In May 1977, an unheralded 'space opera' called Star Wars became the most extraordinary movie success of all time. Dismissed by most as an adolescent indulgence, writer-producer-director George Lucas' saga set long ago in a galaxy far away went on to rewrite not just the history of Hollywood but the story of popular culture. With its sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, it earnedmore than $1 billion at the box office, and billions more in the merchandising industry it re-invented. In shaping the modern film industry, its influence was more profound than Citizen Kane or The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia. Two decades later, with Lucas preparing to film three more episodes of his epic story, the phenomenon is set to continue beyond the millennium.

Drawing on new and revealing interviews with key figures, and with access to previously unpublished material, Empire Building tells the riveting, behind-the-scenes story of how Star Wars confounded Hollywood. It charts the off-screen dramas and bitter boardroom power struggles that lay behind the glory, follows the public triumphs and private tragedies of its stars, and chronicles how Hollywood - and the wider business world - were transformed forever by the changes that ensued. It also examines the enduring appeal of the saga, a powerful modern mythology drawing on the past, yet set to inspire far into the future.

As the remarkable story enters a new era, Empire Building reveals the reality behind the fantasy, the forces that forged the films hailed as the century's greatest piece of popular art, Star Wars.

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