As much fun as it is for cinephiles to watch their favorite films again and again, it can be even more interesting to take a peek behind the curtain and hear stories about how the movie was made. This is why bonus features on Blu-rays (particularly director commentaries) are popular with fans. It’s always a treat to see the filmmaking process in action, especially when it’s a big-budget, visual effects driven work. In essence, a blockbuster like Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the ideal project for a full-blown examination.
Author J.W. Rinzler (who wrote books on the making of each installment in the original trilogy) had actually penned an extensive The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens title, which was supposed to hit shelves in March 2016. However, it has yet to be made available, and if comments by Rinzler are anything to go by, the book’s impending release has been cancelled altogether.
/Film did some digging on the matter and came across a tweet from Rinzler’s account, where he’s asked about Amazon scrapping pre-orders for customers:
@Timtooine Yes, am asked this often, but book was canceled. You'll have to ask Lucasfilm/Disney/publisher why...— J. W. Rinzler (@jwrinzler) August 4, 2016
While on the GeekDad podcast, Rinzler had this to say, stating that he’s unsure why his latest text has been pushed back (or canned):
“There’s a lot of new information. They really didn’t release a lot of information. I don’t know what form the book is going to come out, and frankly, I don’t know if it’s coming out in October. Nobody has said that to me, and someone else has said it might be, and I checked with the publisher, and they said it’s news to them. So it might just be Amazon… Again, I don’t work there anymore, so I’m not privy to information, but I think they would have let me know. … It’s a compelling book, and you’d have to ask them why it’s been delayed.”
Those who have read the writer’s books on Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi know that they are very comprehensive and weren’t just fluff PR pieces. Because of this, there was tremendous interest in Rinzler’s chronicles of the Episode VII production, particularly since the supplemental content on the Blu-ray didn’t offer much (the hour long documentary doesn’t even mention Harrison Ford’s leg injury). An obvious reason for Lucasfilm holding The Making of The Force Awakens back is that Rinzler’s interview subjects revealed some information the studio doesn’t want shared publicly – either about upcoming films or personal tidbits about the actors and/or filmmakers. Should the book ever come out, it’ll be fascinating to see what is said.
Prior to Episode VII‘s premiere, George Lucas made headlines by saying Disney discarded his story ideas after the Mouse House acquired Lucasfilm, but few details about Lucas’ treatments have come out in the months since. Rinzler has stated that his Making of the Force Awakens covers Lucas’ early concepts, and fans would “learn a lot more” if it ever saw the light of day. Given that the Creator spent about a year developing the next chapter of the Skywalker saga before selling his studio, his Episode VII is now one of the most interesting “what-if” scenarios in all of Hollywood. If only for the sake of comparing and contrasting, many people would enjoy reading what Lucas had in mind.
It would be a shame if Rinzler’s book is never released; he wrote 368 pages and certainly spent a lot of time working on it. According to the synopsis, The Making of The Force Awakens promised to be “the most comprehensive documentation of an in-progress production ever written.” Few (if any) movies could rival the level of hype and anticipation surrounding Episode VII, so hopefully one day millions of fans can get a copy and take in all the secrets about the film, shedding new light on one of the biggest box office hits of all-time.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.