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‘Icons Unearthed: Star Wars’ Debuts Tonight, Tuesday, July 12 at 10 PM

The new independently produced Star Wars documentary will debut on Vice TV

Tonight’s the night. With a lull in the Star Wars TV schedule on Disney+, The Nacelle Company will launch Icons Unearthed: Star Wars – documentary series exploring the development, production, and impact of Star Wars: Episodes I – VI.

The boilerplate proclaims:

Image: Nacelle Company

Travel to a time not very far, far away, and witness the creation and filming of George Lucas’s two Star Wars trilogies. Interviews with cast and crew leave no stone unturned, making it the definitive account of the space saga that changed movies forever.

An Ambitious Series

But that paragraph is short shrift for a series with as ambitious a goal as Icons Unearthed.

However, even beyond the pop culture archeology of the series — which debuts tonight with Episode 1 – “A New Hope Pt. 1” — Icons Unearthed features the first-ever on-camera interview with director George Lucas’s wife at the time, Marcia, also editor of Star Wars (1977). was lucky enough to enjoy a sneak peek at the first episode, and this writer came away impressed. Moreover, if you enjoy the Disney Gallery programs on Disney+ or marveled at Elstree 1976, Icons Unearthed: Star Wars is for you.

Brian Volk-Weiss (The Toys That Made Us, The Movies That Made Us, Behind The Attraction), who directed and executive produced the show, recounted his first exposure to The Saga.

Images By SDK Photo & Design, 2020

“I vividly remember seeing Return of the Jedi,” said Volk-Weiss in a recent phone interview. “I remember the movie came out, literally, the Friday of the last day of school.

“My mom picked me up, drove me to the theater, and my grandfather was standing, the very first person on a line that literally went around the block.

“So that’s my first real Star Wars memory… and then when the millennium Falcon comes outta hyperspace, and you see all those ships coming at it at the cockpit, I think that was like the first greatest moment of my life,” he said.

Image: Lucasfilm

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Indeed, tonight’s premiere will be Brian’s life’s latest “greatest moment.” Icons Unearthed is entertaining, engaging, intelligent, and even-handed. That is, as an independent documentary, nothing was off the table.

And the first person invited to interview for the program was the former Mrs. Lucas.

“I had no trepidation,” explained Volk-Weiss of reaching out to the Star Wars editor. “As soon as the show was green lit, [Marcia Lucas] was target number one. When we had our first meeting, the first thing I said was… the key to this series? ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.’

“From day one of the research phase… we set off the try and get her,” he said.

Get her. They did. Six hours of her, liberally distributed throughout the show.

In fact, Marcia Lucas, Anthony Daniels (C3PO), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Paul Hirsch, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, Ken Ralston, John Dykstra, Howard Kazanjian, Julian Glover, Ian Mcdiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Gus Lopez, and Tom Spina all appear and give honest accounts of their time in and around the set.

Meanwhile, the show is narrated by Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod, Return of the Jedi actor Michael Pennington.

The Rise of Lucasfilm

Keeping this preview non-spoiler, we can tell you that Mrs. Lucas (who is “brutally” honest according to Volk-Weiss) provides much insight into the making of the original space opera.

Vice TV notes Marcia will “discuss her unique insight into the rise of Lucasfilm, including her 14-year marriage and eventual divorce from George Lucas, the editing of the original Star Wars trilogy, where the idea for Darth Vader to be Luke’s father came from, and if there were really plans for nine movies.”

From a viewer’s standpoint, all of these interviews tell a tale almost as fantastic as Star Wars itself. Twists and turns are richly recalled, and the first episode even ends on a cliffhanger. That wasn’t very difficult because the entire production seemed fraught with peril for the picture and for George Lucas himself.

“To me, the whole thing about George,” said Volk-Weiss. “For the most part, he didn’t concede control, even on A New Hope.

“He fought, he pushed back on [Twentieth Century] Fox because you must remember that George Lucas had already directed the most profitable movie of all time with American Graffiti,” continued Brian. “So he had a lot of political power with Fox and used every ounce of it to maintain control.

“And after the movie was a hit, he got a bank loan and made the highest budgeted independent movie of all time. And that experience was even worse than on A New Hope.

Finally, speaking to his ultimate goal with Icons Unearthed: Star Wars, Volk-Weiss said, “Star Wars is the movie that inspired my entire career, so to be hearing new stories from the people who were there, like Marcia Lucas, Howard Kazanjian, and Billy Dee Williams, was mind-blowing not just once or twice, but again and again. I believe fans of the franchise will be blown away by what we unearthed.”

Enjoy it, tonight on Vice TV.

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