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Empire of Dreams: The Story of the 'Star Wars' Trilogy (2004)

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An in-depth making of documentary about the original Star Wars trilogy, covering the productions of the three films and their impact on popular culture.


Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself - Journalist
Himself - Filmmaker
Himself - Filmmaker
Himself - Director
Himself - Producer (as Howard Kazanjian)
Gary Kurtz ...
Himself - Producer
Leo Braudy ...
Himself - Professor and Cultural Historian, University of Southern California
Himself - Journalist (archive footage)
Herself - 'Princess Leia Organa'
Gareth Wigan ...
Himself - Former Production Executive, 20th Century Fox
Alan Ladd Jr. ...
Himself - Former Studio Chief, 20th Century Fox
Ralph McQuarrie ...
Himself - Conceptual Artist
Himself - Cameraman, Miniature and Optical Effects
Steve Gawley ...
Himself - Model Maker


This documentary chronicles the making of the original Star Wars trilogy from start to finish. We get some background on George Lucas' start in the business and then continue with the making of Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). The visual/special effects and financial problems are explained as well as casting, editing, scoring and releasing the films with tons of archival footage and interviews with plenty of cast & crew members. Written by Rhyl Donnelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

20 September 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Império dos Sonhos: A História da Trilogia Star Wars  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


This feature-length documentary is featured on the 4-Disc Star Wars Trilogy DVD set, released in September of 2004. See more »


During a segment on merchandising for the original Star Wars, pictures of Princess Leia dolls wearing 'space fashions' are shown. However, this clothing line never made it into production. See more »


Paul Hirsch - Film Editor: I wound up winning an Academy Award for "Star Wars" before I'd even started thinking about winning Academy Awards.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Bloopers, outtakes and deleted scenes shown during the end credits: George Lucas and Richard Marquand clowning around inside the AT ST cockpit. Rough black and white footage of the Death Star Trench. Luke's medical face mask being removed by 21B. Han kissing his girlfriend (Jenny Cresswell) in the Mos Eisley cantina. Early bluescreen tests in the Millenium Falcon cockpit. Behind the scenes footage of Solo firing at Vader in the Bespin dining room (also used on the blooper reel). Kenny Baker inside R2D2 in Tunisia. Mark Hamill falling over in the Finse snow wearing a blue ESB parka over his orange flight suit. Hamill and Carrie Fisher relaxing on Jabba's tummy. Lucas and daughter Amanda on the sail barge. Jack Purvis and Mike Edmonds enjoying a cigar on a break in their Ewok costumes. R2D2 picking up a squirrel with a mechanical arm. More shots on location in Tunisia. A stormtrooper costume and R2 Unit under construction at ILM. Closeup of a Jawa's glowing eyes. Ewok mask under construction. Lucas on the sail barge. Fisher and her stunt double sunbathing on the barge set. Alec Guinness' birthday party in Tunisia. X-wings and a Taun Taun on location in Finse. A model Snowspeeder being blown up. See more »


References The Other Side of Midnight (1977) See more »


Throne Room
Composed by John Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Good documentary hampered by self-promotional nature
25 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary about the making-of the Star Wars trilogy makes one realize how much of a miracle it was that the original film was made at all. A myriad of problems beset George Lucas and his collaborators during production and few predicted the film would be as big as it became.

Empire of Dreams (2004) is a generally good documentary. It goes in-depth with the production of the first film especially. The best asset is the plethora of archive footage, which is wonderful to see.

I'm not sure if this is the definitive behind-the-scenes SW. The majority of Empire of Dreams (2004) focuses its attention on Star Wars (1977) and lavishes a good deal of attention on The Empire Strikes Back (1980), virtually ignoring Return of the Jedi (1983). You're probably better off with JW Rinzler's Star Wars books, which give each film in the trilogy equal attention and go into an almost day-by-day record of the productions.

Empire of Dreams is also quite uncritical and there are several moments when as much extreme praise is showered upon George Lucas as possible, bordering on nauseating. Marcia Lucas, whose contributions to the film were important, is quickly glossed over. She and David Prowse (the physical performance of Darth Vader) were not interviewed due to having rather rocky relationships with George. There's also a plug for those wretched special editions, with their intrusive CG additions and narrative tampering.

Is this necessary viewing? Not really, but Star Wars fans will enjoy the behind-the-scenes footage.

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