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

Video  |   |  Documentary, History  |  12 September 2004 (USA)
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Reviews: 11 user | 6 critic

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.


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

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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
Himself - Journalist
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:

12 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El imperio de los sueños. La historia de Star Wars  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

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 »


James Earl Jones: George had hired David Prowse, but he said he wanted a so-called "darker" voice. Not in terms of ethnic but in terms of timbre. And the rumor is that he thought of Orson Welles. But he probably thought that Orson might be too recognizable, so what he ends up doing is picking a voice that was born in Mississippi, raised in Michigan, and was a stutterer. And that happened to be my voice.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits there is a final outake of General Dodonna (Alex McCrindle) saying "and may the force go with you". See more »


References Death Wish (1974) 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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