interviews with everybody throughout. There's even an entire chapter where Arnold got Kershner to wear a mic and go about his business on set, which is super cool because it captures candid conversations between him and Fisher, etc. Definitely worth a read, and if I'm right, serves as the basis for some of the stuff in this new book. Sounds like the same kinda stuff anyways. Thanks for the story, Merrick. This book looks amazing, can't wait to pick it up!

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 10:30 p.m. CST

    I've come to accept Midichlorians...

    by darthwaz1

    It's a way of quantifying how force-powerful Anakin is in TPM. I also feel that adding a biological element to explain how ppl connect to the force doesn't ruin the mystique of the force at all.

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:07 p.m. CST


    by DeadAtRecess

    You don't get it. Jar Jar is still the best thing that Lucas has ever come up with hands down. "Meesa KaaKaa PooPoo PeePee DooDoo KaaKaa Bombad"...that's golden dialogue right there. Totally Binks. Totally hip and cool. Lucas really nailed that younger demographic. No child could resist a cartoon rabbit stepping in poo and shrieking in a high pitched semi-retarded mockery of a Jamaican accent. Also, green screens are the best thing ever. Fuck real sets. And midi-chlorians? So fucking cool. Totally non-mystical and doesn't ruin the original trilogy AT ALL. Anyone that says otherwise totally doesn't get George's "vision". I find your analogy of the blowjob from Angie very offensive. The balcony love conversation between Padme and Anakin is sweet and adorable, and isn't at all retarded, poorly directed or scripted, and it is acted with Oscar worthy performances. To mention a blowjob when discussing these films is akin to trying to tell me that Darth Frankenstein screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" is out of place and silly. Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Gravy, you really need to get your priorities straight. The prequels will always be amazing because they have lightsabers, jedi knights, and they detail how Yoda knew Chewbacca from high school and that Darth Vader built C3P0. They also demonstrate how spaceship technology changes drastically in two decades but droid technology stays exactly the same. Kind of like how we don't drive the same cars from twenty years ago, but we still use the same computers. In fact, I built my own Commodore 64 (the machine I am typing this on)...that happens to look like everyone else's C64...but my car is different. Makes perfect sense right? Prequels rule. If you don't believe me just check this out, jerks...

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars film

    by Joely_Boy

    Can't wait to see it on Blu Ray

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 11:45 p.m. CST

    CHEESY Trailer that was hmmm?

    by Neilfan12

    Am I the only one, or does anyone else think that teaser trailer was just a weee bit cheesy? That voice over was horrible. Sounded like something out of the 60's. If a person wasn't already a fan of the franchise I don't know how that would get them excited to see it.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I actually knew heaps of little kids who loved Jar Jar

    by Joely_Boy

    when Phantom Menace came out. Star Wars has always had crappy aliens. Hell, even SATAN makes an appearance in the Mos Eisley cantina!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Holy Shit!

    by El_Padrino

    Merrick, you have unloaded a shitfull of info on a guy who just realizing how much of a movie geek he really is. i am 36 years old and thought i knew it all about the best trilogy man will ever conceive. However, you have sparked my interest with the revelation of these making of films. You may ask why I didn't know of these. The truth is, I am from the Midwest, and the Midwest is poorly represented in the movie industry. We get all the popular shit on time, all the really good shit at least 2 weeks after, all the historic shit on DvD. it is frustrating. Thank you for letting those of us who strive for more movie knowledge the opportunity to reach out and find the answers, I wish I had the balls that so many of you at AICN had. My dream was to become a movie critic and geography limited my potential. As a giant fan TESP, I thank you for this revelation and hope to someday repay you for it. May the Force be with you!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Grammar errors!

    by El_Padrino

    Sorry about the Grammar errors....I've been drinking.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Yeah, there's a dude with a cheap Devil mask on

    by Joely_Boy

    grinning in the cantina scene.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:26 a.m. CST


    by TheJudger

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:26 a.m. CST


    by TheJudger


  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:27 a.m. CST

    and yes

    by TheJudger

    they are selling it for $50

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:30 a.m. CST

    A Devaronian named "Labria"

    by Joely_Boy

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:35 a.m. CST

    by Joely_Boy

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 1:35 a.m. CST

    TESB Special Effects in one word = Badass!

    by Orionsangels

    The ATATs kick ass!!! It's so badass how they move. You get goosebumps. It's like the makers were saying, fuck you to all other special effects! Look how badass this is, we're knocking you on your ass in this theater! It was so ambitious! All this is missing from today's boring CG effects!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 1:50 a.m. CST



    You are the last motherfucker that should be calling anyone a sad shit. Besides, why talk about your mother like that? Don't want her to kick you out do you?<p>To alter a quote to suit this occasion: "You don't see a lot, Ryan. But are you strong enough to point that low-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don't you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you're afraid to."

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:19 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Books are cheap at walmart. Why go to Barnes and Noble and pay 49$ for this shit, when you could pick it up at walmart for 30? <P> As if you've ever even bought a fucking book... lol

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Man, Nick Swardsen't Pretend Time is...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    fuckin' ASS. I knew it was gonna be shit, but GODDAMN! <P> How did this fucker get his own show??

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:31 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Do you have friends? <P> I mean like, in real life and whatnot?

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    You just seem so whiney and bitter...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    ALL THE TIME. <P> Just an honest observation :-)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Poor lil' RPLocke...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues


  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:34 a.m. CST


    by Dead_Flag_Blues

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:38 a.m. CST

    5 posts??

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Oh i got more where that came from! <P> MUCH more...

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Oh and RP...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    "Lost" is gay. <P> ;-)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Empire Strikes Back is one of the finest films ever made.

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    So why not enjoy an immersive, excrutiatingly detailed book about how it came to be?? <P> Just curl up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa, get under a nice fuzzy blanket and get lost in this most magnificent book :-)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 3:07 a.m. CST

    If HOT COCOA, a BOOK, and a FUZZY BLANKET make me a homo...

    by Dead_Flag_Blues

    Then i'm gayer than Richard fucking Simmons!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Regarding Angie's Blowjobs...

    by tensticks

    So just to clarify, are we assuming that a blowjob from Angelina Jolie would be great just because she's gorgeous, or that being gorgeous makes her good at them, or just that it wouldn't MATTER whether she's good at them or not because, fuckin' a, you're getting a hummer from Angelina Jolie?

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 3:39 a.m. CST

    As to the Gary Kurtz/Marcia Lucas thing....

    by tensticks

    I think there's some basis for the notion that their absence affected the quality of post-EMPIRE SW films; the notably different tone of the SW films from that point is evidence for that, even aside from anecdotal evidence of Kurtz and other "insiders". I sure do wonder along with everyone else what a Kurtz-produced JEDI, and prequel trilogy, would have been like. And I certainly see McCallum for the yes-man-buffoon-tool he seems to be (but a nice guy, doubtless.) BUT it also doesn't stop me from appreciating Jedi and the prequels for what they are anyway. Also it's well worth asking the musical question: even if George's work was better for THEIR presence, what exactly has either Gary Kurtz OR Marcia Lucas done on their own (before or since) that's so great or even close to what Lucas has done with or without them? (I direct that question NOT at them personally but at their defenders who are propping them up as the poster children for the "George Lucas Raped My Childhood" movement, which I despise and disavow.)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 3:40 a.m. CST

    The Floydian Angle

    by tensticks

    This reminds me of the old (and apparently still ongoing in some circles despite all parties now being on friendly terms) arguments when Roger Waters left Pink Floyd and the other members carried on under the name without him. His work retained its essential character, it was just lacking in some of the subtlety that it had with them--and granted, Gilmour and Wright, especially, contributed hugely to what made Floyd great, but without Roger there, they would have had nothing to contribute to at all. And after he left, all they were really able to do, in the studio and onstage, was produce a facsimile of the type of work they'd done WITH him. Personally, with all due respect to Kurtz & Marcia, I'm rather glad they didn't team up with Dykstra and the others "banned from the ranch" and produce their OWN take on Star Wars.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Amazon UK effed up! Got my copy weeks ago!

    by Al_T

    Yep, due to some error, I actually got very lucky indeed and got my copy about 6 weeks ago, I was very happy indeed. They didn't even charge my account, bizarre!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 4:55 a.m. CST


    by Righteous Brother

    No fucking way! I purposely didn't order mine from Amazon in case it was late. I've been traipsing round all the book shops in my area all week trying to get this book, but no joy as they're all still waiting for it to be delivered. Its looking like I'm not going to be able to get it until Friday now......arrrrgh! Its driving me insane.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 6:09 a.m. CST

    Hoo baby! That just got added to my wish list.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 6:10 a.m. CST


    by Darth Scourge

    Yeah, The Making of Star Wars was released as a hardcover with extra content, a soft cover, and then also later as an over-sized paperback edition. Wonder if this book will be also?

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Jolie's Blowjobs

    by LaserPants

    Being hot doesn't mean she's any good at sex, but she does have nice full lips, so the visual would be good even if she's a little "teethy" during felatio. I'm thinking the third reason -- it doesn't matter whether she's good or no because, holy shit it's Angelina Jolie and she's hot n' famous -- is the most apt. (Of course, on the other hand, she could be a blowjob master, so, who knows?)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 6:59 a.m. CST

    If Kurtz had stayed for Jedi

    by Lone Fox

    We would've got episodes 7 8 & 9. Luke and Leia wouldn't be related. Han would've died. Hmm hindsight's a wonderful thing, but there's no guarantee the quality and tone wouldn't have changed. The prequels have become almost unwatchable for me now. Revenge of the Sith suffers the most because it messed up what I'd imagined the final duel would be like for the last 20 odd years. Still, I like Jedi, kiddified or not.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Attack of the clones is THE GREATEST star wars film

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    Attack of the clones is THE GREATEST star wars film...Historically it was the 1st SW movie to be filmed ALL digital and feature a CG Yoda so it deserves credit for that as well. <P> It had everything, a love story, action, adventure, political intrigue, a mystery. It was the total package and it left you wanting more. It was clearly superior to ESB in many ways, particularly in the story and acting areas. <P>Again, screw the haters because ep. 2 Attack of the clones is THE GREATEST star wars film ever....that's what I'd be saying if I was fucking insane.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 9:51 a.m. CST


    by DeadAtRecess

    I'm gonna curl up on the corpses of my fallen enemies with a hot cup of their blood under a blanket made of barbed wire and enjoy this book. Manly enough for everyone? And yes everyone who likes the prequels is a closet homo. Well, I guess by admitting that you like the prequels you're sort of coming good for you! Wear that rainbow flag, you Jar Jar Binks dick sucking dick sucker. Balls across the chin! Now THIS is pod racing! WOO HOO!!!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 9:58 a.m. CST

    I'm gonna hold out for the making of KRULL book

    by MST3KPIMP

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by DeadAtRecess

    Just so everyone is clear, I wasn't attacking Dead_Flag_Blues...just closet homos who choose to come out by defending the prequels and/or George Lucas. Dead_Flag_Blues is ok by me, with his curling up on couches and reading. I also don't want people to think that I am a bigot and would deny homos their no means. If you wanna suck dick then go ahead, but there are cooler ways to come out than by telling people that you like the prequels and that you think George Lucas is a good film maker. That RPLocke or BrainDrain kid just needs to get out of the house and I'm sure he'll meet a nice Cosplayer at a Star Trek convention or something. Gay is ok...wear that Jar Jar Binks shirt with pride. It's just sad when people who like the prequels pretend to be straight. Just accept who you are. Accept the fact that liking the prequels MAKES YOU GAY.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Best SF film ever?

    by Lemure_v2

    Slightly over the top there methinks. It's fun, but up against Alien/s, 2001, Metropolis and Blade Runner, it comes off as nothing more than a cartoon.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 11:27 a.m. CST


    by JDanielP

    ...and I've only flipped through it, so far. In this household, it may be open as often as closed. <P>If only EVERY Star Wars flick would reach such potential.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST


    by JDanielP

    ...looks VERY a what-if-there-was-a-movie kind of way. (Of coarse, those video game powers would have to be toned down a bit, to fit the STAR WARS movie tone.)

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by REDD

    shipped my copy on Monday, received it yesterday. Thanks Amazon!

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:34 p.m. CST

    I have seen all six star wars films...

    by emeraldboy

    and I have seen all the versions of the first three films. The phantom menace is one of dullest films I have ever seen. really boring and the effects are cruddy looking. that said. the pod race was stunning. the cinematography in all three films. anakin was tempremental, cocky and arrogant and powerfull and his power grew. but he was useful to the evil senator palpatine. the message of the movies absolute power corrupts absolutely. in the end Anakin was redeemed by his son but he died and luke skywalker channelled his anger to bring down the emperor palpatine and restore the force. good over evil.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Yes other people were instrumental in making SW

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    It's a fucking movie for chrissakes, it's a collaborative effort. I'm not saying Lucas was actually in the C 3PO costume, I'm pointing out that if someone cannot accept that George Lucas is the creator of Star Wars, the prime mover, whatever - then there is something wrong with you. It's just bizarre. <p>Please go look at Irvin Kershner's filmography. Maria Lucas is a cypher; she's done literally NOTHING since. And as for Kurtz, I like it but is the Dark Crystal that much of a masterpiece, really? <p>I'm not disparaging these people's contributions to Star Wars, I'm just saying none of them exactly set the world on fire otherwise.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Restore the force to what emeral boy? Restore

    by UltraTron

    the balance? There's only 2 people who can maybe use the force at the end of Jedi. What we haven't been told is that the Sith want revenge for something in the 1st movie. That something is that the force is evil and wants to do evil but the Jedis keep using the force for good- so the sith want revenge for that. Later we see the force in action as it cleans house of the Jedi scourge. We see Jedi babies,kids,everyone slaughtered by the true nature of the force as it attempts to rid itself of all humans and restore balance to itself.

  • Oct. 13, 2010, 6:31 p.m. CST

    75 Days

    by Countdown_to_Vader

  • Nov. 12, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST


    by orcus