36 years and seven films since the original Star Wars, it’s still difficult to explain exactly why a relatively low-budget, under-hyped sci-fi film give birth to one of the most adored and profitable franchises in the history of popular entertainment.
But one important factor was – and remains – a fastidious attention to detail. George Lucas may not have had A-lister actors or a billion dollar CGI budget – they would come later – but he did have the kind of obsessive imagination you need to create a fully-realised world.
Like Tolkien before him, he envisioned an alternative reality full of detail that didn’t care whether you knew about them or not, histories and languages and technology that were conceived in full but kept hidden as rewards for truly devotees.
Star Wars: The Blueprints, a new book out this month, is the latest reward for those fanatics, proof once again how minutely imagined the planets, space crafts and weaponry used by Han Solo and the rest really were.
It’s a collection of over 250 expertly drawn, intricately detailed designs for everything from the Millennium Falcon to Jabba the Hutt’s throne room to the bleeping dustbin they called R2-D2.
For anyone who loves the films, it’s an unashamedly geeky delight, a chance to pour over familiar characters and scenes from the point of view of the artists and designers who worked on them behind the scenes.
For anyone who has ever wondered what all the fuss is about, it’s an insight into one of the many reasons why Star Wars has endured where countless sci-fi films since have came and gone.