Review: The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005

The Star Wars Archives Episodes I-III 1999-2005

Author: Paul Duncan

Publisher: Taschen

Pages: 600

Release: November 8, 2020

Did Paul Duncan or publisher Taschen read my review of The Star Wars Archives 1977-1983 two years ago? I mean, my final sentence of that review was “(It is) Time for this kind of massive works that will take a good look at the Prequels. A nice task for Taschen?” And look! Exactly two years later my wish came true: the Prequel trilogy got the ‘Paul Duncan/Taschen treatment’.

Just like last time this hardcover book weighs 7.5 kilos, measures 33x7x48 centimeters and comes in a special cardboard case. It’s a massive, hard to store, eyecatcher in any book collection. But is it actually good? Yes. While the prequel series wasn’t as universally praised as the original trilogy these three movies have deserved a book treatment like this for years. And there’s a bonus since this volume also covers the 1997 special editions.

Featuring brand new interviews with George Lucas, Jon Knoll and several other crew members The Star Wars Archives takes us on a (mostly visual journey) through the prequel years. Starting in the 90’s when George Lucas decided it was time for another saga, until the 00’s when the Star Wars saga came to an end with Revenge of the Sith. One of the first chapters is about 1997’s special editions and is a real treat, especially since those are often overlooked when it comes to coffee table books like this. As for the interviews: just like last time the one author Paul Duncan had with George Lucas is the crown jewel. Without giving away any spoilers: Lucas shares his ideas about his sequel trilogy and trust me: it’s something you haven’t heard before.

Unlike the previous Archives book (which as said was about the first trilogy) this one doesn’t have to compete with an already existing series of stellar Making of books. Sure, there were some published to accompany every movie release, but those weren’t as extensive as JW Rinzler’s Making of trilogy of the original movies. Speaking of Rinzler’s books: don’t expect this one is (in terms of text) as extensive as those. Like its predecessor, Star Wars Archives is a collection of beautiful imagery accompanied by text and interviews. Although you may have seen some artwork or photos before, overall it looks fresh and new, especially the candid behind the scenes pics (I bet you’ve never seen Samuel L Jackson with his mofo smile and his lightsaber against Tem Morrison’s neck). If I had to had to say anything negative it’s that there’s concerning Episode II and III more art than behind the scenes photos, especially compared with the 1977-1983 book. I’m certain the reason is that unlike the original trilogy there was a lot of green screen involved and less location shoots.

Star Wars Archives 1999-2005 is a work of art. Beautifully made and filled with images to make every fan of George Lucas’ Star Wars happy. This book gets my highest recommendation.

Since last time my final sentence wish came true…. I’m going to give it a go and try again. Here were go: “It’s time for this kind of massive works that will take a good look at John Carpenter’s movies. A nice task for Taschen?”