The kindle edition of The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was released today (only $14.95 on Amazon) and I was very pleased to see it already sitting in my Kindle Library this morning (I had pre-ordered it a while ago). The kindle Edition has several advantages over the paper book: First is the long list of "digital enhancements" - Audio and video clips that you can enjoy as you come to them (the full list is at the bottom of this post). Secondly, at under $15, you'll save yourself $40 when compared to the paper book. The third advantage is portability. I have the paper editions of J. W. Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films and despite being a great read, they are not the kind of books you can take with you to the airport, or the doctors office - they're just too darn big and heavy! Finally, even if (like me) you don't have a Kindle, you can still enjoy the book on your IPad or Android tablet, or on your PC or laptop.
List of Enhancements
Audio: Conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie talks about his need to withdraw from the film.
Audio: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) discusses his character’s emotional and physical arc, and his interplay with the dark side.
Video: An excerpt from the telematics (or videomatics) of the rocket bike chase, with temp sound and voices by sound designer Ben Burtt, shot at ILM, fall 1981.
Video: A short excerpt from a 20-minute Jabba the Hutt test—eyes, hands, general movement, et cetera—shot at Elstree, fall 1981/early 1982.
Audio: Producer Howard Kazanjian, in the thick of production, goes over some of what a producer’s role is.
Video: A printed daily of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO telling the story of the saga so far to the Ewoks—in English, minus the sound effects—as directed audibly by Richard Marquand.
Audio: Director Richard Marquand on making sure the Jabba puppeteers feel safe on set and inside the giant animatronic puppet.
Audio: Hamill explains why Luke hasn’t given C-3PO all the information about his plans to rescue Han Solo.
Video: A printed daily of Jabba negotiating with Luke (Hamill delivers his lines off camera); Jabba speaks in English, and moves as directed by Marquand at Elstree Studios, January 1982.
Video: Printed dailies of Leia (Carrie Fisher) strangling Jabba aboard the latter’s barge, as directed by Marquand (off camera), January 1982.
Video: Printed dailies from February 11, 1982, of Salacious Crumb chewing on C-3PO’s eye.
Video: On the briefing room set, makeup and creature designer Phil Tippett helps dress Tim Rose in his Admiral Ackbar costume, which is having audio problems (first assistant director David Tomblin can be heard on the megaphone asking people to get a move on), circa February 25, 1982.
Video: Mark Hamill talks with Kenny Baker (R2-D2); director Richard Marquand goes over his shots for the day with producer Howard Kazanjian; Marquand then blocks out a scene with Ford, Fisher, Hamill, and Mayhew, as director of photography Alan Hume takes measurements, circa February 25, 1982.
Video: Printed dailies from February 16, 1982, of General Nadine (Dermot Crowley) and crew as they react to the battle and the destruction of the Imperial fleet (again, Marquand is directing from off camera).
Video: A behind-the-scenes shot on March 3, 1982, of Luke’s duel with Vader (Bob Anderson, here, as stunt double), as performed by Hamill and his stunt double (Colin Skeaping; sometimes shot in reverse) on the throne room set at Elstree Studios.
Video: A black-and-white dupe of a daily showing the death of a female X-wing pilot (Vivienne Chandler), as filmed and directed by the second unit.
Video: A printed daily from circa March 19, 1982, of Vader picking up the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid), who is rigged with wires; his cowl comes off, and stunt coordinator Peter Diamond runs in to help after “cut” is called.
Video: A printed daily from circa March 23, 1982, of Luke and Vader (David Prowse) on Endor, with Marquand speaking Vader’s lines (and cuing the lightsaber effect).
Video: On location in Buttercup Valley, California, stuntmen take the plunge into the Sarlacc pit, experimenting, April 1982.
Video: On location, Buttercup Valley.
Video: Behind the scenes of the land battle on Endor as Marquand, Lucas, and first AD David Tomblin try to organize the Imperial officers, scout troopers, Ewoks, and so on with varying degrees of success (visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren, in a gray baseball cap, can be seen in the background), on location near Crescent City, California, early May 1982.
Video: Telematics (or videomatics) are featured in Marquand’s cut (a black-and-white dupe) of the attack on the second Death Star (portions are without audio), which is intercut with Imperial Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington) ordering countermeasures; Ben Burtt performs Ackbar’s lines, circa August 19, 1982.
Video: Marquand’s first cut makes use of Hamill’s footage shot at Elstree on the rancor set, and temp footage shot at ILM of someone in an ape suit standing in for the rancor, circa August 19, 1982. (Note the Jawas pounding on Luke’s fingers when he’s holding on to the grate—a scripted moment that won’t make the final cut.)
Video: Marquand’s cut features the Emperor ordering the Death Star to turn its laser on Endor (a scene that will not make the final cut), circa August 19, 1982.
Video: Marquand’s cut has a longer scene on the rebel hangar set as Lando, Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca say their goodbyes, circa August 19, 1982 (the matte painting of the Falcon had yet to be completed for the background).
Video: Temp shots using material from Empire and A New Hope, along with action figures, a McQuarrie painting, and a placeholder actor, are cobbled together to show what a scene depicting Luke building his lightsaber might look like, circa November 1982. Note the partial set of Jabba’s palace door, which will be completed by a matte painting.
Audio: Visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston talks about “Black Friday,” the day Lucas cut many effects shots (and substituted others) in order to improve the film. (Interview by Garrett, 1983).
Audio: Model shop co-supervisor Lorne Peterson talks about the Millennium Falcon models built over the years. (Inteview by Garrett, 1983).
Video: Nearly a final cut, though without music or sound effects, of the scene in which Vader realizes Leia is Luke’s sister—with Marquand doing Vader’s lines. However, this moment will be altered when James Earl Jones performs the Sith Lord’s final lines in order to emphasize Vader’s sinister discovery, late 1982.
Audio: Burtt discusses how he goes about creating alien languages, specifically Ewokese. (Interview by Garrett, 1983).
Video: A printed daily from a pickup shot by DP Hiro Narita of C-3PO walking toward Jabba’s palace (shot on location in Death Valley, December 11, 1982).
Video: The final celebration Ewok song—in English—in a near-final cut of the film, early 1983.
Audio: Visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston talks eloquently about how ILM creates a special effects shot and its evolution.
Audio: Matte painting supervisor Michael Pangrazio discusses the variety of matte paintings done for the film, in particular Frank Ordaz’s painting of the Falcon for the rebel hangar featured behind Lando and Han.
Audio: Fans in line at the Egyptian Theatre are interviewed on opening night.
Audio: George Lucas on the durability of the phenomenon that he created and feeling the joy it’s inspired come back to him through its fans, particularly kids.
The Making of Star Wars and The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back are now also be available for the Kindle.