Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
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Just as Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi completed the most successful cinematic trilogy of its generation, perhaps of all time, this splendid thirtieth-anniversary tribute completes New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler’s trio of fascinating behind-the-scenes books celebrating George Lucas’s classic films.
Once again, the author’s unprecedented access to the formidable Lucasfilm Archives has yielded a mother lode of extremely informative, vastly entertaining, and often unexpected stories, anecdotes, recollections, and revelations straight from the closely guarded set of a big-screen blockbuster in the making. Brimming with previously unpublished photos, production artwork, script excerpts, exclusive intel, vintage on-set interviews, and present-day commentary, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi chronicles “how George Lucas and his crew of extroverted artists, misfits, and expert craftspeople roused themselves to great heights for a third time” to create the next unforgettable chapter in one of the most beloved sagas of all time. Get up close to the action and feel like a studio insider as
• creator George Lucas, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and director Richard Marquand huddle in a script conference to debate the destinies of iconic Star Wars characters, as well as plot twists and turns for the epic final showdown between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire
• artists and craftspeople at the groundbreaking Industrial Light & Magic facility top their own revolutionary innovations—despite the infamous Black Friday—with boundary-pushing new analog visual effects
• a crack team of sculptors, puppeteers, actors, and “monster-makers” bring Jabba the Hutt and his cohorts to startling, slobbering life from the inside out
• a Who’s Who of heavyweight directors—from such films as Superman, Gremlins, Halloween, Dune, Scanners, and Time Bandits—are considered for the coveted job of bringing a new Star Wars adventure to the silver screen
• actors and crew race to the finish line at Elstree Studios, in a fiery desert, and beneath the trees of a dense redwood forest—before money runs out—to answer the questions that audiences had waited three years to find out: Is Darth Vader really Luke’s father, who is the “other”—and who or what is the Emperor?Star Wars’ stars from both sides of the camera—including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, director Richard Marquand, producer Howard Kazanjian, Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, and mastermind George Lucas—weigh in with candid insights on everything from technical challenges, character design, Ewoks, the Empire’s galactic city planet, and the ultimate challenge of bringing the phenomenal space fantasy to a dramatic close. The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi gives a spectacular subject its just due, with more than five hundred images and many, many new interviews.
After living in France for almost ten years, Jonathan Rinzler returned to the United States looking to work in the movie industry, more specifically with LucasFilm. Rinzler, who had been working as a managing editor until that point, was interviewed for a position in the company to work with non-fiction books. He then joined the company in 2001, as the executive editor of LucasBooks, the company's publishing arm.
At the time, the company was producing Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Rinzler had been hired to produce a series of books about the making of their movies. Rinzler met with Rick McCallum and they talked about how the books should be "about the whole production" instead of focusing only on the special effects. After producing a book on all movies of the trilogy, Rinzler maintained contact with LucasFilm and was commissioned to produce a making-of Indiana Jones in 2008. Despite having left the company in 2016, Rinzler still produced a book about the behind the scenes of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes for Disney in 2018.
In a 2019 interview to The Verge, Rinzler explained his love for making of books came about after watching the Jaws (1975) and acquiring The Jaws Log as well as Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects.
In 2019, Rinzler published The Making of Alien, a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the 1979 film Alien with cast and crew interviews and previously-unseen photographs. This was followed by The Making of Aliens, a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the 1986 film Aliens in 2020.
Rinzler also published a novel in 2020 called All Up, about the Space Race, between the United States and Soviet Russia. He spent one year researching for the book, and about seven years writing it sporadically, until its publication.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.