Star Wars Costumes - The Original Trilogy
|The easiest way to start of this review is to say Star
Wars Costumes - The Original Trilogy is like prop porn - its the
book Star Wars helmets and costume fans have always wanted. It reads
like the 'Deep Throat' of Star Wars costuming, full of lavish and
Written by long-time StarWarsHelmets contributor
Brandon Alinger, its clearly written for the fans, by a fan;
taking us on an eight year journey through the design and then
production of the costumes right from Star Wars - A New Hope back
in 1975, right up to the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983.
Mercifully avoiding any mention of the Prequel Trilogy, it's
227 pages are solely devoted to OT costumes - so there's room for enough
photos and facts on just about every helmet, armour and costume from
those movies. Including the various iterations of Darth Vader,
Stormtroopers, Rebel Pilots and so on. Each character is covered in a
anally-retentive detail that real enthusiasts come to expect.
|As you would expect the book is packed with photos, taken from a
number of sources, the vast majority of which were not in the public
domain before. The quality of the photography is excellent - especially
those taken at the Lucasfilm archive, which make up a large percentage
of the overall number. A huge big up goes to Joe McDonald on that, the
photos really are wonderful.
However there's also a lot of written
detail, with interviews and diary notes taken from all
the key costuming talent involved in the films, including those at the very top of the Art
Department ladder like Oscar-winner John Mollo (ANH and ESB), Nilo Rodis-Jamero
(ESB and RotJ) and Aggie Rodgers (RotJ). Likewise with some great detail
from the archives of Ralph McQuarrie and Stuart Freeborn. Alinger's
clearly done his homework here as there's also a lot of supplemental
detail from (and on) the lesser-known, but still hugely influential
artisans including Liz Moore, Brian Muir, Ron Beck and Colin Wilson.
|The book is at pains to describe the costume design processes that went into
each iconic character. There are sections on costumers Bermans & Nathans
- who provided many of the ANH and ESB costumes (of the shelf as well as
made to measure), as well as call-out's on Greeblies and the "Plastic
Boys" - the team assembled to deliver on the hard costumes for RotJ.
We'd expect a lot of detail in a book like this and we're glad to say it
certainly delivers; there's some wonderful detail on the work done on
the Darth Vader costume, including the early design by Ralph McQuarrie
through its physical incarnation at the hands of John Mollo and
Brian Muir. Alinger interesting confirms that for ANH there was only one
Darth Vader costume (including
helmet), but two Chewbacca's!
|There are separate forwards from the original trilogy's costume
designers John Mollo, Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Aggie Rodgers - which
further underline the credibility of both the book and its author. Alinger
has clearly made huge efforts in researching the book and having come
from the 'fan' background himself, has engaged with the community
(including StarWarsHelmets.com) in order to ensure the book is as
detailed and accurate as possible. Bravo to him for that. Above and
below a couple of example illustrations from the book including the
original ANH Vader Costume above - and Luke's Stormtrooper armour torso
|Before delving into
the detail for each of the three OT films' costumes,
Alinger sets the scene with an interesting and informative overview of
each films costuming needs, right from Lucas' original Cowboys Vs Nazi's
conception in the early days of production in 1975. Following this we have the
all-important detail that does well to reveal interesting facts on each
of the individual costumes - and they are all pretty much covered here.
|Onto ESB and more interesting facts emerge, such as the small tailors
near Boreham Wood who were used for some of the costume manufacture -
trips to which had the added bonus of an excellent Greek Restaurant next
door, frequented by cast and crew. So if by chance you were in a Greek
Diner in 1979 and thought you were sitting across from Han Solo then you
were probably right!
It's interesting to also read that the public's
(and toy manufacturers) misconceptions over costume colours were not
just with the AT-AT (which was grey in reality but appeared white
on-screen and in toys). In a similar vein Han Solo's snow jacket was
actually a dark brown - yet on-film and action figure it was perceived
as dark blue.
summary, for the first time in hard-copy we have a thoroughly detailed
book on ALL OT costumes, one that is able to spend adequate time and
delve deeply into the subject. Written by someone who has a real
knowledge and interest in the area its able to, for example properly describe the intricate differences
between ANH, ESB and ROTJ Stormtroopers. Sure, you've been
reading about that kind of stuff here for years - but what we have here is
a sumptuous coffee table book that lays it all out in a crisp high-end
It really is fantastic. Buy it. In fact buy yourself a coffee
table so you can place this book on it when you have guests come to
visit. I absolutely 100% guarantee that no one will fail to pick it up.
Wars Costumes - The Original Trilogy" is written by Brandon Alinger and
published by Titan Books in the UK. It' will be available from Oct 28th
from all good book retailers and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon US
(UK coming soon I am sure) Many thanks to Chloe at Titan Books for
the advance copy and her help. We will hopefully be able to load up
additional photographs over the coming weeks.