Review: The Original Storyboards

10:20 AM, not 12, Lilly! Get your head in the game!
10:20 AM, July 25!

Friday was my birthday! (*is quiet a moment to facilitate well-wishes*) Why, thank you! And I finally had a nice one, which is a nice change. Amongst the serious highlights of the weekend, though, were these Star Wars themed gifts:

Birthday the RebeLibrarian way
Birthday the RebeLibrarian way

That’s right, my very own Commadore Librarian mug and the original storyboards for the OT. You can’t have the mug, because it was made for me♪e♫e♪ — so it is the latter item that concerns us today. J. W. Rinzler, the man who gave us The Making of the Empire Strikes Back and The Sounds of Star Wars (just to name two of the veritable empire of coffee table books he’s been producing for grown-up Star Warriors), has absolutely done it again. With “unprecedented access” to the Lucasfilm archival vaults, and an impeccable taste for the sort of history we crave, Rinzler has given us the Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy.

And so color coordinated, too.
And so color coordinated, too.

This huge and hugely delightful book reproduces the original storyboards from the trilogy, interspersed with the reminiscences of the artists. It showcases alternative early versions as well as the earliest visions of scenes that have become iconic. Did you know in one early draft, Vader ripped Captain Antilles’ arm off instead of strangling him? There’s discussion of technique (they used tempera paint on toothbrushes to create starfields), materials, and crew, plus the artists’ memories of work and their hijnks — such as the time Mark Hamill wandered in and commented that Han in carbonite would make a great coffee table.

Some of these sketches have not been seen since 1977, and all of them are recreated in (presumably) faithful colors, expanded and enhanced so you can actually see the indentations on the paper from the pens and such. Just really impressive, high quality images expertly edited. As usual, the most detail is paid to ANH, particularly early and alternate versions (such as when Luke was a girl with a brother named Deak).

The history in this volume is just incredible, and it’s also just a really lovely book. Any film buff would love it, and a Star Wars fan must definitely treasure it. Good stuff.

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