The Star Wars and Lucasfilm communities today are mourning the death of Jonathan “J.W.” Rinzler, the supremely talented and incredibly influential author behind many behind-the-scenes books. Rinzler died on July 28 after an eleven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 58.
Rinzler was a longtime executive editor at Lucasfilm and prolific author, writing many books that became bestsellers and fan favorites. He’s probably most well-known for his behind-the-scenes looks at various films, including The Making of Star Wars, The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, The Making of Return of the Jedi, The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones, to name a few. His accounts are the definitive retelling of what went into making these films, giving fans a fantastic look behind the curtain of filmmaking and including tons of interviews, photos, and more that may have never been formulated into a project like this without Rinzler’s efforts.
Rinzler was also credited as a writer on two episodes of The Clone Wars, both in season six, “The Disappeared, Part 1” and “The Disappeared, Part 2.”
His books and writing leave an extensive and significant legacy, influencing countless Star Wars fans in specific and movie fans in general. I am personally very grateful for his work. It is heartbreaking to hear of his passing, and my sympathies go out to his family.