Picks and Pans Review: Return of the Jedi Portfolio
by Ralph McQuarrie
MY JEDI JOURNAL
In the wake of what may very well turn out to be the most successful movie of all time, Return of the Jedi, the book business is out for a piece of the merchandising action, and Ballantine is offering three spin-offs. The sketchbook is described on its cover as “original drawings from the most exciting chapter in the greatest space fantasy of all time.” Six pages show how Jabba the Hutt at one point had a centipedelike body that was later discarded. The Gamorrean guards evolve from funny little three-toed creatures into helmet-ed monsters, frightful to behold. Then there are the giant monster Rancor, Jabba’s sailing barge, Ewoks (which in one incarnation had legs like a stork’s), speeder bikes, the death star, its throne room, and rebel spacecraft. This is the perfect book for the mechanically minded boy who likes to build models and study how creative ideas develop. The drawings themselves are slick and brisk ($5.95). McQuarrie’s portfolio, which comprises 20 6.5 x 14.5-inch color reproductions of key scenes from Return, offers careful, realistic illustrations, done in the style of the sci-fi paintings that appear on paperback covers. None of the characters is really recognizable, though, except for a distant Darth Vader, and the movie itself, with its hard-edged photography, is far better. Caption information explaining each scene is included ($9.95). My Jedi Journal says in small print that it is “a special diary for Jedi Knights-in-Training.” But except for the seven rules of the Jedi Master (“You must learn control,” etc.) printed in the front, the pages of the book, each of which is decorated with a small drawing of Yoda, are—surprise!—blank ($3.95).