Exclusive: Vice TV explores the making of 'Star Wars' with its new 'Icons Unearthed' docu-series

Star Wars: A New Hope
Scene from "Star Wars: A New Hope." (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Just when you thought you'd learned everything about the making of "Star Wars" and its galaxy far, far away, along comes an illuminating new exploration of the space opera phenomenon and its sequels and prequels that just celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.

"Icons Unearthed: Star Wars" just landed on Vice TV with the first part of its six-slice dissection of the original "Star Wars" trilogy and its three semi-polarizing prequels, "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith." 

Each chapter targets one of the first six "Star Wars" movies and delivers an addictive dose of new interviews, rare behind-the-scenes footage, and archival material to satiate even the most hardcore fans.

Related: Happy 45th birthday, 'Star Wars': The Force is still strong with George Lucas's little space opera that could

Filmmaker Brian Volk-Weiss and his talented team at The Nacelle Company have served up perfect pop culture confections with their string of nostalgic, joy-filled documentary series on Netflix titled "The Toys That Made Us" and "The Movies That Made Us."  

Last fall, Nacelle ventured boldly into the legacy of "Star Trek" with "The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek," a 10-part anthology docu-series airing on the History Channel that warped viewers into the iconic sci-fi franchise created by Gene Roddenberry.

Now, the team is back with this all-new look into the hidden history of "Star Wars" and what it took to get the epic space opera onto the big screen nearly 50 years ago.

Icons Unearthed: Star Wars

Promotional image for Vice TV's "Icons Unearthed: Star Wars." (Image credit: Vice TV)

Vice TV offered the initial installment on July 12. It focused on the unimaginable hurdles facing maverick director George Lucas as he endeavored to film his dream sci-fi project. Subsequent episodes will deal with the making of "Star Wars Episodes II-VI."

Besides new chats with "Star Wars" luminaries like Anthony Daniels, Roger Christian, Billy Dee Williams, Paul Hirsch, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, Ken Ralston, John Dykstra, Howard Kazanjian, Julian Glover, Ian Mcdiarmid, Gus Lopez, Tom Spina and many more, "Icons Unearthed" also showcases the first-ever onscreen interview with "Star Wars" editor Marcia Lucas, who is George Lucas' ex-wife .

"Rumor has it, we're not the first people to make a documentary about 'Star Wars,'" Volk-Weiss told Space.com. "It was extremely important to find a new 'in' that hadn't been done before. The reason I'm in Hollywood and show business is because of 'Star Wars,' so I had a lot of time to think about it. Very similar to the show we did about 'Star Trek,' we'd developed a 'Star Wars' show that didn't sell years ago, and the research and work we'd put into that idea, 90% of it went into this new series."

One of the most shocking events in Volk-Weiss' entire career was the scoring of that ultra-rare interview with Marcia Lucas. 

"It's only her second interview ever, and her first on camera," Volk-Weiss explains. "We went to Hawaii to interview her, and it was a long drive from her house to my motel. Even though I had a ton of calls and emails to return, I sat in the car on the way back looking out the window just thinking about our five-hour talk." 

Icons Unearthed: Star Wars

"Star Wars" editor Marcia Lucas in her first onscreen interview. (Image credit: The Nacelle Company)

To the best of his knowledge, much of what Lucas told Volk-Weiss and his crew nobody has heard before, and that really changed the dimensions of the show. 

"A lot of things that made 'Star Wars' not a crappy B-movie was her!" he added. "The editing and fighting to keep the things she wanted to keep. She was there before George was George, before Lucasfilm, so one of the things we'll see is the dynamics between George and his dad, who owned this stationery store. She'd known him and gave us this point of view not necessarily just about 'Star Wars,' but the amount of risks that this guy took over and over. I don't think people understand how insane it is. She made me understand why he had that level of tolerance. 

"This guy was making independent films for $30 million apiece! Every time he should have played it safe and didn't, it seems likely it was motivated by the relationship he had with his father," Volk-Weiss said. "And I think for the biggest 'Star Wars' fan and somebody who's never even heard of 'Star Wars,' I'm pretty sure they can relate to that."

Star Wars: A New Hope

George Lucas on the "Star Wars" set with Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Nacelle Company's "Icons Unearthed: Star Wars" can be seen on Vice TV.

Need more "Star Wars" in your life? Check out our geeky guides: Star Wars movies in chronological order and 5 Star Wars characters who deserve their own show.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.