The Arts Bookstore of the Internet
created by Matt Zoller Seitz
“Outside of a Dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” ~Groucho Marx
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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 Brimming with previously unpublished photos, production artwork, script excerpts, exclusive intel, vintage on-set interviews, and present-day commentary, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the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.Praise for The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi “Just like Rinzler’s 2010 volume about Empire Strikes Back, The Making of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi is an indispensible volume that will add tons of insight to your appreciation of George Lucas’ Original Trilogy. Rinzler has gone through masses of production documents at Lucasfilm and interviewed tons of people, and come up with a portrait of Lucas struggling to find a fitting ending to his ambitious, heroic saga.”—io9
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. It offers a variety of new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, television, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 under the direction of the founder's late wife, Cincinnati-based businesswoman and activist Nancy Dawson, and was originally hosted by Shopify until the platform became corrupt and started destroying independent merchants by freezing their accounts without explanation and making them jump through administrative and legal hoops before shutting them down and taking whatever was left of their money. This same fate was visited upon this store, prompting Seitz and his business partner Judith Carter to relocate here, the better to preserve a hospitable environment for the types of authors they like to champion: independent voices, often published by small presses whose 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. 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 the author's jazz musician father once called "the good sh*t."
The plot thickens, as they say. Why, by the way? Is it a soup metaphor?
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com. He is also the TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Sight and Sound. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine, and the co-founder and original editor of Press Play, an IndieWire blog of film and TV criticism and video essays.
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 Sopranos Sessions, Mad Men Carousel, and the newly published by MZS Press, The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon. He also wrote the New York Time Best Sellers Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, and TV (The Book). He is currently working on a science fiction puppet movie, a memoir about his two marriages, and an epic non-fiction television series covering 50 years in the life of his extended family.
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.