USE THE FELT, LUKE
The brothers were adamant about not relying on computer-assisted imagery. Striving to accomplish as many scenes as possible “in camera,” Jack and Holman Yang scouted real-life locations to simulate the sun-scorched plains of Tatooine (Yuma, Ariz.) or the frozen planet of Hoth (Mount Seymour in North Vancouver).
“So when you see sky in an image, it’s real sky,” they said. “When you see mist or haze, it’s dry ice vapors or smoke. And when you see snow, it’s real snow.”
Working with such a diminutive cast had its downsides, of course. Howling winds at California’s Imperial Sand Dunes, where George Lucas filmed the Great Pit of Carkoon showdown, nearly torpedoed the Yangs’ efforts. “Our version of Luke also rescued Han and Chewie from the Sarlacc, but our felted heroes ultimately couldn’t escape the tremendous desert winds that blew the whole set apart,” they recounted.
In fact, only a few touches required post-production wizardry: the lightsabers and Force lightning. “Star Wars Epic Yarns is quite possibly the most labor-intensive board book series in the history of children’s literature!” the brothers said. “But if readers young and old think it a winning addition to the Star Wars library, then the effort will definitely have been worth it.”