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“The Star Wars II Archives”: 1999-2005, the origins of Darth Vader by George Lucas in a beautiful XXL book

When George Lucas released Star Wars in 1977, he already had in mind three trilogies that would tell what happened before and then after. Lucas left to other filmmakers the realization of two episodes of the first trilogy, then completely completed the one that gives the origins of Darth Vader, the prequel. Similarly to Star Wars Archives I (1977-83), the II is the most complete wonderfully illustrated testimony on the best part of the saga Star Wars.

Produced in close collaboration with George Lucas and Lucasfilm, the book covers the Episode I The Phantom Menace, Episode II Attack of the Clones and Episode III Revenge of the Sith. XXL format of some 6.9 kg, this sum brings together interviews with George Lucas and his collaborators on the realization of the most famous and profitable franchise of cinema. Badly received by fans when it was released from 1999 to 2005, taxed as special effect films, hollow, bloated with digital effects, the “prelogy” turns out to be the best of the three produced to date.

Double page extracted from "Star Wars II Archives" by Paul Duncan.  (TASCHEN EDITIONS)

George Lucas managed to film in 1999 the vision he had in 1977, thanks to the budget he had and the evolution of digital special effects. Image is vital to Star Wars and Archives I and II, by the size of the photos, preparatory drawings, storyboards, testify to the incredible visual creativity of these films. For example, the aesthetic design of the ships on this first trilogy (in the timeline, Star Wars I, II and III therefore) is inspired by colorful science fiction illustrations from the 1930s, to evolve towards more abstract and white architectures. A way of being connected with the design of the second trilogy (the first in its realization, Star Wars IV, V and VI) dedicated to the epic Luke Skywalker.

Episodes I, II and III retrace the story of his father Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader. If Lucas mixed all the mythologies of the world in Star Wars, from Ulysses to Shakespeare, including King Arthur, Yi King, the western and the Third Reich, it is to create his own. Star wars can be seen as a twentieth century mythology that will undoubtedly endure for a long time. It updates ancient, western and eastern myths by referring to history. Its visual is essential, because it is full of symbols. Archives I and II expose (explode) all the sources in a spectacular work.

Double page extracted from "Star Wars II Archives" by Paul Duncan.  (TASCHEN EDITIONS)

The interviews reflect the epic tale of a complex six-year shoot, where new technologies serve the imaginations of artists and craftspeople who manipulate millions of dollars. But everything always starts with a pencil and a paper. From visual design, to special effects, from directing actors to music and sound: a mine for fans, but also the most comprehensive testimony to the process of creating a total universe.

Front cover of "Star Wars II Archives" by Paul Duncan.  (TASCHEN EDITIONS)

The Star Wars II Archives
Paul Ducan
Taschen editions
Hardcover, half-bound, 41.1 x 30 cm, 6.90 kg, 600 pages
150 euros

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