Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures & Aliens

Back in 1977 when Star Wars first hit the big screen, no one could have anticipated the very special place the film would go on to have in the hearts of movie fans around the globe, or the longevity of the sprawling saga it would give rise to on screen and in print. Of course, we all loved Episode IV’s human heroes from the get-go, but the film’s more out-of-this-world elements – its aliens and creatures – also delighted and intrigued us. And those weird and wonderful creatures and aliens are the subject of a new book on the filmmaking phenomenon that is Star Wars.

Mark Salisbury’s The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures & Aliens (Abrams Books) features every live-action film in the franchise so far, kicking off with the original trilogy, moving through the prequels, and bringing things right up-to-date with the new trilogy and the anthology films. With everything from A New Hope to Solo: A Star Wars Story covered, the book certainly isn’t short on fascinating facts about the creation of some of sci-fi’s most iconic cinematic characters including Chewbacca, Yoda, and Jabba the Hutt, and doesn’t skimp on more recently-introduced favourites such as Maz Kanata and the Porgs either.

Concept artists, creature supervisors, make-up artists, and sound designers who worked on the long-cherished movies let us into the secrets behind their amazing work, giving us insight into the thoughts and techniques that went into bringing a whole host of crazy characters to big-screen life. And there are also oodles of sketches, concept art, and photos which means we actually get to see how different aliens and creatures were put together, whether that was via physical make-up, costumes and puppetry, digital wizardry or a mixture of the two.

Another particularly fun aspect of this book is the many fold-out features included among its 144 pages. For example, there are lovely little booklets of Ralph McQuarrie’s concept sketches for Jabba the Hutt, of Joe Johnston’s concept sketches for Yoda, and of both artists’ sketches for the Ewoks. And if you want to see how the tauntaun went from a lizard to a two-legged furry creature or the rancor’s many changing faces during the designing of the movies, there are accordion-style fold-out features on that too!

Final Words: Salisbury’s The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures & Aliens is a boon to fans who love to delve into the cinematic secrets and tricks of the trade behind their favourite films.

Rating: 4 / 5