Read The Making of The Empire Strikes Back by J.W. Rinzler Ridley Scott Online


In this lavish thirtieth-anniversary tribute to the blockbuster film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler draws back the curtain to reveal the intense drama and magnificent wizardry behind the hit movie—arguably the fan favorite of the Star Wars Saga.   Following his The Making of Star Wars, the author has once againIn this lavish thirtieth-anniversary tribute to the blockbuster film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler draws back the curtain to reveal the intense drama and magnificent wizardry behind the hit movie—arguably the fan favorite of the Star Wars Saga.   Following his The Making of Star Wars, the author has once again made use of his unlimited access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its hidden treasures of previously unpublished interviews, photos, artwork, and production mementos. The result is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes, up-close-and-personal look at the trials and triumphs, risks and close calls, inspiration, perspiration, and imagination that went into every facet of this cinematic masterpiece. Here’s the inside scoop on:   • the evolution of the script, from story conference and treatment to fifth draft, as conceived, written, and rewritten by George Lucas, famed science-fiction author Leigh Brackett, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan• the development of new key characters, including roguish hero Lando Calrissian, sinister bounty hunter Boba Fett, and iconic Jedi Master Yoda• the challenges of shooting the epic ice planet battle in the frozen reaches of Norway and of conjuring up convincing creatures and craft—from tauntauns and snowspeeders to Imperial walkers • the construction of a life-sized Millennium Falcon and the swamp planet Dagobah inside a specially built soundstage in Elstree Studios • the technique behind master Muppeteer Frank Oz’s breathing life into the breakthrough character Yoda• the creation of the new, improved Industrial Light & Magic visual effects facility and the founding of the now-legendary Skywalker Ranch   In addition, of course, are rare on-the-scene interviews with all the major players: actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and David Prowse; director Irvin Kershner; producer Gary Kurtz; effects specialists Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, and Phil Tippett; composer John Williams; and many others. Punctuating the epic account is a bounty of drawings, storyboards, and paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Ivor Beddoes, along with classic and rare production photos. An added bonus is a Foreword by acclaimed director Ridley Scott.  The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a fittingly glorious celebration of an undisputed space-fantasy movie milestone. Search your feelings, you know it to be true....

Title : The Making of The Empire Strikes Back
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ISBN : 9780345509611
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 372 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Making of The Empire Strikes Back Reviews

  • Mark
    2019-02-25 16:25

    Having read Rinzler’s excellent “The Making of Return Of The Jedi” earlier this year, I decided I wanted to go back into the wonderfully informative environment he created and asked for this for my birthday. Luckily for me, since I’m so difficult to buy for (apparently), it was gratefully bought.Using mainly contemporary interviews (from late 1977 through to 1980), with a few conducted in the 90s and 00s, this covers the whole of the production from the opening of “Star Wars” (which took everyone by complete surprise) to the opening of “Empire Strikes Back” and touches on pretty much every aspect of the production in between. As with the Jedi book, the research is thorough and extensive, which even extends to captioning pictures and identifying people way in the background. The success of “Star Wars” does help the cause a bit here, since “Empire” benefited from an accomplished unit publicist in Alan Arnold, who later published “Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of the making of The Empire Strikes Back”, which I read a couple of years ago. A thick paperback, it was the official making of (there was also a magazine too) and Rinzler quotes from it extensively, whilst also drawing on other interviews Mr Arnold made at the time but which have previously been unpublished. At first I thought this overlap of information might be too repetitive but it isn’t at all, with the longest lift (where Irvin Kershner was miked up on the Carbon Freezing set) being interspersed with later comments made by the principals concerned.By the end of 1977, George Lucas was already at work on the sequel and brought in Leigh Brackett to shape the screenplay. The script conference transcripts published here only have his contributions (no explanation is made as to why) but they’re very interesting, with the bare bones of the film clearly already in place in his mind (though he gets as stuck here with Vader living in a castle as he did the Empire planet during the Jedi conferences). As it was, Brackett died before she could work on the second draft and virtually none of what she wrote was used, though Lucas ensured she retained a screen credit. Instead, Lawrence Kasdan was drafted in - he’d just written the “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” script - and his approach is clearly like a breath of fresh air, as he questions ideas and motives and suggests (on occasion and usually unsuccessfully) that Lucas might not be right.Adamant that he wouldn’t direct, Lucas suggested his old USC film tutor Irvin Kershner for the role with the latter agreeing after several conversations (I imagine the fact that his son was ten-years-old also played a part). Kersh, as he’s affectionately called by everyone, was clearly a different director, keen to take his time on composition and although Lucas had concerns about producer Gary Kurtz’s ability to rein him in, he chose not to air them - a decision he would later come to regret.As well as the pre-production of the film, the book also follows the formation of several Lucasfilm entities, including Black Falcon (the licensing arm, which I only discovered the existence of in the Jedi book), how the various divisions were structured and the plans for Skywalker ranch. Having read “Skywalking” (which is not listed in the bibliography at the back of this), I love that whole late seventies period, as the company sets up and operates out of The Egg Company in LA and ILM hides in plain sight as The Kerner Company in San Anselmo and Rinzler is thorough in his exploration of this period. It’s also interesting to see how the merchandising helped the entire operation, with Black Falcon lending money to both Lucasfilm and ILM to get things moving. Best of all though is the information about the ranch - the plans, the daytrips, the fourth of July picnics - and Rinzler paints a wonderful picture of the era, the atmosphere remembered fondly by all those involved in it, a tight and small close-knit group that felt like a family. But even as the production wore on and the dealings with the banks got more intense and Lucas was pushed into an executive role with his companies (Lucasfilm funded the whole project), things were changing. Lucy Wilson - Kurtz’s assistant and one of the original employees - comments that where once she and Lucas could say hi and chat, she soon had to book appointments to see him. As it is, this seems as troubling to Lucas as anyone else.Production began with the main unit at Finse in Norway and it seems to have been a disaster from the beginning. Weather delayed shooting, Kershner took his time and things got away from Kurtz, leading to his eventual estrangement from the Lucasfilm group, with Howard Kazanjian (who would go on to produce Jedi) getting more involved.Things were more settled at Elstree Studios in London, though Kershner, working with his DoP Peter Suschitzky to produce the best work possible, played havoc with Lucas’ plans. As his pace upset the schedule and pushed the film over budget, issues with cashflow and the banks kicked in, adding further to the stresses that Lucas was trying to hide from his director. Rinzler covers every aspect of the production in equal detail (I loved the discovery that the filming was juggled to fit the sets - since the Falcon was built full-size, it pretty much stayed where it was and new sets were built aruond it) and doesn’t shy away from some of the more candid conversations. Lucas was a large presence on set (but not to the extent that he would be on “Jedi”) and although he takes every opportunity to point out he’s not the director (he didn’t do any of the publicity tours), the very thought of it clearly annoys Kershner, who bristles with journalists who suggest it. For his part, Kershner comes across well, imbuing the material with depth and emotion and working hard with his cast and crew to make things are good as they possibly can be. Working in the moment, having already planned thoroughly, he liked to leave enough room for conversations and discussions with his actors (the Carbon freezing sequence, as mentioned above, shows this brilliantly) that clearly benefit the film.Of the actors, Mark Hamill comes across very well, though he does comment he and Carrie Fisher clashed a few times. In fact, Fisher also clashes with Kershner and Harrison Ford (in the miked-up section) and Billy Dee Williams later tries to be diplomatic, in saying that her mind perhaps wasn’t on the job all the time. In fact, with the production keen to film her scenes and release her, it appears her well-documented foray into addiction was already taking hold. Ford, for his part, comes across as occasionally stroppy but always keen to do a good job.As production released cast members to move into the Dagobah set and the schedule goes ever further over, you can almost hear the rankling in Lucas’ comments as the pressure being put on him - as the financier - must have been incredible. That’s not helped by the whole Yoda situation and it’s worth noting that whilst the world readily accepted the puppet as a living, breathing character, at the time it was an enormous risk. We watch “Empire” now, we see Yoda everywhere and we take him as read but back in 1978/79, nobody had tried anything like it before. I was surprised to read that Frank Oz only worked on the film for 12 days (he was lent out by Jim Henson’s company as they were gearing up for “The Dark Crystal”) and completely agree with Kershner’s observation that the Dagobah sequences are made by the sincerity of Mark Hamill’s acting.Another thing I discovered is something I’ve long wondered, that the second and third films can’t have been as much fun for Hamill since Luke was often split up from the other characters. He’s quoted as saying, “It was almost like two separate films were being made. I got nostalgic for the grand old days on the Death Star, when Harrison, Carrie, Chewie and I were all together in the trash compactor.” Hamill ended up working on the film for 103 days.Production complete, the action moves back to California. ILM was put together again in San Anselmo, moving away from LA and the original building and leaving John Dykstra and several colleagues there. In between designing shots (far more than the original film) and creating new worlds and ships and creatures, the team also had to design and build new equipment and the schedule very quickly becomes constrictive. Everyone keeps their sense of humour though - especially effects supervisor Ken Ralston - and by the end of the period, they’re even changing original shots (the Wampa monster) because they don’t want anything “crappy” popping up in ‘their film’.Rinzler, as with every other aspect of the production, is exhaustive in his approach to the ILM work, with shots often mapped out by the frame so that they fit into the already fine-edited final cut of the film (which Lucas would add a few shots too, between the initial limited-run 70mm release and the wide 35mm one). Phil Tippett and Jon Berg quite rightly get a lot of attention for their stop-motion work with the AT-AT’s (another risky visual image) and Tauntauns, but it’s clear to see that ILM was a more harmonious place with everyone being given a chance to shine (Lucas later says he was very pleased with the work they did). Hoth seems to have been the hardest work in terms of technical difficulties (not only colour matching snow and hiding matte lines, but also trying to comp stop-motion creatures into it), with a lot of effort put into them - Bruce Nicholson, head of the optical department, shrugs away his successes by saying he used a “Norway filter”.Towards the end of post-production, Alan Ladd jr left Twentieth Century Fox, which didn’t help Lucas with the studio or the banks since Ladd was their key supporter. Lawrence Kasdan was also caught out, since Fox was going to make his noir-thriller “Body Heat” and once Ladd left, the film was put into turnaround. Ladd set the film up at his new Ladd Company and Lucas was sponsor on the film, with the proviso that if it went over budget, the funds should come from his fee. As Kasdan says, “this was a generous, supportive thing to do”.Rinzler examines contemporary interviews and one, from Time magazine in 1978, seems particularly pertinent. When asked about his future directing ambitions, Lucas says “I will go back and direct another [“Star Wars”] film, but it will be toward the end of the cycle, about 20 years from now”. The Phantom Menace was released in 1999.Rinzler also details how perceptive Lucas was with future technology and how it would assist the film-making process, especially with digital images. Sprocket Systems (later renamed Skywalker Sound) had a Computer Research and Development Division set up within it, headed by Ed Catmull, to develop computer aided visual and sounding editing equipment. They also developed the Pixar system, which would later become the Pixar Division and be sold off to Steve Jobs.The post-production part ends with a section on the matte paintings which Harrison Ellenshaw, Ralph McQuarrie and Michael Pangrazio created. Showing them in progress and often against the final frames, these are gloriously reproduced and a real sight to behold.As with Jedi, the final part of the book deals with the release and reception of the film, as Lucas’ risky venture proves a hit with the paying public (he made his money back in three months), if not all of the critics (though some would change their tune over the years) though it did win several awards in 1980 (including a special Academy Award for the visual effects). Reading some of the reviews back - again with the benefit of hindsight, knowing that this sequel is generally considered the best film of the trilogy (I prefer “Star Wars”, as it happens) - it’s interesting to see how people’s perceptions changed.Candid, thorough and superbly researched, this is painstakingly extensive and never less than readable and filled with beautifully reproduced photographs. I thought the Jedi book would be the benchmark but I think Rinzler has excelled himself here.I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy and Making Of Books and this is pretty much perfect, to the extent that I dragged out the last few pages because I didn’t want it to end. Very highly recommended.

  • Parka
    2019-03-15 14:36

    (More pictures at book is finally out after being postponed for a few times. It's actually 362 pages, slightly thicker than the previous book, The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, which is already a massive book. It seems that no paperback edition is available yet at the launch.Once again, I'm marveled by the amount of information packed into the book by author J.W. Rinzler. I can't even begin to imagine the amount of research and effort is needed to put everything together, after the movie was screened 30 years ago.The book details the arduous journey in the making of the film from the first story conference up to screening, and to the film awards won after that. The writing is excellent, filled with all sorts of stories and quotes. You get to read about the technical aspect of creating the movie, the little tricks used to create something believable on screen - see how they use fiber optics for lighting spaceships, painting the backgrounds, fixing up Yoda, and much more including production diaries of how they shoot.The pages are also loaded with concept art, sketches, storyboards, memos, film stills and photos. All well reproduced, very detailed. There are lots of fun stuff happening behind the scenes captured on camera.While the book is pricey, yes, it's well worth the money. With so much material, it will take more than one sitting to go through them.Definitely a "must have" for any Star Wars fans.

  • Will Johnson
    2019-03-21 16:23

    This book is not just a loo inside the making of a movie ... this isn't the fluffy 30 minute studio 'documentaries' that air on HBO that have canned talking points and the same 'ol, same 'ol behind the scenes look ... this is a step by step, almost to a fault, look at a movie's creation from idea on a napkin to its delivery on a movie screen. I mean EVERYTHING: people talking about concepts, putting them down on paper, getting together and putting them on typed paper, formulating a script, revising a script, hiring screenwriters and polishers, talking to actors, printed up budgets, planning merchandising, making hypothetical shooting schedules, finding a director ... really, I could go on forever. You imagine what it takes to make a movie and it is depicted here.But it goes even beyond THAT, believe it or not, as the beginning of the sequel to the massive hit Star Wars was also the beginning of Lucasfilm as we knew it until most recently, when it was bought by Disney. So The Making of Empire serves as a making of a movie as well as a making of a business. With full access to the Lucas archives, this book provides birth-to-death details, with pictures, video and audio, of the making of more than just a simple movie.Since it covers EVERY aspect of filmmaking, there are areas where a reader might be bored. I love acting, I love on-set revelations, I love directing, I love film scores and I love set design. I like screenwriting and I like editing. I can take or leave conceptual design (like drawings and sketches). I don't much care for visual effects design, sound editing and mixing, matte painting design or breaking down budgets. So yes, there are patches I found entirely stimulating and others I found rather dull (hence the one star off).I enjoyed the historical context and seeing the birth of the most successful independent film studio in history was a delight. But I also loved the character study of George Lucas, whether intentional or not. I think many people assume Empire is the best because Lucas didn't have any say over the directing and he didn't 'write' the script... but the book brings this misconception or over/under exaggeration to light as Lucas, the primary financier on this baby and a pioneer of visual effects, often took control of this picture and didn't take a writing credit despite initially writing the whole thing (and giving Leigh Brackett a writing credit even though she wrote hardly anything that stayed in the final product).It gives a glass-half-empty Lucas viewer a bit of a different side to see. It made me feel for director Irvin Kershner who had to fight for his vision (the visual effects side didn't even recognize him as director as Lucas directed all the visual effects; the crew keep calling it George's film in the book) but it also made me realize how persuasive and innovative Lucas is on many fronts, not just the technical. Hell, it almost makes me appreciate his take on the prequels after seeing him portrayed in this book ... but I won't go that far.So, outside the black and white behind the scene stuff, you get a fascinating character study on a man much maligned by recent cinematic offerings. So it takes it up a notch over standard behind the scenes fare. Overall, a fantastic and bold work that I loved, for the most part, to read.

  • Jack Gattanella
    2019-03-02 16:36

    "I'm just as used to having things fail as I am to having the succeed," says Lucas. "It's a reasonable risk that I'm willing to take, being a reasonably cautious person. But I usually have to bet the store in order to make it work, so everything either sinks or we swim. There is no in-between." (p. 346)"It was a darn good story dashingly told, and beyond that I can't explain it... failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one." - Alec Guinness (p. 2)When I was much, much younger, like first really becoming aware that cinema was more than just these things that come on a TV or a movie screen and that there's an art to them (and probably around when the special editions came out, which isn't the first time I saw TESB but certainly the one and only time I got to see it on film in a theater), this was one of the major movie experiences of my life. All of the three Star Wars movies were, but I especially took a liking to this one since it expressed some deeper themes than the first movie, had Yoda (who is, of course, the most interesting character in the whole series, if not quite the most entertaining as that goes to the Emperor or R2-D2, again these are my opinions, don't quite me on this), and was just had things going on that I knew were special but couldn't articulate. Seeing it a little over a year ago, when doing a marathon before episode 7, I realized how much technical effort was put in to it and that everything comes together like a grand opera. Just because it's for 'families' doesn't mean it can't touch the darkest/more adult sides of humanity, or at least suggest them.It's with this in mind that Rinzler's 2nd book in this series is as consuming and exciting as the first book, only here there is more depth in some parts simply because it was a bigger, more ambitious effort. I also went in to this knowing, or thinking I knew, some of the history: that George Lucas wasn't really that involved in the making of it and that if it wasn't for the, uh, 'good' K-K-K - Kurtz, Kasdan, and Kershner - were the ones really responsible for the film's daring and major turns (screenwriter Leigh Brackett, as it turns out and as I had also sort of read, only contributed one draft that was barely usable and died before doing more drafts, a sympathy credit); that there were as many problems during shooting as there were shooting the first movie, if not more; getting Yoda to work was a nightmare. Turns out I was about half right on those. If Rinzler is to be believed reading this (and why not due to his insane plethora of interviews and information at his disposal) it was more of a George Lucas film than one might think.Hell, he probably from the reading of this deserved a screenwriting credit with Kasdan as the story and large chunks of the dialog and scenarios are all Lucas, and that he did have a specific vision for the locations (Hoth, Dagobah, Cloud City), and so on. But also like the first book, this is an extraordinary account of the art of collaboration, and that Lucas had so much faith in a film that could have, in truth, taken him down completely if it didn't work. Some of that went with Yoda, which was the final scenes filmed during principal photography, and some of that went into developing more of the special effects (some of this was easy enough to try to improve on from the experiments of the first movie, some not). But if it wasn't for Kershner being so adept at character work and at allowing improvisation - this is actually more of what we might associate "70's movies" than one might expect as far as being loose with some of the scenes, the high-point being how the Han put into carbon-freeze almost completely fell apart - and Kasdan being so strong at making dialog just a little sharper than Lucas had in mind (let's be honest, his weak-spot is dialog, yes?) - and Kurtz being there for support (I think it did dawn on me reading this he wasn't really as part of the creative process as I'd assumed, he was there as a regular producer, and eventually he lost control of the production as it went far over-budget) - we wouldn't have the film we do today. Not to mention all of the actors, Frank Oz especially, Ford and once again Hammil and Fisher to lesser extents (which they weren't always happy about it seemed), and ALL of the technical crew. Holy shit - reading about the continuing adventures of ILM is totally fascinating to me, how the process had to go often incrementally, and then it was pedal-to-the-metal in order to meet the release date.I think if you have read the first book it's probably a no-brainer to get this. If you're jumping right into this volume though, here's what you can expect: lots and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of pictures from the production, from likely on-the-fly photos captured as the ILM crew made their spaceships and stop-motion (holy mother of God Phil Tippet is one of the heroes of this production as far as just... who knew a Taun-Taun would be one of the trickiest parts of this!) as well as art-work, designs, rejected concepts, the models, the technology, funny moments with the cast, 'Kersh', how Yoda came to be (and OH YES JIM HENSON'S HOLDING HIM!). You'll also get such a day-by-day breakdown of production you'll understand why Lucas probably at some point decided to make a break with doing the technology that was available and go to digital technology (yes, the empathy is there), not to mention the ups and downs with the actors (even Hamil at one point loses his crap, due to a broken thumb), and how Kershner at times could just barely keep it together (the amount of shooting days, over 100, coupled with his unconventional shooting style, and all of the technical problems and issues, were a lot for a guy not used to such a production).And you'll know how the story of this film developed from Yoda being "Minch Yoda" and some of the scenario being quite different (again, Brackett diverting from Lucas's draft, it's so weird reading it), and how it took a lot of finessing to get the film to where it needed to be storywise, though so much was there in Lucas's intentions to expand mythology and Campbell-isms. Again, there's a lot of process talk here, so while the interviews with the actors and Kershner are fairly straightforward, once you get into the specifics with the ILM people and how that went, you need to know it's a tech-heavy book at times. For me, this was delightful because it wasn't difficult to understand and Rinzler describes the process of all of this clearly. And like the first book he interweaves many things happening at once: while ILM is being built up and buildings created to DO the things, drama happens at Fox, Lucas almost runs out of money completely (again, the budget practically doubles by the film's end), and while an intense shoot is going on in the unpredictable tundra of Norway, a 'Dykstraflex' becomes more trouble than its worth. And how about those TOYS! Even that you may get a different perspective on reading this (only slightly).This is terrific storytelling about an amazing story that could have gone so wrong at so many different points. But through Lucas's tenacity as a creator and visionary (yes, he really is a visionary with this film, he gets more points from me on this score here than I thought before), Kershner's attention to detail and psychology, and the innovations of Yoda on an *emotional* level even as much as the technical side, it became a classic. PS: The best part? I laughed uncontrollably at a particular detail in how the blocking and a detail that got cut from the Han Carbon-Freeze scene went down between Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher. By God.

  • Andrew
    2019-02-26 15:36

    The second in a trilogy of extensive "making of" books dealing with the original Star Wars films. Once again, an extremely difficult film to make. Despite having learned how to do many things in the first film, the ambition behind its sequel was to make it even better. The pressure was on as sequels normally don't do as well as the originals, and as Star Wars had become a huge phenomenon by itself. It is now considered one of the greatest films ever made, and fans are pleased that Lawrence Kasdan (chief screenwriter of "Empire") co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Episode VII. This series definitely comes highly recommended. Not only does it provide a great deal more information about the films and the film-making process, but it puts to shame critics of the recent prequel trilogy as numerous references make it clear that - with the exception of Jar-Jar - the prequels turned out very much how Lucas envisioned them (which is what he's said all along). There are, here and there, hints of possible plot elements concerning the new trilogy that is forthcoming. All of this makes it a fun, informative read.

  • Jeff
    2019-03-10 09:16

    You may have heard of this movie. It is pretty okay.The main thing you learn, again and again, is that the reason this film is the best of the trilogy is because Irvin Kershner was at the helm. (Kasdan's contributions were few and Brackett's were nonexistent.) I find the behind-the-scenes struggles to be really captivating: Lucas trying to build his own artistic empire 500 miles from Hollywood, the crew shooting in the frigid snowdrifts of Norway, Stuart Freeborn praying his radio-controlled Muppet wouldn't look totally fake. Even Dennis Muren painstakingly photographing AT-AT stop-motion is fascinating to me (because gray against white is basically an optical compositor's worst nightmare).Oh and if you're a fan the "I love you""I know" thing, there's like 14 pages of transcription from the day they shot it, describing how they came up with it, including a part where Fisher stops speaking to Ford (cocaine is a hell of a drug). Rinzler may never top his work on the Revenge of the Sith making-of book but this is superb nonetheless.

  • Terry
    2019-03-11 10:20

    The Making of The Empire Strikes Back isn’t a fluffy coffee table book celebrating Empire’s 30th anniversary with behind the scenes pics and recycled stories. It’s an epically detailed tome which completely covers every aspect of the movie, from the corporations Lucas established to finance the movie to Lucas luring talent away from Battlestar Galactica (and the changes he asked Universal to enact) to detailed breakdowns of almost every shot (with special attention to the Han and Leia’s scene in the Carbon Freezing Chamber and the Luke/Vader duel) – though minus any mention of the CGI-infused special edition.In other words, it’s probably more than you wanted to know about the making of the movie.

  • Anni (Tea in the Treetops)
    2019-03-22 15:42

    A fantastic look at every aspect of the making of The Empire Strikes Back - from the preparation and development of the script (including the way the story and names evolved), the filming itself, script changes, special effects, to post-production and release!Each chapter contains a mixture of interviews with George Lucas and other major players in the movie's production, as well as recorded conversations, script drafts and other articles. There are plenty of photographs and stills from the movie, as well as gorgeous concept art.This book is quite a heavy one in large-format hardback but it is highly recommended for any Star Wars fan.

  • Revan97
    2019-02-27 08:28

    Like "The Making of Star Wars", "The Making of The Empire Strikes Back" stands as the only single book to contain everything a person could ever desire to learn about the epic motion picture. After receiving a copy of the book from Del-Rey SWAT (, I was not surprised to discover that this volume contains a greater amount of information than its predecessor, just as the film "The Empire Strikes Back" possesses a greater length than the first Star Wars movie. If you have been in search of all the details concerning the creation of episode five, you need look no farther.

  • Angie
    2019-03-18 10:34

    Excellent book... wonderful pictures. Perfect for any Star Wars fan!

  • Mike Whiskey Bravo
    2019-03-26 11:35

    Okay, so I enjoyed the "Making of Star Wars: A New Hope" immensely, and this one is just as good, if not better. A few surprises, one of which being how difficult it was to film the carbonite chamber scene, and also, most surprisingly, Leigh Brackett's contribution to the movie, which was just about zero. All other books I've read have said she helped write it. Indeed, because the tension is so taut in the movie, I thought she may have helped write it. But no, it was Lawrence Kasdan...a big surprise.But yes, everything you wanted to know about the making, from locations, photography and effects, with the beginnings of ILM and all.A good read.

  • Quinn Rollins
    2019-03-09 09:35

    It's always a bit of a conundrum. My favorite movie of all time is The Empire Strikes Back. I know it's not the best movie ever made, but it is my favorite. I was seven when it came out in 1980, and it opened my eyes to a bigger world than I had experienced with the earlier Star Wars. Tragedy, romance, mysticism and adventure were all amped up in Empire, and every part of it put me on the edge of my seat. Thirty years later, I still love it, and still claim it as my Favorite Movie Ever, even though I do recognize it as the updated and somewhat childish B-movie that it is. It's the best of the Star Wars movies, and holds up better than the other films in the series--even the ones made within the last decade or so. The movie is celebrated in a 2010 massive hardcover book, The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, by J.W. Rinzler. This 30th Anniversary volume is a treasure trove of 362 pages of transcripts, sketches, photographs, failures and triumphs. Rinzler had unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm archives, George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, and the actors, special effects creators, designers, and everyone else still living who worked on the film. There are also priceless interviews that were conducted thirty years ago by a publicist Alan Arnold, stored in vaults since then, that Rinzler was able to use to go back and reconstruct what was happening at the time. The result is a book that's taken me weeks to read, bits at a time, taking in what's new, and changing my views on a movie that I've seen dozens of times.The eleven chapters take a chronological look at the production of the movie, starting in May 1977 with the release of the original Star Wars, and then running through 1980, when The Empire Strikes Back was released. This begins with rough sketches of the script--broad story elements that Lucas wanted to make sure were included, and then many script revisions, taking it from something that resembles Empire to what the movie finally ended up being. One of the things I liked best in the entire book was a transcript of a day of troubleshooting for one particular scene: Han Solo is about to get frozen in carbonite, and director Irvin Kershner is fielding Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, Jeremy Bulloch and David Prowse, trying to fix a script problem. Something wasn't working, and it was ultimately Harrison Ford's simple solution that fixed it--but it took twenty pages of discussion, some bruised feelings, and some near disastrous missteps to fix it. It's the sort of insight into movie making that we almost never get as the audiences, and explains why on many sets they only shoot minutes of a scene per day. The evolution of new characters like Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, and Yoda were also fascinating--how villainous can Lando be and still end up a hero by the end of the movie? Should Yoda be a Little Person, a puppet, or some other solution? How ridiculous can he be when we meet him, and still believe him as a Jedi Master later on? It's a wonderful look at characters that become icons, and make me question if successive uses of some of those characters haven't watered down the original intent of the creators.At the same time The Empire Strikes Back was filming, George Lucas was building his own empire, moving from the Hollywood area to his new Skywalker Ranch, founding Industrial Light and Magic, and figuring out how to best use the kabillion dollars he made off of Star Wars to help other filmmakers achieve their own visions. That was the least interesting part of the book for me, but it's in easily digestible (or skippable) chunks of information.The photos are beautiful--I loved seeing the production sketches and paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston and others, and the behind the scenes photos included dozens that I've never seen before. The actors are the ones I noticed the most, of course, but by the end of the book, I recognized the other people behind the scenes, and was able to appreciate the work they did on the picture.Toy hoarder that I am, I would have liked more on the design of the merchandise tie-ins from Kenner and other vendors; they're included on a few pages, but since most of that happened away from the movie production, it's not really included in Rinzler's book.The detail in The Making of The Empire Strikes Back is obsessive, and as a superfan, I loved it. A more casual fan (like the one I'm married to), or someone not as interested in film production wouldn't have the patience to wade through it. Even then, there are some interesting what-ifs and insights that you can get even from skimming through the pages--if you're a fan of Empire, it's worth a look.

  • Chris
    2019-03-22 08:25

    Empire Strikes BackI like to think I'm pretty well versed in the making of the Star Wars films. I've watched countless documentaries, listened to audio commentaries and read various 'making of' books over the years.But that's nothing compared to this book. Containing interviews with most of the major players, taken from the late seventies right up until the release of The Empire Strikes Back, this has a real fly-on-the-wall feeling. Nobody knew whether this was going to be as good as the first film, they didn't know whether they were putting all their time, effort and money into something that was going to catapult Star Wars to new heights or send it crashing into the abyss.It's easy to look back now and say, "Well, it's Star Wars... even the crappier prequel films made a tonne of money", but back then it was still very much a gamble.My biggest criticism is the continued refusal to acknowledge the existence and major contribution of Marcia Lucas, George's now ex-wife. Not only did she edit (or co-edit) all three of the original trilogy, she had a lot to do with giving the characters some heart, instead of leaving them as static, cardboard cut-outs. I can only assume, much like the Expanded Universe that she's been retroactively wiped from canon.The section where Irvin Kershner was miked up was fascinating. Actually seeing the discussions between the actors and the crew is something so rare, it's worth the purchase of the book alone. It's nice to see that behind the scenes young Harrison Ford actually cared about his characters, talking at length about character development and being instrumental in Han Solo's iconic "I know" response to Princess Leia's "I love you."Something that jumped out at me while reading was after the release of the film was this paragraph regarding Denmark's refusal to allow under 12s to see it:"Children are not allowed to see a film that desensitizes them to violence, to suffering," says Dr. Joergen Brunn Petersen, "They must not see a film if we feel they will get [from it] less ability to feel pity." On the other hand children were allowed by the Denmark censors to see sex on screen. "I don't think children will be harmed if they see two adults going to bed with each other. But only if they express love for each other, do what they do with feeling"It's such a conservative American bit of editorialising, where in Hollywood even today you can show the most extreme violence on screen and let kids see it but if there's even the hint of female nipple it's the end of the world.This book was well documented and filled with many behind the scenes photos I hadn't seen elsewhere. It was nice to see how nervous Lucas and co were before the release, saying that it had to be a huge hit otherwise he wouldn't recoup his money. I just kept thinking "Oh, just you wait, George."

  • Mike Smith
    2019-03-05 13:34

    Once again, J.W. Rinzler provides a detailed, backstage look at the creation of one of the most successful films of all time: the first sequel to Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back was a huge, personal gamble for George Lucas. After the stress and strain of the first Star Wars, which was financed by studio 20th Century Fox, Lucas decided to finance the sequel himself, using the profits from Star Wars merchandising as collateral for the bank loans. This gave Lucas complete creative control, but also increased the stress levels immensely. Lucas stepped away from the director's chair and served as writer and executive producer on Empire, allowing veteran director Irvin Kershner to handle the day-to-day aggravations of the set.Rinzler captures the tension between Kershner's artistic sensibilities and Lucas's preference for action and myth and his need to stay on budget and on schedule. Empire ended up costing nearly twice the original budget, but it did make its promised release date, although not without some superhuman efforts on the part of a dedicated crew of technicians, craftspeople, and artists. The story itself evolved over more than a year of screenwriting. The worst winter in a century hampered location shooting of the snow battle in Norway. A major fire at the soundstage in England delayed production. Carrie Fisher was often ill (it was later revealed that she was starting a pattern of drug abuse). Mark Hamill broke a thumb during a stunt fall. No one had any idea whether the Yoda puppet would be convincing as a true character.This book relies extensively on interviews conducted during production by Alan Arnold and on Arnold's book Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Rinzler adds much more detail about pre-production and is able to expand on the production phase. He also includes many, many more design drawings, on-set photos, and audio and video clips made during production.All in all, this is an excellent addition to the behind-the-scenes peek at how the Star Wars saga came to be.

  • Mr. Fusion
    2019-03-16 15:16

    To say this piece of work is extensive is an understatement. Rinzler covers (and uncovers) nearly every imaginable aspect of making The Empire Strikes Back, from an early story meeting with Lucas to the rigorous filming, and the massive special effects undertaking of post-production. It's an exhaustive amount of information and detail, not to mention the trove of rarely (and never-before) seen picture from the film's production. One of the book's greatest sequences is a transcript of on-the-set audio during filming of the carbonite scene. It's here that we get to see all that went into coming up with a workable scene, changing the dialogue and getting the rest of the actors on board with Kershner's and Ford's improv'd lines ("I love you" ... "I know"). We see the working tensions between Ford and Fisher (suffering from insecurities), and the rough working conditions on the heated freezing chamber set. Such a simple line took a surprising amount of thought and the scene took so much coordination among the cast that it gives a newfound appreciation for just how well done the scene (not to mention the overall film) is. The included Ralph McQuarrie paintings are worth the price of admission. This isn't the first time I've read about this film's making, but there's an immense amount of gorgeous McQuarrie art I've never seen. It is a testament to the man's sheer brilliance and well-honed craft. The Empire Strikes Back is one of my favorite movies of all-time, and there is no better book on the making of this terrific movie. Not even sure there can be a more definitive work. I'm truly excited for the release of Rinzler's The Making of Return of the Jedi, and that's a lesser movie in my eyes. 5/5

  • Phil
    2019-03-10 13:31

    Rinzler, who wrote the Making Of for the first Star Wars film, once again does an excellent job telling the complete story, start to finish, of the monumental task that was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.He again utilizes period interviews, archived material, and internal memos to tell the as-it-happened story of Empire. Showcased with wonderful photography, this books gives the reader the inside look at what it took to make the sequel to the biggest movie of all time.While there were many bits to like, my favorite section was a transcription of one day on set, culled from an audio recording of director Irvin Kershnerr (who was wearing a cordless microphone hooked up to a cassette recorder). It gives fascinating insight to how a director interacts with cast, crew, and environment while trying to shoot a Star Wars picture. The entire day's worth of shooting is given through the words of Kershnerr without editing (except for Kershnerr's self-censoring of sensitive script material) and only the occasional annotation for clarification.Even though I already knew much of the story behind the film, I thoroughly enjoyed this thorough look in Empire. Someone who is unfamiliar with the behind the scenes of this classic film will potentially find much more of interest.My only critique is that, overall, it seemed to be lacking the depth evident in the first making of book, but that may be due to a general lack of as many primary sources from which to draw on.

  • Bookworm1858
    2019-03-12 08:38

    The Making of The Empire Strikes Back by JW RinzlerBallantine Books, 2010351 pagesNon-fiction; Movie5/5 starsSource: LibraryLike the previous book The Making of Star Wars, this book takes an in-depth look at the making of a film with new pressures. The success of "Star Wars" had many implications. Its financial success enabled George Lucas to retain more control as it was a proven commodity but no sequel had ever done as well as its predecessor so the entire operation was dicey. Lucas was drained from directing so he wanted someone else to direct but that also took away some of his control. Most of the cast and crew returned, eager to attempt to top themselves but also struggling with new technical demands.I was most eager to find out about the script and the creation of Yoda, which is duly covered. For me, there was a bit too much of the technical side but that's my own lack of knowledge. I was able to just look at the pictures (so many!) and skim the text when it became too complicated for me.Overall: This is another fine look at the Star Wars saga; I'm excited for the third book to come out in 2013 (they're being released on the 30th anniversary).

  • Bradley
    2019-02-25 08:38

    After reading this book about one of my ten favorite movies of all time, it boggles the mind that this movie was even half as good as Star Wars, let alone better than the original. This book gives an insider's perspective on the entire motion picture from brainstorm, script, production all the way through to final cut and release - with everything thrown in from location shoots in arctic temperatures, to set design, special effects, make-up, costumes and art direction. And the problems. To speak as Yoda, Many problems this movie had. From script problems, special effects snafus, location shots gone awry, internal strife, bloating egos, bloated budgets and months over deadline, the crew suffered a wide array of snafus. But, the creativity and ingenuity they used to work their way out of all of the problems is just mind boggling. Just a fantastic book from start to finish. Highly recommended if your a fan of the film or just a film fan.

  • Adam Watson
    2019-02-27 12:33

    It's hard to find fault with this "behind the scenes" book; Rinzler gives you a detailed, almost daily diary of the production, from pre- to postproduction. As much as I've read about SW, it was full of fascinating anecdotes. One of my favorite moments comes from an audio transcription of Kershner working on the set with Ford, Fisher, and Williams on the pivotal "I know" moment (when Han is frozen in carbonite). To see how that scene artistically evolved through collaboration was illuminating. (Also, funny to hear Fisher carp about how Ford is mad at her.) Some of the FX talk gets a bit dry (unless you extremely enjoy the shop talk), but that's no fault of the author. I'm curious, when Rinzler tackles ROTJ, how he will handle the issue of how much Lucas took over directing from Richard Marquand. (Marquand, now deceased, supposedly did not make Lucas happy with how he directed some action sequences. )

  • Mrenzoni
    2019-03-17 12:28

    There is not enough space or time to write a proper review for by far the best "making of" book that I have ever read. I considered myself someone who knew a few more things about the Best Sequel Ever Made than the next guy, but this book proved that I knew very little about what happened while this movie was being made: Lucas's struggles to create a financially stable ILM; David Prowse, the walking "spoiler alert"; the difficulties filming in the frigid cold and snow for the Hoth scenes; Alec Guiness's poor health; the big gamble that was creating Yoda; a ballooning budget due to being months behind in schedule; and the creative genius that is Harrison Ford (the script of his conversation with Irwin Kershner about the Carbon Freezing Chamber scene was worth the read, all by itself). A fascinating read that any Star Wars fan would love.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-03-19 13:30

    At first I was a little uninterested in this book, only because most of my free time for reading is on the train and this isn't really the kind of book you can read on the train. The photos and artwork really do benefit from the size though, and the book itself is an expansively detailed and entertaining look at the making of this film in particular, but also in giving a sense of what making a big budget film can be like. Certainly, not all the problems are delved into as deeply, but this is far from the PR fluff that some 'Making of the film' books are. The book also touches on much of the beginnings of the Lucasfilm juggernaut as a business, giving insight into the movie industry through the microcosm of making what is admittedly one of my all time favorite films.

  • Samuel
    2019-03-03 10:24

    I actually read the Kindle Fire version of this book, which has all the text, plus more pictures and even some vintage video clips--some about the making of, some that are interviews with the cast and crew--as well as some audio clips. I had been waiting for it to come out in paperback form (as the hardback version was out of my price range) and was thrilled to find it extremely affordable on the Fire!Covering pretty much every detail about the making of "Empire Strikes Back" through to the premiere and early press coverage, this is an exhaustive work about this great movie. There are interviews and lots of production notes, behind-the-scenes details and everything else you could want or expect from a book like this.

  • FittenTrim
    2019-03-18 08:44

    Now here's a book right up my alley :) Fans of The Empire Strikes Back tend to give too much of the credit to director Irvin Kershner for the film's greatness. (I know I did). But Rinzler's new book explains how all the ingredients (the plot, the characters, the designs, the richness) came from Lucas' imagination. On Empire, what Kershner did so well (unlike Jedi director Richard Marquand, and Lucas himself on the prequel trilogy) is that he put a lot of time and thought (and Lucas' money) into how to logically express Lucas' concepts in dialog & action. This is a great behind the scenes look at a great movie. Grade: A

  • Tim Lapetino
    2019-02-24 14:28

    Excellent and highly detailed "making of" the best of all the Star Wars films. At points it almost gets too detailed, but the whole narrative is fascinating -- not just because of details, photos, drawings, and recorded transcripts -- but also because the story of ESB is also that of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic. The risks Lucas took in financing ESB and the creation of his tech empire did pay off, but the roller coaster ride of all of these is riveting, especially since we know how it finally ended.

  • Eric Hart
    2019-03-22 14:21

    As with the first volume, this is a comprehensive account of the production of what many - myself included - consider the best film in the series.Rinzler relies a lot, and acknowledges this early on, on Alan Arnold's excellent "Once Upon a Galaxy", published at the time of the film's release in 1980. For an officialy sanctioned book, it is surprisingly candid regarding the production problems and the rift between Lucas and Kurtz.Beautifully illustrated. The kindle edition again adds some interesting behind-the-scenes videos and interviews.

  • Iain
    2019-02-24 12:21

    Continues where the excellent Star Wars book left off. The best part was the transcript of the conversations between director Irvin Kershner, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams before filming the scene where Han is frozen; a really fascinating insight into the creative process as they try to get to the heart of the characters amidst the trappings of a major production. Empire is hands-down the best of the Star Wars films and I think it's because of the room that Kershner gave the characters to breathe.

  • Robert Paske
    2019-03-13 14:40

    While this book was written along the same lines as the Making of Star Wars, which I gave 5 stars, there was just something about this follow-up that made it, for me, less interesting. I still loved the extra behind-the-scenes photos and info, but it just didn't seem to flow as well as the first book, and some section became somewhat of a chore to read, regardless of how interesting the information was.

  • Bahana Damayana
    2019-03-10 12:19

    Buku keren! Banyak trivia soal shooting filmnya yang ga bakal ada di IMDB atau Wikipedia. Saya makin respect ke Kershner & Lucas equally karna kontribusi mereka lebih total dibanding apa yg biasanya disuggest. Belum lagi ke tim ILM, berapa kali tuh revisi shot special effectnya sampe overbudget. Maklum Kershner kewalahan karna nih pertama kalinya dia buat film grand semacam ini, productionnya hampir terancam hancur. Tapi hasilnya tetep masterpiece!

  • Samuel
    2019-03-23 10:33

    This was the first book I read on my Kindle Fire that was more than its presentation in other formats. While I really like Rinzler's other coffee-table books about "A New Hope" and "Indiana Jones", I really enjoyed the Fire version. For one thing, it's cheaper and, for another, it has the words "Don't ... " Sorry, couldn't resist. The second thing I really enjoyed was the video and audio footage. Really added a brand new dimension to reading a book!

  • Dave
    2019-03-02 12:29

    Certainly what it says on the box...definitive. Sometimes TOO definitive, like when listing bookkeeping details or random crew hires. Rinzler has ZERO editorial observation, and is very dry, but the he finds so many fascinating nuggets buried way back when. And simply by telling the tale straight, without fluff, a huge chunk of it is fascinating - and inspirational - the massive risk, the dedication, the pride. Best bit is the transcript when Kersh is miked for the "I know" day. Legendary.