Book Review “Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy”

Editor: J.W. Rinzler
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: May 13, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Last year when, “Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy” was released, click here for our review, I was first in line to get it but we all knew that “Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy” was the book that we were all waiting for. I “enjoy” the Prequel Trilogy film as much as the next hardcore “Star Wars” fan but nothing compares to the original. The original storyboards have also never been available in a book before and this is a first time. Fans are able to get inside “A New Hope”, ” The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” and see what it will be like to experience these films from their original ideas. Being a hardcore “Star Wars” fan, this book made my month!

Official Premise: For the first time, Lucasfilm has opened its Archives to present the complete storyboards for the original Star Wars trilogy—the world-changing A New Hope and its operatic sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—as well as never-before-published art from early conceptual and deleted scenes. From the opening chase above Tatooine in A New Hope to the Battle of Endor in Jedi, this book presents the visual inspiration behind now-iconic moments. Readers can finally see a full set of storyboards by legendary artist Joe Johnston, as well as early boards for Episode IV by Alex Tavoularis and for Episode V by Ivor Beddoes, rarely seen Episode VI boards by Roy Carnon, and Ralph McQuarrie’s never-before-seen storyboards for Episode V.

When I see that a “Star Wars” book has been edited by J.W. Rinzler, I always know it is going to be a winner. He is the executive editor at Lucasfilm, Ltd and is also the author of the bestseller “The Making of Star Wars”. There is a great kick off introduction from Nilo Rodis-Jamero, who was the assistant art director of visual effects for “The Empire Strikes Back” and the costume designer for “Return of the Jedi”. So it was great to have that experience send off the book. The colors are sharp and the book is just so well done, I can honestly say that this is yet another hit for Abrams. They have done some wonderful things for the “Star Wars” franchise and I can’t wait to see what they have planned next!

Book Review “Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy”

Author: J. W. Rinzler
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I don’t know any other way to start this review but noting that it has J. W. Rinzler behind it. Right away that is an instant score for me. He is the executive editor at Lucasfilm Ltd. and the the author of many of my favorite “Star Wars” books including “The Making of Star Wars & “The Empire Strikes Back” and the recent “Star Wars: Blue Prints”. I know that the “Star Wars” universe will be well-represented if it is in his hands. That is definitely the case with “Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy”. I am not a super big fan of the prequel trilogy but I am huge fan of conceptual storyboards and artwork for films.

This book marks the first time that Lucasfilm has opened up the doors to its archives in order to present this collection of storyboards from Episodes I, II and III. The book itself includes the best-of storyboards from the three films complied into one volume and is accompanied with the scripts excerpts from the scenes shown. If you are a fan of “Star Wars”, this is a great way to really get a new perspective on these three films.  You will also really get a chance to see how these storyboards assisted in the creation of the Prequel Trilogy. Did I also mention that there were 1200 illustrations in the book spread out over the 350+ pages. Also I just want to through it out there since this book focuses on the Prequel Trilogy, I hope that there is a second volume in the works for Episode IV through VI.  Just sayin’ 😉

So if you are a hardcore “Star Wars” fan like myself, you are going to jump at the chance, fan of this trilogy or not, to see early takes on favorite scenes, alternate looks, unused approaches to character designs and environments and completely different approaches to key moments. When I first flipped through this book, I was “Alright cool, it is the prequels presented in storyboards”.  But upon a closer look there is so much more that will have you literally examining this book very closely to be sure not to miss a detail. Like I mentioned I am a fan of J. W. Rinzler’s works, so I will be awaiting the upcoming release of “The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”, this October very highly! Keep me coming J. W. and Lucasfilm!