The Making of Star Wars As Told by C‑3PO & R2-D2: The First-Ever Documentary on the Film (1977)

The Earth, it seems, has only one tru­ly unlim­it­ed resource: enthu­si­asm for Star Wars. Not even The Phan­tom Men­ace, the deri­sion mag­net that opened the film series’ new­er tril­o­gy, made a seri­ous dent in our reserves. But did every­one who got togeth­er in the 1970s to make the very first Star Wars movie, from George Lucas on down the chain of com­mand, under­stand how deep a vein of fan­dom they had drilled into? The Mak­ing of Star Wars, a 1977 doc­u­men­tary on that beloved space opera-turned-cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­non, will give you some idea.

Now that Star Wars has gen­er­at­ed such a uni­verse, if you like, of sup­ple­men­tary con­tent, one more 50-minute behind-the-scenes spe­cial might strike you as no great shakes. But when The Mak­ing of Star Wars appeared in ’77, it appeared as the first doc­u­men­tary about Star Wars ever. And it has much high­er ambi­tions than the aver­age pro­mo­tion­al short of the day, fea­tur­ing not only cast and crew inter­views but seg­ments on the (decid­ed­ly pre-CGI) effects tech­nol­o­gy employed in the pro­duc­tion.

Even the most ded­i­cat­ed Star Wars buffs will still find mate­r­i­al of inter­est here, includ­ing footage that nev­er made it into the picture’s the­atri­cal cut, and footage rein­tro­duced into 1997’s revamped “Spe­cial Edi­tion” of the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy but altered with CGI (anoth­er drain on sev­er­al generation’s Star Wars love). But many of us will watch The Mak­ing of Star Wars on one of its strengths alone: C‑3PO and R2-D2 host the whole thing. Could even those pre­ci­sion-engi­neered droids have fore­seen the thun­der­ous recep­tion that has met this year’s brand new teasers for Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens?

The Mak­ing of Star Wars is a can­di­date for our list of Free Online Doc­u­men­taries, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion, 285 Free Doc­u­men­taries Online.

via Men­tal Floss

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Star Wars Bor­rowed From Aki­ra Kurosawa’s Great Samu­rai Films

Watch the Very First Trail­ers for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi (1976–83)

Joseph Camp­bell and Bill Moy­ers Break Down Star Wars as an Epic, Uni­ver­sal Myth

Hun­dreds of Fans Col­lec­tive­ly Remade Star Wars; Now They Remake The Empire Strikes Back

Fans Recon­struct Authen­tic Ver­sion of Star Wars, As It Was Shown in The­aters in 1977

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­maFol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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