Listen up, nerds. This book is for you.
I had never heard of it until I read the lovely Emmalita’s review, and now I am eternally grateful to her. I absolutely devoured this book. It’s one of the most thorough and interesting behind the scenes books I’ve ever read. I’ve been all up in Star Wars since I was sixteen, but reading this book made me realize I really only knew the story part of that galaxy far, far away (including the Expanded Universe of novels). I knew very little about how the trilogy was created or its history. This book is a goldmine of all that kind of stuff, trivia and behind the scenes knowledge, but it’s also a comprehensive history of George Lucas and how (and why) he came to create the most lucrative and beloved film franchise of all time.
I was basically like a little giggling kid the entire time I was reading it.
The book smartly toggles back and forth between a chronological documentation of Lucas as a filmmaker and the influences that led him to the eventual creation of Star Wars, and the impacts both of the movies on the fans, and the fans on the franchise (for example, there is a chapter covering the creation and influence of the 501st Legion, one on the Expanded Universe, and a chapter on the fans who have a club where all they do is build their own R2-D2s in astonishing detail, to the point where they were asked to construct the droids for The Force Awakens).
There wasn’t a single part of this book that wasn’t interesting. I actually read about 75% of it in a sort of feeding frenzy one Saturday. From Lucas’s early life, to the insights into his writing process (he knows he is terrible at it), the process of creating the original movies, the chapters detailing the transition from no one believing in the movie, to the explosion of its popularity, even a whole chapter that sinks us into the mindset of what the audience would have seen in the first crucial ten minutes of that first movie. And then of course, we cover everything after: the production and reception of the rest of the original trilogy, the dry spell the company went through in the late 80’s/early 90’s, the creation and flourishing of the EU, and the seeds of the prequel trilogy being planted. I loved the way the book treated the prequels, both explaining how they ended up the way they did, and showing all the opinions they engendered, both positive and negative. My only complaint, and this isn’t even the book’s fault, is that it was published in 2014, and it’s already out of date. So much has happened in Star Wars land in just the past six months. I want there to be an updated version sometime in the next several years that takes all this . . . hoopla into account.
There is so much stuff in this book I don’t even know what to talk about so I’m just going to stop here and strongly suggest you pick this book up somehow. I need to buy myself a copy so I can have it forever and ever.