The Book




  Discussion Board

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this?

At its simplest, The Secret History of Star Wars is a book exploring the writing and creation of the Star Wars saga. Culled from over 400 sources and filled with quotes from people such as George Lucas, Gary Kurtz and Mark Hamill, it traces all the way back to 1973 to examine how the first 14-page treatment that began the series came to be and was slowly built, draft by draft, year by year and movie by movie. Covering a period of over four decades, you will discover how George Lucas got his ideas for the original film, how Darth Vader was made into Luke Skywalker's father in 1978 and forever altered the arc of the story, what happened to the infamous third trilogy in the series and how the prequel stories came to be. The book also reveals the style and method of Lucas himself and how his personal life affected and shaped the story, for better and worse. This is a book which challenges many legends surrounding the series and places the films in a new light.

Why did you write this?

The details and perspective offered in The Secret History of Star Wars need to be better known, basically. There is a glaring void in both the film community and the Star Wars fan community that is in need of being filled. Interest in the history of the Star Wars series, the most popular film and film series ever made, is tremendous, but, unfortunately, there is a ton of misinformation, confusion and inaccuracy surrounding it. I called the book the cliched "The Secret History of" because, at its simplest, this perspective of the series has never been told. Some of these items have been known for a few years in small circles of "Star Wars scholars," I guess you could say, but the overarching history of the series has never been collected and explained in a cohesive synthesis the way this book has done.

Is this book authorized by Lucasfilm?

No, not in the least. In fact, a primary tenet is its defiance of the "traditional" Lucasfilm version of history, which has skewered some key facts over the years. This is a totally independent work of research.

How do I get a copy?

The best way to purchase the book is to order it online from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble .

Wasn't this available for free before? And didn't I hear about this a long time ago?

The Secret History of Star Wars has a long and complicated history. In fact, when I first began writing it, I did not intend for it to be book-length, I was merely interested in doing a lengthy essay on the history of the Star Wars storytelling/screenwriting process, perhaps to be hosted online as The Starkiller script site had done with some similar essays; as my page count reached the triple digits, I realised I had a book in me. However, when I was finished in early 2007, due to various issues I could not convince a publisher to go with the book. In the end, I figured I had originally written it out of sheer passion with the intention that it be made available for free on the internet as an educational piece, and so that's exactly what I did.

The first version of the book was available online in March 2007, but I kept it quiet for the reason that I was still in the process of editing it; it was, in many ways, a sort of beta release. After getting some feedback, doing additional research--helped tremendously by the publishing of Lucasfilm's The Making of Star Wars--a second version was published online just before christmas of that year (but before this I had been doing revisions to the uploaded piece regularly as well). With the backbone of the book finalised a third edition came out in May of 2008, the main feature being that I had finally taken the book and gone through a length editing process. I have never advertised the book, but Secret History spread quite quickly through word of mouth, and developed a bit of a reputation online. I think people were generally amazed not just that something like this was published but that it was being given away for free. The third online edition in May of 2008 in particular made big waves on the internet, appearing in places like Slashdot and even a blog for the L.A. Times if I remember correctly. Eventually a publisher got in touch with me and convinced me to get a (heavily revised) version of the book in print. The published version has been available since late November, 2008, from Legacy Books Press (who, completely coincidentally, are based out Kingston, Ontario, just a couple hours drive from where I am). The self-published e-book has since been retired; it was downloaded close to 100, 000 times and I hope all who read it enjoyed it in the year and a half it was available. While I kind of miss the ideal of handing the book out for free, I also think, in the ideal to reach as many people as possible, that an actual printed version will reach a much wider audience and have a much bigger impact (and its much more enjoyable to read as hard-copy).

So, who are you anyway?

A Star Wars fan who happens to hold film history of high importance, I suppose. I don't work as a professional writer by trade; my real job is as a cameraman in the film and television industry, although now I am University student.

Web site and all contents Copyright Michael Kaminski 2007, All rights reserved.
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