‘The Star Wars Archives’ Is a Love Letter to the Special Editions and Prequel Trilogy

Coming soon to a galaxy near you… TASCHEN’s The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 is a spectacular glimpse behind the movie magic that went into the Special Edition versions of the Star Wars original trilogy. 

While some may take the Archives book and seek out tidbits of “unknown material,” the book's real beauty is learning about the evolution of George Lucas’ filmmaking process. Star Wars was such a pivotal piece of cinema history, but it was far from perfect in Lucas’ eye. It wasn’t until Jurassic Park, in 1993, that he felt like he could truly create the film he had once envisioned. 

“A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the Special Edition. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million VHS tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years.”

George Lucas

George Lucas was a forward thinker when it came to the film industry. He had larger-than-life plans for the Star Wars trilogy, but they were held back by the limitations of celluloid film and what could be done with practical effects in the 1970s and 80s. Reading through the Archives and being reminded of why Lucas founded Industrial Light & Magic makes it even sweeter to realize that many of Lucas's ideas when he was creating Star Wars have to come to fruition through ILM’s creation of The Volume for The Mandalorian

So much of what Lucas wanted to include in the first Star Wars trilogy was finally able to occur in the prequel trilogy. The Archives shares early renderings and sketches, plans for aliens, large-scale scenery, and even the deeper storytelling of the Whills and midi-chlorians, which were not included in Episodes IV-VI. While the prequel trilogy may be met with divided opinions throughout the Star Wars fandom, it is quite clear that it is something that Lucas was proud of. 

Look Inside The Star Wars Archives

Another merit to The Star Wars Archives is reading through George Lucas’ own words. At some points, he offers sage wisdom that seems to reflect much of the morals and messages that are infused throughout Star Wars. It is easy for people online, whether it’s YouTube, Twitter, or a blog, to make assumptions about Lucas’ ideologies, but you can’t argue with his own words. 

I learned a lot of lessons in those years! One is that the only true route to happiness is through caring about other people. If all you care about is yourself and about your things and your stuff, you will be unhappy the rest of your life no matter how much you accumulate.

George Lucas

Despite the $200 price ticket, The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 is a must-have for diehard Star Wars fans. While some of the information can be found in past George Lucas interviews, featurettes, and other books – the Archives feels like an artful ode to Lucas’ creative genius. This is far from a coffee table book; it is a little slice of Star Wars history that should be cherished. 

Like the first volume, which covered the original trilogy, The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 includes rare interviews with Lucas and his team, production documents, concept art and storyboards, on-set photography, promotional stills, posters, and illustrations. 

Pick up your copy of The Star Wars Archives. 1999-2005 today.

Maggie Lovitt is a writer at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery.

In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.