Made with the full cooperation of Lucasfilm, The Star Wars Archives: 1977–1983 is a hulking 604-page coffee table book providing fans with behind-the-scenes photos, stills, interviews, script pages, original design sketches of all the characters and droids you're looking for, promotional art and posters, storyboards, and unseen concept art for the films from the original Star Wars trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi). It even provides some insight and details to Lucas’ earlier films, THX-1138 and American Graffiti.
Author Paul Duncan shares Star Wars creator George Lucas’ origin story behind the epic space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, recounting the inspirations and experiences that resulted in the creation of the beloved sci-fi/fantasy franchise.
In images released exclusively to SYFY WIRE, Taschen has provided us with such treats as this rarely seen conceptual art by Ralph McQuarrie for Lucas’ original vision of Emperor Palpatine’s throne room in Return of the Jedi, which, according to the book, was “set in a lake of volcanic lava...[where] Luke is brought before the Emperor.”
The book quotes Lucas as saying: "At one point I wanted the Emperor's palace to be cathedral-like. It would have been more like you are going to meet Satan. It was more of an occult – the indescribable thing of evil. It's the evil that pollutes the galaxy, and this is where it lives."
Although the Emperor's "cathedral-like" palace with this throne by the lava lake never made it beyond the conceptual art phase, at least we now get to see Lucas' original concept through McQuarrie's gorgeous artwork.
Other goodies found within include this illustration by McQuarrie and Joe Johnston of notorious galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back (apparently modeled after Clint Eastwood's iconic "Man With No Name") ...
... and this photo of actor Mark Hamill jumping off the plank on the first day of filming in Yuma for Return of the Jedi:
Hamill, who became a member of the British stuntmen’s union, is quoted in the book as saying: “I’m very proud of that honor. The British are more conservative in such matters. I did all my own stunts in Jedi. I also did all my own stunts in Empire, except for the shot of Luke going through the window.”
Other images found in the book include this one of animators Phil Tippett and Jon Berg creating the Battle of Hoth on tabletops through trapdoors for The Empire Strikes Back...
... and actor David Prowse reveling in the power of the Dark Side as Darth Vader:
"I don’t have to get into the part at all," Prowse is quoted as saying within the book. "As soon as they start enclosing me in the mask, I begin to feel more evil with every plate they put on.”
The Star Wars Archives: 1977–1983 will be out Dec.15. It can be preordered now.