- Paperback: 626 pages
- Publisher: Legacy Books Press; First edition edition (November 18, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0978465237
- ISBN-13: 978-0978465230
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Secret History of Star Wars Paperback – November 18, 2008
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Enter Michael Kaminski’s "The Secret History of Star Wars." This exhaustive work examines how the series was conceived, created, and re-created. In Kaminski’s telling, George Lucas first imagined Star Wars as a series of disconnected adventure films, like the serials of Lucas’s youth; the film eventually known as “A New Hope” was going to be a one-off production because neither Lucas nor 20th Century Fox had much confidence that it would succeed. When it did—and did wildly—Lucas began to create sequels, sequels that made the series a more plot-driven, tightly-focused story than he had initially conceived.
Kaminski has done a tremendous amount of research for this book, drawing on interviews, reviews, and articles ranging from the earliest days of the films’ creation to their modern re-introduction in Special and DVD editions. The story he tells is of more than just how the movies came to be, for this is inextricable from the tale of how Lucas continuously changed his own narrative of the saga’s creation. It has, at times, been a nine-part series, a twelve-part series, a playground for young directors, a story only Lucas could tell, a fantasy-adventure romp, a family saga, a picture of tragedy and redemption.
It may never be possible to say exactly what motivated and motivates Lucas to attempt this grand revisionism (although Kaminski has some intriguing suggestions), but having a book like this to collate and sift through the vast amount of material and manifold storylines surrounding Star Wars’ creation is a boon to fans. It’s ambitious, too; it covers not only the original trilogy (episodes IV to VI), but—at slightly less length—the prequel trilogy, as well.
The book’s principle flaw is stylistic; it could have used better editing. Information is occasionally repeated, and there are some awkward turns of phrase. These are, I stress, not critical flaws, but do point up the book’s origins as an internet labor of love.
There is too much here for readers mainly interested in a broad overview of “the making of Star Wars.” But fans who have noticed the incongruities in the series will be pleased to find a wealth of insight in "The Secret History." And perhaps more, Kaminski has demonstrated just how a “modern myth” comes to be. The fact that Star Wars has no definitive “making-of” story, but a constellation of tales surrounding its creation that are told, retold, and modified, may be the most mythic thing about it of all.
This thoroughly researched book explains Lucas's creative process in great detail based on available drafts, manuscripts, and interviews.
It was interesting to see how the first Star Wars evolved from a straight rip-off of a Kurosawa film to the hero's journey that it ended up as. The book traces the path through drafts, tying in Lucas's influences from his own life.
I was fascinated by the battle between Lucas, Kurtz, and Kershner over the overall tone and pace of Empire Strikes Back, and of how Lucas was so beaten down by the end of Return of the Jedi, he just wanted to wrap it up as quickly as possible.
This also explained where much of the material for the prequels came from, and how the plots of those movies evolved, somewhat by necessity and somewhat thanks to Lucas's own tone-deafness for dialog and editing, into the confusing messes that they ended up as.
This book is probably only for readers who are very, very big fans of Star Wars (or maybe of writing and films), but for that audience, this book is satisfying and answers a lot of questions.
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The author is dumber than a bowl of corn flakes.Read more