Between A New Hope and The Rise of Skywalker, there are more than a few fun facts about the making of the Star Wars saga over the last 43 years. Next week, you'll be able to access a bunch of them in Star Wars: Fascinating Facts, a 208-page compendium of stories, tidbits, and general behind-the-scenes information about everyone's favorite galaxy far, far away.
"I’d been writing in this space for 20 years now, so it was very much in my wheelhouse," author Pablo Hidalgo, a longtime member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, tells SYFY WIRE. "I had a few months to compile the kind of facts they were looking for and hit the specific 'browse-able' tone they were seeking. It sounded like a good fit, and my schedule had opened up as I had recently wrapped up some other writing projects."
Rummaging through the water-logged ruins of the second Death Star, SYFY WIRE was able to get its hands on three exclusive interior pages from the book that explore an unused concept for the Emperor's throne room in Return of the Jedi; the groundbreaking special effects work of John Dykstra (who won an Oscar for his work on Episode IV back in the '70s); and the mysterious Force connection between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in The Last Jedi.
"The format demanded a representation from all nine saga films across a variety of topics, so that kept the process more interesting than if it was a simple chronological list of fun facts," Hidalgo says. "Because the book covers in-universe lore as well as behind-the-scenes info, it was very satisfying to be able to include trivia from both, because I tend to think a well-rounded Star Wars education includes how these movies are made, as well as what’s in them."
Check out the pages and more insights from the writer below:
Having worked at Lucasfilm for the last two decades, Hidalgo actually got to cite his own firsthand accounts for certain items "because I was there when it happened," he adds. "Stuff like that definitely helps remind me how fortunate I’ve been! ... There was some numerical info in terms of how impactful to the digital revolution the prequels were, which puts into perspective what an uphill fight that was for Lucasfilm, to transform an industry into using digital tools to capture, edit, screen and eventually distribute. It’s easy to take for granted now, even if you lived through it!"
He continues: "The challenge often came when I’d stop and ask myself, 'Doesn’t everybody already know this?’ and then having to remind myself, 'There are people who are going to read [this] whose parents weren’t even alive when that Bantha Tracks [a Star Wars newsletter that ran between 1978 - 1987] issue you’re citing came out.'"
"Since it covers from the ‘70s to now, there’s room for new insights on films and projects that haven’t had decades of behind-the-scenes examinations on them," Hidalgo says. "I’m hoping even the biggest die-hards will learn something new to add to their already impressive mental database of Star Wars trivia. I hope this book invigorates a Star Wars pub-style night trivia in the near future."
When it comes to his favorite fact about the series, the writer admits that he's "always found it weirdly poetic that natural storms hit the production of two of the original trilogy films (Star Wars and Empire), and yet when they finally needed a storm on-screen and created a controlled sandstorm for Return of the Jedi, they ended up cutting it out. It was the first scene shot, and first scene cut for that film."
He continues: "There’s no shortage of Star Wars information out in the world, and to put it kindly, it’s not all of the same caliber when it comes to accuracy. So for those looking to share an interesting fact in conversation, they can at least trust that there’s a record of research that went behind the ones in this book. Can’t guarantee it’ll settle any arguments, but it won’t hurt."
"The book is meant to be a fun, browse-able, pick-up and jump-in-at-any-point-whenever-the-mood-strikes kind of read," concludes Hidalgo. "For new readers, it shouldn’t be all that intimidating and serve as a good starting point to dive in and learn more. For avid Star Wars readers, I hope it makes a nice counterpart to the big heavy hardcover guides that I’ve also written in the past."
Star Wars: Fascinating Facts goes on sale next Tuesday, Oct. 13. You can pre-order a copy here for $15.99.