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Review: Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy

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Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy

Written by: Brandon Alinger
Photos by: Joseph McDonald

Brandon Alinger’s Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy is about more than just what costumes were worn in the original Star Wars movies.  Included are stories about the making of the film, the design process, the art direction, the people who worked on the film and the history behind these iconic costumes.  These are the untold stories of the original trilogy.

It’s hard to discuss this book without first acknowledging J.W. Rinzler’s Making of books and Trisha Biggar’s Dressing a Galaxy, which focused on the costumes of the prequel trilogy.  Alinger’s book compliments and adds to the knowledge of those books.

The book opens with forewords by John Mollo, costume designer for A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, Aggie Rodgers and Nilo Rodis-Jamero, co-credited costume designers for Return of the Jedi.  Each one tells an interesting story of how they first met George Lucas and became part of the crew building the galaxy far, far away.  It’s interesting to read their stories of Lucas’ vision for the movies, and how his vision changed over time, especially during the production of A New Hope.  Each one of them played a crucial role in refining his vision and making it a reality.

The book is broken up into three sections, one for each film.  The costumes are presented in an approximation of when the costumes and characters first appeared on screen.  The costumes are detailed with a full page photograph of the costume modeled on a mannequin, and a written description going into the design process, construction, behind the scenes anecdotes, and how the character’s costume evolved over the course of the trilogy.

As a costumer myself, I was immediately studying the photographs for details and spent the better part of an evening just going through the book page by page looking at the gorgeous layouts for each costume.

Nearly every costume that had any kind of significant screen time is presented here, from the major heroes like Han, Luke and Leia to the various costumes of the Empire to the denizens of Jabba’s Palace.  Special gatefolds give more detail on Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Princess Leia’s slave outfit.  It’s interesting that there is almost no mention of the Special Edition or any of the later changes to the films.  The book’s focus is primarily on the original production for the films from 1975-1983.

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Between the costumes there are spotlights on particular crew members.  This sheds even more light on the behind the scenes production and crew, showcasing those members who normally are just another name in a long list of credits.  It’s nice to see those individuals get the recognition for their contributions.

The book is a large coffee table sized book with a heavy paper weight that works well with the large photographs.  The photos are all well shot on a neutral background with good lighting for seeing all the details.  Along with the new photographs are publicity stills and production photos to show them as they were on set.  I did have two pages stick together, but it was minor and did not appear to be a printing error.

This book is a must buy for anyone interested in Star Wars costuming, as well as those interested in the making of the saga.  As a 501st member and costumer I’ve studied many of the costumes of the Star Wars saga in detail, I found new details here and learned new things about the history behind the costumes.

Rebels Review: Rise of the Old Masters

Rise of the Old Masters is a promising new addition to the future of Star Wars

Mitchell Stein: Following a rather disappointing episode (to me), Star Wars Rebels really scored a home run with this weeks installment Rise of the Old Masters. What I viewed this Monday night is the episode all Star Wars fans were waiting for. Finally, the episode that defined the entire series has arrived.

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Before & After the Special Editions: Han and Greedo (Part 1)

Before & After the Special Editions:
Han and Greedo (Part 1)
Stuart Tullis

Change is a part of life.  It’s a part of growing up.  Seasons change.  Feelings change.  Even friends change as we move from school to school, job to job, town to town, or even simply through the natural progression of events.  But until the end of the last century, there were some things we took for granted would never change.  Then came the Star Wars Special Editions, and even our presuppositions changed.

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In truth, Star Wars has been changing since the first releases of the original film in 1977.  There were different audio mixes with various voices in familiar roles even then.  Most fans are aware that “Episode IV” and “A New Hope” were not in the opening scroll of the original cut; these were added in a later release.  These changes, however, are usually overlooked (quite possibly because the earliest copies available on home video already included these early alterations).

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Rebels Review: Fight or Flight or Fighter….

Mitchell Stein: Last week I discussed Ezra and Zeb’s complex friendship, which I speculated would lead to some very interesting story arcs. This week, we return to focus again once more on Ezra and Zeb, but not quite in as entertaining a way this time.

As it being just the third episode of this brand-new series, Fighter Flight was pretty dull for me, especially in comparison to Spark of Rebellion and Droids in Distress. There’s not much more character development, which this show so urgently needs, and the story itself was rather dull.

We’re brought into the marketplace where we are introduced to a character named Morad Sumar, who seems to have a connection with Ezra from his past. When Morad is captured, Ezra and Zeb set off to save him, thwarting the Imperial troops once again, and knocking ‘em out with space pineapples. Really.

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Join the Rebellion with Her Universe’s New Star Wars Rebels Designs

If you’re a fangirl desperately looking for a Star Wars Rebels shirt to express your love and support for the new animated series, then you’re in luck! Ashley Eckstein unveiled two new Star Wars Rebels tees for fangirls of all ages at Her Universe. She wore one of the shirts on the day of the Rebels premiere back on October 3, 2014, which caught the attention of the fangirl community. Ashley even gave us the heads up on September 21, when she informed fellow fangirls that the new shirts would be coming soon, with more coming at Star Wars Celebration.

From left to right:

Join Rebellion Tee (Adult / Youth): “We are big fans of Star Wars Rebels and we ready to Join The Rebellion! Join Ezra, Kanan, Hera, Sabine, Zeb and Chopper as they fight the Empire for justice and peace. This is a missy cut shirt and runs true to size.”

Graffit Rebel Long Sleeve Tee (Adult / Youth): “A Rebel marks the spot! Sabine’s tag symbol has quickly become our new favorite icon and we are obsessed with her graffiti art. Show that you are a Rebel with this super comfy long sleeve top. Runs true to size if you like it fitted. If you want it a bit loose, we recommend going up one size.”

More shirts will come soon, especially at Star Wars Celebration. Stay tuned!