With nearly two weeks of its theatrical run under its belt, debates over the merit of Star Wars: The Last Jedi don’t show any signs of letting up (you can read our review here). But whether you’re a defender of Rian Johnson’s divisive installment, or you simply have bad taste in movies, The Art Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an eye-opening glimpse into the years of work that went into its production.
While it’s primarily a coffee-table book, with lush, full color photos of the paintings and sketches that went into the design of the film, everything from Johnson’s forward to author Phil Szostak’s lengthy chapter intros and photo captions, will give readers tremendous insight in all the minute details that went into making the penultimate installment of the Skywalker saga. Early drafts of what Luke and Kylo Ren could’ve looked like, costume designs that didn’t make the final cut, and countless renditions of the porgs give just a hint of the kind of massive undertaking putting together a film of this magnitude.
There’s also quite a few hints as to what Johnson and company were planning on doing, particularly with how they had to operate early on when The Force Awakens, and later Rogue One, were still in production. As every Star Wars film has to find its place inside a larger, ever expanding universe, the amount of agonizing detail into designing the look of the fathiers and what Rose’s uniform would look like is a joy for fanatics to see what goes on behind the scenes, months (or sometimes years) before the first camera starts rolling.
Die-hard fanatics will also revel in learning what George Lucas’ original plans for the sequel trilogy were, and how they incorporated some discarded sketches from the late Ralph McQuarrie (the illustrator who gave the look, and the soul, to the original trilogy) — including some from the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special — were repurposed for The Last Jedi.
I’ll admit, I’m a huge sucker for books like this, but the way this one is broken down, parsed out by sections (and, sometimes, specific characters), you learn how the sets and costumes are designed to help tell the story. Even some sequences I was lukewarm on after my first viewing took on a new meaning after I’d read about how they were planned during pre-production.
So, for any Star Wars lover with a little bit of extra holiday cash burning a hole in their pocket, The Art Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a must-have book that will reshape your perspective on the film while you spend hours getting lost in its illustrations.
The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak, and Lucasfilm Ltd. © Abrams Books, 2017 (C) 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization