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Friday, April 17, 2015

Screen Superstar Tells Star Wars: The Full Story

The other day, while perusing a comic book store, I noticed this magazine, published in 1977. 

Measuring a magnificent 9" x 12', this extra-large special edition of Screen Superstar, titled "Star Wars: The Full Story," sported numerous photographs from the movie, some of them two-page spreads.

Despite the promise on the cover, it wasn't packed with full-color photographs. But it offered lots of black-and-white photos, which had been developed using different colors. 

I thought this effect added drama and interest to the movie stills. Don't you?

Having read The Making of Star Wars by J. W. Rinzler, a coffee table-sized book offering a wealth of information on Lucas' first installment in the series, I didn't expect to learn anything new about my all-time favorite movie. But I thought it might be fun to revisit reports from Sci-fi entertainment writers back in the day, and compare them with the officially approved version released from Lucasfilm thirty years later. There was the expected, such as a spotlight focused far more intensely on the contribution of John Dykstra to the special effects team than later official versions would credit him with. And then there was the unexpected. One special effects worker, who was not named, actually describes the process of filming model spacecrafts as boring. Try to find a statement like that in an official publication from Lucasfilm!

Additionally, I enjoyed experiencing the passion of the writers and the editorial staff who had put this special magazine together. The writers argued that Star Wars built upon the literary foundations of modern Science Fiction, such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and Frank Herbert's novel Dune, and finally delivered on the potential that previous movies--even great ones, like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Forbidden Planet" had failed to capture. 

Well, I won't argue with that.

Oh, and I loved the artwork. Gorgeous two-page spreads, made by passionate fans of the movie in the year of its release, before Star Wars-inspired art became something we all took for granted.

Great stuff, right?

In those early days, news about George Lucas was even harder to come by than the facts behind the production. As everyone loved the new movie, the news media fought over any available scraps of information on the reclusive writer/director. The magazine reports that after the revenue from "Star Wars" started rolling in, Lucas purchased "a $500,000 Lear jet, the interior of which he redecorated to match the interior of Solo's Millennium Falcon." It probably didn't happen, but what a lovely story.

Just like my all-time favorite movie. 

Dragon Dave

P.S. Find your own copy of Screen Superstar's "Star Wars: The Full Story" at, on ebay, and wherever else good Star Wars books, magazines, and other necessities of life are sold. And yes, in case you're wondering, that includes comic book stores.

Related Dragon Cache entries
Jeremiah & George Lucas: Part 1
A Vintage Star Wars Interview
The Power of Star Wars: Part 1

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