|Marquand & Mark Hamill on set|
I particularly found the transcripts of the story conferences fascinating, as Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan (who do most of the talking), Howard Kazanjian (the producer) and Marquand build the script up, piece by piece, often following paths that lead nowhere (an awful lot of design work went into the Imperial stronghold of Had Abaddon until they decided to put the Emperor on the Death Star), putting the story together. There’s talk of death and sacrifice (even before Harrison Ford signed on), as pretty much every aspect of the film was open to discussion.
|Harrison Ford on the "plank" at Yuma (Marquand is wearing the cap, talking to him)|
|Shooting at the bunker, as Chewie arrives in the AT-ST|
his next project), the book captures well the frenzied atmosphere of a crew making ground-breaking discoveries whilst not really having the time to do so (especially since most of the crew
were coming off other films, such
as "E.T"., "Dragonslayer" and "Poltergeist"). It also does a good job catching everyone’s reaction on Black Friday, as Lucas threw out a load of shots as not being good enough. Ken Ralston (space battles), Dennis Muren (speeder bikes and the rancor) and Richard Edlund (everything else) are quoted extensively and clearly convey the scope of work they were dealing with. Phil Tippett, who designed the creatures with Stuart Freeborn, also lays claim to naming Salacious Crumb when, after a night on the sauce, he apparently said, “Wait a minute guys while I tie my soolacious.”
The toll on Lucas’ home-life was devastating, with him hiding his impending divorce from most of his crew (both Lucas and Spielberg were involved in divorce during the pre-production of "Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom" (concurrent to this), with both of them blaming their ruptured personal lives for the darkness of that film). In a nice turn, for a modern book, Marcia Lucas’ role (though slimmed down with this film) is still acknowledged, even if she only makes a couple of appearances.
|Frame from the film, with animated AT-ST in the background|
|At Jabba's Palace (Bib Fortuna was played by Mike Carter, the man who was killed at Tottenham Court Rd tube station in "An American Werewolf In London"). Salacious Crumb is next to Leia.|
If you’re a fan of Star Wars and/or Making Of books, then this is a superb read - informative, amusing, frank - and I was sad to finish it. Very highly recommended.
(previous posts by me on "Return of the Jedi" can be found here (on matte paintings), here (on vintage ads) and here (30th anniversary))
I also reviewed The Making Of The Empire Strikes Back, which you can find here