The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983 Is the Coffee Table Book Every Fan Needs

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

Think you already know everything there is to know about Star Wars? Think again. The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983 is a sweeping ode to George Lucas's original trilogy, and it contains plenty of new insights to delight—and surprise—the film series' biggest fans.

Film historian Paul Duncan's monstrous, 600-page, 13-pound hardcover book from TASCHEN features interviews with George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, plus plenty of facts about the original films: Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

Expect to see plenty of concept art, storyboards, script pages, posters, on-set photos, and anecdotes about how this sprawling space opera came to fruition. Duncan, a self-proclaimed Star Wars mega-fan, spent three days interviewing Lucas for the book. After doing a year’s worth of research, he knew plenty about the who, what, when, and where of the film franchise—but the one lingering question was why it was made.

“I wanted to know what George’s experience was in making the movies. I wanted to be like a little little bird on his shoulder, a little porg on his shoulder, watching him and listening to him as he’s making the movies,” Duncan told StarWars.com. “So that was my ideal, and once I’d realized that, it then became a matter of focusing the text and the images and how I present the book in order to show that story."

The contents page from The Star Wars Archives: 1977–1983
TASCHEN

The result is an oral history with never-before-seen media and insight into the Star Wars universe. Right off the bat, after the contents page, there’s a sketch of what would become the legendary opening crawl: “The Star Wars” in block letters are shown against a starry night sky. “Fade in—A vast sea of stars—roll titles, bottom to top,” a handwritten note beneath it reads.

At a cost of $200 (or $157 on Amazon), this book doesn’t come cheap. But for the ultimate Star Wars fan, it's undoubtedly a worthwhile investment.

Virginia’s University of Lynchburg is Adding a Harry Potter Class to Its Fall Curriculum

Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

While it’s not exactly an invitation to Hogwarts, students at Virginia’s University of Lynchburg are getting just about the next best thing. This fall, the campus is adding a Harry Potter-themed class to its curriculum as a general education course.

The university is in the process of changing some of its course offerings and streamlining classes in recognition of its modern students. According to WSET ABC 13, Dr. Sharon Foreman, director of general education, said of the new curriculum: "It is very targeted towards 21st century students who are going out into a global society and so we want faculty, staff, and administrators to know what that means, what it looks like, and [to] experience it first hand.”

Faculty have decided providing an education for a global society includes offering courses like the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Good Life," which will ask students to read J.K. Rowling’s books alongside the works of philosophers to create connections between the past and present.

University of Lynchburg coordinator of integrated seminars Amy Merrill Willis told WSLS 10 News that the course's instructor, Devin Brickhouse Bryson, is "going to be introducing philosophical concepts from [Plato], Socrates, and Aristotle, and asking students to think about the Harry Potter series in depth.”

Although there may not be a sorting hat or Butterbeer involved, the class sounds like a creative way to engage students in philosophy and critical issues, all while focused on the beloved Harry Potter series.

[h/t WSET ABC 13]

Pennsylvania Has Become a Hotbed of Bigfoot Sightings

iStock, THEPALMER
iStock, THEPALMER

If catching a glimpse of a real, live Bigfoot has been on your bucket list, you might want to plan a trip to Pennsylvania.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now ranks as the third best place to catch a glimpse of a Sasquatch. These findings came to light thanks to the Travel Channel’s new show In Search of Monsters, which analyzed the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) collection of sightings data.

According to the BFRO, which dubs itself “the only scientific research organization exploring the Bigfoot/Sasquatch mystery," of the 23,000 Bigfoot sighting reports they have on file, 1340 of them came from The Keystone State (although the site notes that there may be significant under-representation in some areas that lack sufficient internet access or computers).

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported on the growing popularity of Bigfoot hunting in Pennsylvania, with some cryptid searchers even viewing it as a fun weekend pastime.

Though Bigfoot's popularity may be on the rise in Pennsylvania, both California and Washington have PA beat when it comes to the sheer numbers. California was deemed the second best place to look for Sasquatch with over 1697 sightings reported, while Washington leads the country with 2032 sightings in all.

If you do happen to run into a Sasquatch, keep in mind that your reactions may have certain legal repercussions (for example, it's illegal to shoot Bigfoot in some states; you'll want to check with your state's wildlife department for your area's exact rules). And if you want to register that sighting, the BFRO makes it easy with an online form that allows you to recount all the key details—and speak with a BFRO investigator.

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