From the surprisingly violent opening sequence of A New Hope, to the early concept designs of now familiar characters, there’s an uncanny feeling attached to viewing these storyboards. It’s the original Star Wars trilogy that we all know and love, but with countless subtle differences that effectively describe an ongoing filmmaking process. What appears to be a process of throwing every idea at the table and selectively removing and changing undesirables until you reach the perfect sequence.
Joe Johnson (director of The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger) leads a company of storyboards artists through the making of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; and while much of drawing contained in these archives is of workmanlike fashion – they are practical drawings after all, produced at a rate of up to 40 a day – there are some outstanding sequences, such as the snowspeeder assault from Empire which is beautifully drawn and contains all of the on-screen action.
Having put up with the endless tinkering from Lucusfilm, it’s refreshing to see these affectionately held films in a manner that strips them back to their truest original glory. I personally love looking at the creative process behind major works like this; made and all the more enjoyable when in such familiar territory. When combined with The Prequel Trilogy these two books offer a lavish presentation and an effective reminder of their outstanding cinematic achievement. An easy recommendation for all Star Wars fans.