Book Review: Star Wars FAQ By Mark Clark

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Book Review: Star Wars FAQ By Mark Clark

By Andy Swidenbank.

This unauthorised guide to the miscellany and minutiae of the creation of Star Wars makes for an interesting and amusing read.

Star Wars is the definition of a phenomenon. Arguably the most significant pop culture movement ever created, it has spawned am intimidatingly vast universe of stories and products. How then, is there room for yet anotherbook on the subject? Mark Clark’s book, Star Wars FAQ fits in to little niche that allows it to justify its existence, dealing with random facts and explanations about the production and universe created by the original movie trilogy. Did you know that Darth Vader body-actor David Prowse was so miffed that his strong West Country accent wasn’t being used to voice cinema’s most iconic villain that he started deliberately messing up his lines, changing words like ‘asteroids’ to ‘haemorrhoids? Or that George Lucas and The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan wrote multiple fake scenes to keep the cast and crew in the dark so that plot details wouldn’t leak? Well now you do.
Clark’s book is a treasure trove of little details, designed to be picked up and dipped in to on any page. As the author himself notes in the foreword, the book isn’t really an FAQ (it follows in a line of …FAQ books, of which he has written two on Star Wars’ perennial media rival, Star Trek). The chapters move on in chronological order from 1977’s A New Hope, taking in all facets of the Star Wars juggernaut including merchandise, production and spin offs.
It benefits the read that LucasFilm and Disney have no involvement here, as Clark digs in to some Star Wars history that the corporate monoliths would rather forget. A whole chapter dedicated to the ill advised ‘what-were-they-thinking-athon’ Star Wars Holiday Special is particularly entertaining, walking us through the slow-motion car crash variety show that Lucas has disowned entirely.
Clark is clearly a fan, punctuating the prose with personal experiences and opinions, and he’s not afraid to offer some gentle criticism. The book is packed with intriguing tidbits and some interesting photos including a frankly startling image of Margaret Thatcher standing next Darth Vader and two Stormtrooper sentries – we’ve always wondered what it would be like if one of the most evil figures in living memory met a Sith Lord.
You’d be forgiven for thinking there was nothing left to be written about the most remarkable movie trilogy in film history, but Mark Clark’s tome is a worthy addition to the bookcase-creaking collection of Star Wars literature. Whether there’s anything left to write after this is another question. It’s not like there’s anything new coming out soon, is there?

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  • rosie1843 18th October 2015

    If this book mainly focuses on the 1977-83 movies, what is the point of buying it? I thought it would be about the entire STAR WARS saga so far.

    • battleroyalewithcheese 18th October 2015

      Maybe they’ll be Volume 2! x


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