Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars

So much has been written about the Star Wars movies--is there anything people still don't know about them? The answer is yes, as revealed in Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman's engaging, nearly 600-page Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars.

Organized chronologically, the behind-the-scenes anecdotes take readers from the development of 1977's Star Wars (since retitled Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope) through 2019's Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, also covering the franchise's standalone movies, such as Rogue One, and TV projects.

The stories come from interviews--both new and archived--with creator George Lucas, the actors and key creative minds behind the movies. It's unclear which excerpts are fresh or old (besides those from people now deceased), but Gross and Altman do state that all of Lucas's quotes are from previously published materials; Lucas didn't make himself available for this book. Regardless, there's enough material here for even diehard fans to learn something new. Such as Episode IV having roots in the Vietnam War because Lucas wanted to direct Apocalypse Now but the job went to Francis Ford Coppola. Peter Cushing, who played the evil Grand Moff Tarkin, was a lovely man who smelled of lavender, making it difficult for Carrie Fisher to pretend to hate him on camera. And Episode IX would have been much more philosophical had original writer/director Colin Trevorrow's version made it to the screen instead of J.J. Abrams's. Even if fans already know everything, Secrets of the Force will likely inspire them to rewatch the films and revisit the magic. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

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