I accidentally slipped into a Star Wars hole about a month or two back, which turned out to be not so much a hole, but more of an entirely undiscovered cave system (which caused me to also purchase a few items for my Star Wars ‘library’).
Really, I blame those pesky bastards over at originaltrilogy.com, for always working on stuff that isn’t simply interesting in that nerdy ‘I’m I’m 30-years-old and I’m a Star Wars nerd’ kind of way, but also on a larger more serious film historic scale.
On the ‘light’ side, is Building Empire and Returning to Jedi, two accomplished documentaries by Jambe Davdar that basically dress up Empire and Jedi with fascinating and in some cases quite rare information from behind the scenes. Including quotes from a wide variety of sources, footage, reconstructions of lost scenes and so on and so forth.
Best of all, a similar documentary is in the making for A New Hope, which of course is the one everyone really wants to see.
In the deeper end of the pool comes The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski, a ?600 page -free e-book- (now published) paperback book that requires a bit of explanation for its true signifigance to sink in.
We all know of the claims that A New Hope was always meant to be the middle piece of a nine-piece series. Or… Was that twelve piece? Well, we’ve got a six-piece series now, and Lucas has said several times in recent years that that’s all we’re getting, so… Which is it?
And just how many of those pieces did Lucas plan out? He’s said on several occasions that he had a stack of treatments lined up, just waiting to be shot. But what did those treatments entail? What was that sequel-trilogy supposed to be about anyway?
Most puzzling of all, was, as Lucas claims, Darth Vader always meant to be Luke’s father?
The answers might surprise you. But not as much as the work that Michael Kaminski put into solving this quite staggering puzzle.
This book is really quite a piece of work.
It’s methodical to the point of being long-winded in places, particularly in the meticulous summaries of the various drafts and their differences and even repeats itself a bit much here and there. But it’s all in the service of creating a clear and concise step-by-step overview of a piece of film history that by now has become so muddled that no one really knows what happened.
Except Lucas of course, but he isn’t telling.
But aside from the obvious geekiness factor of a book like this, it manages to lay down the facts while at the same time almost unwittingly telling the heartbreaking story of how George Lucas, a gifted filmmaker, built his Xanadu away from Hollywood. And in doing so, lost his way, his friends and his wife.