Death of Jonathan Rinzler, author of fabulous making of books on Star Wars

Rinzler had written the almost final stories of Star Wars, Alien or Indiana Jones. He also wrote a making of Episode 7 canceled by Disney and Lucasfilm.

We have just learned of the death of the writer Jonathan Rinzler, which occurred on July 28 at the age of 58. This name may not mean anything to you; but without it, many scholarly articles on Star Wars would no longer seem so scholarly. Rinzler has indeed written monumental books devoted to the making of Star Wars, among others. Hired in 2001 by Lucasfilm to write behind the creative scenes of Attack of the Clones, Rinzler will eventually publish in April 2007 his great work, The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, a pavement crammed with archives and documents retracing the history of Star Wars from 1977, showing unpublished archives taken out of George Lucas’ memory chests. Two volumes will follow obviously devoted to The Empire Strikes Back and at Return of the Jedi, as well-groomed and rich as the first. Without forgetting works like The Sounds of Star Wars (with a preface by Ben Burtt, obviously), the writing of two episodes of season 6 of the series Clone Wars (The Disappeared, distributed in two parts) or the direction of the cult (and now untraceable) Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts dedicated to the famous video game studio.

Rinzler did not limit himself to Star wars : he also signed, in the same format as his making of the George Lucas trilogy, books on The Planet of the Apes, Alien, the 8th passenger and Aliens, and obviously Indiana Jones. He leaves a regret behind him: his book making of on The force awakens, which has never been published. Announced for October 2016, two months before the release of Episode 7, it was canceled a bit abruptly by Lucasfilm and Disney in the summer of the same year. Instead, we got visual concept art compendiums on every Disney Star Wars movie. Beautiful books, certainly, but which do not tell the story of this distant galaxy, so distant, with as much verve, precision and objectivity. But things had changed for good at Star Wars. Rinzler left the company at the end of 2015, when the book is nearing completion. “I think the new management of Disney and Lucasfilm is not at all interested in rigorous books that are not fiction”, he said in january 2019. In fact, “There was no way this book would ever get published … As I started writing I knew it was going to be canceled. There was a lot of public stuff that Disney and Kathleen Kennedy didn’t want to rehash, I believe.”. Little chance that his ghost book will find its way back to our reality. In the meantime, his other books exist, and they are fascinating.

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