The Book





News Archive

02/07/09: Couple of updates today. First on the agenda—a really cool new feature at starwars.com called “ Star Wars Buzz.” The official site has gone down the tubes ever since that infamous Clone War film came out but here they redeem themselves a bit. This feature takes a look at every printed reference to Star Wars before its 1977 release, and some of the major coverage during its first few months in theaters. Click for part one of three , which begins way back in 1974. Secondly— two new articles. As we head in to 2009, it’s strange to realize that it’s been a decade since Episode I came out; what a different time it seemed back then. This article takes a look at the critical reaction to Episode I to settle the question of just how the film was rated by reviewers during May of 1999. Also available is a look at the prequel'sdevelopment of Anakin's birth .

01/17/09: Hope all have been enjoying the new year; 2008 was very good to me, I have to say, and I hope it was to everyone else. Secret History of Star Wars has been in print for about two months now, and it's selling better than I had hoped, so I thank everyone that bought a copy. I've never had an advertising campaign for my work, so thanks to all who spread the word. Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, judging from all those 5-star reviews on amazon.com. In case people are wondering, and some of you aparently are, YES I will continue to write articles for the website; in fact I have a couple on the back-burner that I've been working on for a while. Just because the book is out doesn't mean I won't still be taking a look into Star Wars' past. Meanwhile, someone pointed this out to me the other day-- Star Wars told by someone who has never seen the films . Its pretty amusing! Check back here soon for an article or two. I'd like to do some re-design on the site but lack of time and skills is making that a slow and painful process.

11/30/08: I'm pleased to announce that Secret History of Star Wars is now officially released! You can order it online fromAmazon orBarnes & Noble. This site will be undergoing some revision in the next few weeks.

11/07/08: It's been a while since I last updated this place. The book is currently is in its final stages, being readied for printing. With any luck, it'll be available by next month. Check back in a few weeks. For those curious, here is a preview of the cover , though the design is not finalised.

09/15/08: Those looking at the "book" page will now see that the PDF of The Secret History of Star Wars is down. The book is currently in the process of revision for its release in print by Legacy Books Press, and I felt that the self-published version available in the past doesn't quite represent the quality of work that I feel the book ought to have; I'm not sure what will be going in its place--sample chapters maybe? Right now, it's sort of in limbo. I hope the approximately 100, 000 people that downloaded the original self-published e-book over the last 18 months have enjoyed reading it, and I'm sure they will enjoy the printed version even more when its available in a couple months. I'd like to reiterate here, as I did in my last update, that this site is not going anywhere just because the book is now officially 'done.' The articles section has always been an informative and sometimes entertaining supplement, and I'll continue to do original research there. Today, in fact, I have that article that I promised last month--this one on the subject of Jabba the Hutt's role in the original film. Read on to Jabba the Hutt: "Wonderful Human Being."

08/10/08: I said the next update would be a bit more optimistic didn't I? Well, thought you might like to know that The Secret History of Star Wars will soon be available in print. It is being published by Legacy Books Press, with a tentative release date for early December. More details will be available when the date gets closer. I'm probably going to be taking down the current e-book in September or October; and for those wondering, yes, the printed version will be noteably different, and hopefully much better, than the e-version I've been publishing on my own. And it'll make for a much easier read when its actually in your hands and not on a screen! Also for those wondering--not much else will be changing on this site; I will continue doing original research when I can. I'm hoping to have another article up in a couple weeks.

07/15/08: FYI, the popular Nature of the Beast has been updated. I've been doing little revisions to it for a while now, as it is in my opinion a very significant, if critical, article of this site, and one that has been among the most popular; I've always felt and hoped that it would not be seen as merely some kind of justification of bashing but as a genuinely insightful essay of research that may shed light on some of the criticisms some of the films recieve. As long as I'm in a critical mode here, I might as well link you to another, perhaps more personal but equally important, article that I wrote for Obsessed with Film about the suppression of the original Star Wars trilogy. I promise next update will have more optimistic viewpoints of the series :p

07/06/08: Well, you probably figured out that mobile-reader version never happened. It's in limbo right now, for reasons I'll explain later. Instead, enjoy an article looking at the way copyright changed hands in the late 1990's that enabled the original version of the Star Wars trilogy to be suppressed.

06/12/08: The mobile-reader version is still on its way, even though I said it would be here last week, just in case anyone is wondering. Look for it tommorrow or the day after.

05/25/08: Well, a thirty-first anniversary doesn't sound as impressive as a thirtieth anniversary, but today is Star Wars Day and our beloved little film is another year older. To celebrate the occassion, I've unpredictably taken the route of nostalgia with an article today--a collection of memories from fans who were there in 1977. Would make for good learnin' for anyone under the age of thirty.

05/22/08: Just to let everyone know, I am doing a version of the book formated for mobile readers like Amazon Kindle and the Sony e-Reader. It should be up soon; I'm just going over the book and cleaning up a few things and it'll be available probably next week. Also, after seeing Indy IV at the midnight showing last night, I have to say I enjoyed my two hours. It's easily the worst of the four, as expected, and it's also way too far-fetched at times, with a final 1/3 that sort of falls flat, but its a fun adventure with some terrific characters and it entertains. Its not a great movie, but it ain't bad.

05/19/08: Anyone looking forward to new Indiana Jones? I know I am. I was apprehensive at first, but I have to say I'm really excited for another fun adventure with good ol Henry Jones Jr. I guess we'll see how things go, but with Spielberg at the helm I'm convinced that it would take a pretty good alignment of the planets to totally ruin this. In the meantime--I've updated the book page with the brand spanking new THIRD EDITION of Secret History. Yes, the third edition. And the last. While the second edition expanded my research, better organized things and finally put it all together in a more proper book form, I'm not totally oblivious to the fact that it was, how shall we say, in need of an editor. I've gone through and done a massive re-edit, to clean things up, better organize data, eliminate a lot of the redundancies and just make the book read a lot smoother. I've also incorporated a bevy of new facts which makes this the most complete overview of the writing of Star Wars yet. I would recommend a re-download of this edition to replace the old edition if it's sitting on your hard-drive. And I have to say, though I'm sure this version is not 100% perfect--and it never will be--I'm really proud, as it really has come together now. I hope to finally say goodbye to it. Of course, I won't be--this site will continue to have articles, as it has been (in fact, there will be another one in a few days), and this edition is currently missing one thing: an index. I'll begin working on that sometime in the future, but it won't affect the page count or content or anything, it'll just be added on to the end so if anyone wants to print it they can just print those specific pages, but it's not all that necessary anyway. Regardless, I hope future readers enjoy the new and improvedSecret History of Star Wars --and I hope everyone here enjoys Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this week.

05/07/08: Though this is all to be found withinThe Secret History of Star Wars, an article posted today more clearly lays out how Anakin's actual turn to the darkside developed and transformed throughout the series, notably in the latter stages of post-production of Revenge of the Sith. Read on to The Turn: A History of the Evolution of Anakin's Downfall .

04/29/08: The follow-up article I had planned never materialised due to research-related delays. For now though, it might be of interest that I've discovered the National Film Board of Canada actually hosts a copy of Arthur Lipsett's 21-87. The film was a major influence on George Lucas and changed the way he thought about cinema; you can see an enormous influence on his first short, Look at Life, as well as both incarnations of THX 1138. 21-87 is a sort of experiment in form, stimulating audience response through abstraction and juxtaposition; this type of experimentation was common at the time (a few years later, The Beatles would famously do a musical equivalent in their Revolution 9, showing how this "collage" type of art had found its way mainstream), but somehow Lipsett's piece works at a gut level lost in many of the similar short pieces floating the alt cinema scene of the time.

03/25/08: A special treat for today. In an article just posted I'll take you back in time to 1979 behind closed doors to the set ofEmpire Strikes Back for an inside look at how one of the movie's defining scenes came to be. You'll witness director Irvin Kershner creating the film in real time. Do not miss it. Read on toThe Magic of Empire: A Visit to the Set of Empire Strikes Back . Look for a script-oriented companion piece this weekend!

03/24/08 : For those interested in a look at an earlier version of Attack of the Clones , I've looked at the shooting script in this piece to shed some light on some of the issues apparent in the film. Check back in a few days for some very interesting Empire Strikes Back -related material. Meanwhile, I stumbled across this comic the other day, Darths and Droids, and I just couldn't stop reading. It takes a few pages to get going, but even if you don't know much about role-playing or Dungeons and Dragons its still pretty hilarious.

02/18/08 : You know that saying about how a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world causes a hurricane on the other side? Thats sort of the philosophy I took when I looked at where the earliest roots of Star Wars came from. My discovery takes us back in time across the entire globe and almost a thousand years ago. Seriously. Thats where the chain reaction that led to Star Wars began. Read on to todays article. Deep Ancestry: How a Man in 12th Century Japan Created Star Wars .

01/28/08 : As promised, got not one but two new articles up tonight. First, entertainments sake-- Beardless George Lucas. Click and be amazed at the wonders of seeing George Lucas' bare chin. On a more serious note, the second article is of high importance--a partial copy of George Lucas' 1977 ESB story treatment . Thanks to Get_in_Gear for the ESB scans.

01/27/08: Hope the new year's been good to everyone that visits this place. Hard-drive issues have kept me offline for most of December so if it seemed like I've been MIA don't fret.  The second edition of Secret History of Star Wars has been getting quite a bit of attention online, I'm proud to say, so thanks to all of you that have been recommending it--this site has always operated without any kind of advertisement campaign, so the book has thrived and spread solely on the word-of-mouth of those that have read it. Keep it up! Also, I posted this last month, but its a very interesting discovery I made as to the origins of "Father Skywalker" and how the father character (Kane Starkiller, initially) came to exist in the 1974 rough draft. Read on to The Birth of Father Skywalker if you haven't already. There will be some more articles in the coming days so check back soon. In the meantime, Star Wars Afficionada Magazine is just starting up, an online zine devoted to the films.

12/02/07 : Well, it's finally out--THE SECOND EDITION of The Secret History of Star Wars. Anyone who had downloaded the previous version would best be served by replacing it with this, if only because it is so much easier to read and reference information. I would also recommend that this would be a good opportunity to give the book a second read--those who have downloaded the book since July or August might not benefit as much as the updates from that revision are only a few dozen pages worth or so, but anyone who read the book in its first six months of release since March will find it is very different, with a ton of information that wasn't present in that original version. What's new to this version? Find out here . The new edition has a new font face as well and runs a mammoth 584 pages, which is over 150 pages longer than that first edition. There are brand new and expanded appendices, many corrections, edits to make the book flow smoother and read easier, and many expansions and elaborations. There is also a complete index, which includes popular topics and aspects--which means looking up information is now very easy. Thanks to all the contributors who offered suggestions and ways to improve the book! And thanks to all of those with words of encouragement--I have been re-working the originally released version for some 9 months now and it was hearing how impactful and meaningful readers found the book that gave me the encouragement to carry on.

11/26/07: Aren't hard-drive crashes fun? Thats what I found out all of last week. Only today have I finally recovered and reinstalled my entire system. If all goes well there should be a big juicy update in a day or two so check back. In other news, Lucasfilm has released The Vault, a book/multimedia collection of vintage collectibles, archival material, rare behind the scenes info and photos, and selections from the Lucasfilm Archives--such as a partial copy of Lucas' 1977 ESB treatment. Looks enticing but the hefty pricetag has so far scared me away. Anyone whose gotten this let me know what lurks inside it.

11/10/07: Well, the past months have been incredibly busy. I have been working straight since July, and on weekends as well, leaving me little time for...well, anything really. From a movie-of-the-week to a TV series to finally a few weeks on the new Incredible Hulk feature film (looks awesome BTW--certainly better than Ang Lee's) The Secret History of Star Wars has been quite troublesome for me to find time for. My last week on the Incredible Hulk saw me log 130 pay hours--thats a lot for five days of work. You might be pleased to learn, however, that if all goes well, the second edition of the book might be online as early as late next week. More exciting for all you readers out there might be tonight's article, because the information within it has never been widely published before--a detailed examination of the revised rough draft of Episode I. Read about the film that never was--Obi Wan as an elderly Jedi knight who discovers Anakin, Jar Jar that speaks normally and a Darth Maul that talks back to his opponents; some interesting stuff. I might update this later with art work that was produced with this draft in mind but for now this is the more interesting material. Click on to The Beginning - A Look at the Rough Draft of Episode I . Enjoy!

10/22/07: For those wondering, yes, the second edition of the book is still coming, but obviously unexpected delays have come up. It is in the final stages now--for the last four weeks I have been working on the index section, which is particularly tedious and time-consuming, especially when one works 16 hour days on film sets for five days of the week. It should be posted soon, but there is still a week or two's worth of work to be done. New articles are in the works as well. For now, the Visual Development of Darth Vader has been given an update in an additional stormtrooper-like Vader design I came across, plus a reference to Lawrence of Arabia .

09/01/07: As a companion to piece to my last post, I thought I'd point you all to a site that allows you to view the original Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1941) serial in its entirety. The public domain episodes are available on Internet Archive--click here to view them. This was the third and final Flash Gordon series, and though arguably the worst of the trio still has much of the charm that made the original so thrilling. There are 12 episodes in all, running roughly 18 minutes each. While you are there be sure to check out some of the other serials, such as Phantom Empire.On an unrelated note, work on the second edition is coming along, though much slower due to other work than I would like. It will be available by the end of September but probably later in the month rather than sooner.

08/11/07: Just thought I'd use this update to point you all to some nifty information you might not be aware of. Throughout The Secret History of Star Wars I discuss a number of prime literary influences on the series, mostly the original film; as it turns out, some of them are in the public domain and are available for your reading pleasure. The top of the list is of course E.E. Smith's Lensmen books, which are nearly equal in influence to Hidden Fortress and Flash Gordon on the film--although Galactic Patrol is the one which started it all and is considered the greatest space opera novel ever written, also interesting is Triplanetary, a prequel of sorts, and which contains many inspirations for both Star Wars and its own prequels. These are available at Project Gutenberg, along with some of Smith's other works which are all worth reading. While you are there, be sure to check out Edgar Rice Burrough's, A Princess of Mars, the first in the "John Carter of Mars" books that inspired both Flash Gordon and Lucas; many of Burroughs' sequels, such as Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars are also available to read. Also of interest is The Golden Bough, the pre-curser to the work of Joseph Campbell. Elsewhere, manybooks.net has some additional books by Leigh Brackett and her husband Edmond Hamilton that may be of interest.

07/27/07: New article up, making explicit the original history of the Republic and the Empire which has become a bit obscured--The Republic Revolution .

07/03/07: For those wondering, I am working on a second edition of the book, but due to film-related work I haven't had nearly as much time to devote to it as I would have liked. I can't say when it will be due but most likely not until August. I'm working to provide some additional editing, expansion, clarifications and corrections, fixing some formatting issues, as well as adding at least one additional appendix; I'm also working on creating an index and subject list for those looking for a quick way to reference specific information in the book. Chapter II, "The Star Wars," is also being divided into two seperate chapters. For a good look back at the original film, Lard Biscuit's site has an article on how Star Wars ' status as a cinema classic has arguably been diminished by its expansion into a franchise.

06/19/07: New article up. More interesting for sheer novelty value, it nontheless is a surprising historic artifact--an examination of early Star Wars internet discussion...from 1983!

05/31/07: Small news item today with the second part of the examination of the Journal of the Whills. Back in March I posted what was known when the first substantial information was released in Star Wars Insider issue 92, with a promise that there would be an update once Jonathan Rinzler's book was out-- so here it is. Nothing new if you haven't read Rinzler's book or the latest revision ofThe Secret History of Star Wars but it should at the least make for a good source of reference.

05/26/07: I wanted to post this yesterday but since it has a somewhat negative slant to it I held off; somehow it just didn't feel right for a day meant for celebration. But anyway, a new article is now up-- Nature of the Beast. Its a pretty important one, I think, though no doubt it will consolidate my status as some stuck-up "basher" type fan. But regardless, it examines the writing of the scripts to the Star Wars series and what processes led to their creation--or more specifically, whyStar Warsand Empire had incredible scripts and why the rest did not (though that is not to say that the rest sucked). But its not just the same old prequel bashing--its an actual examination of the working and writing methods of George Lucas and how they changed in unison with the films. Whether you agree or not I think it would be educational to at least read it, as it is based on the research I did for my book.

05/25/07: Happy Star Wars day! Thirty years ago one of the most important and beloved films of all time was released. Not "Episode IV A New Hope", not the special edition, not anything part of a trilogy or six-episode saga and not anything related to any tragedy--"the Adventures of Luke Skywalker," and his heroic journey from dreamer to hero. It took the space action of Flash Gordon and combined it with the best parts ofLawrence of Arabia and Wizard of Oz and it enchanted audiences like no film before or since. It's hard to believe that it turns 30 today. Celebration IV is beginning this weekend and right about now there is a saga screening of all six films. Do yourself a favor and watch the original film in its original version, even if Lucasfilm won't screen it; there's a reason why we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of that film and not the tenth anniversary of the Special Edition. In other update news, new articles are on the way next week. Work has kept me so busy that the second edition of the book will probably be released sometime in late June.

04/29/07: As promised, my article on the new making-of book is now up: Thoughts on J.W. Rinzler's Making of Star Wars. Overall the book is candid, thorough, entertaining and meticulously accurate--however, there are a small handful of statements which support some revisionist history that you should be aware of. I examine these in the article. In spite of these few minor errors the book is a marvellous creation, possibly the best document relating to the production of the films to ever be released.

04/25/07: Everyone might want to check out a new archival site, simply calledThe Star Wars Archives. A treasure trove of rare images and more, it definitely lives up to its name. In other news, J.W. Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars has been released as of yesterday--my copy is on its way still, and I'll let you know my thoughts on any pertinent issues that are contained within it once i read it. The second edition of The Secret History of Star Wars is currently being worked on (in fact, I have been updating small revisions since the beginning of the month). It should be available within a few weeks if all goes well. Thanks to T-Bone for a nice review from hissite . New articles coming soon...

04/10/07: Big update today, with something i have been wanting to do for a long while now. A new article is posted, " The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa", showing just how far-reaching Kurosawa was on Lucas. Every fan should check it for a better understanding of the films. This might be considered a sort of preview for another book i started working on before i finished The Secret History of Star Wars ...

04/06/07: Small update with a brief piece looking at the controversial reaction to the book (check articles section)...

04/02/07: A fairly in-depth article is now up, The Visual Development of Darth Vader, showing how Vader was created and transformed through production artwork and costume analysis. The Links section has now been updated with a bunch of external articles that will be of interest to readers, including the entire August 1977 Rolling Stone Lucas interview that is not to be missed. I have also begun editing work on the second edition of the book, hopefully to be released by the end of the month.

03/20/07: Added first article--A Re-evaluation of the Journal of the Whills. Discusses the recent uncovering of a new Star Wars story that pre-dates the May 1973 synopsis. Check the Articles section.

03/18/07: Book released and website up. Some sections are still under construction. Check back often for future updates!

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

Free website templates