Remembering J.W. Rinzler: Author Extraordinaire


There was a great disturbance in the Force today as the death of fertile author Jonathan Rinzler was announced on Twitter by his daughter Sarah Rinzler: “Jonathan passed away on July 28th after a nearly one-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Thank you to all for your support and love.” He passed away at the age of 58 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm story Group tweeted, “ A great loss. He had a passion for research & writing, and I knew him as a great friend & father to his children. We both sat ringside chronicling the making of Episode III, comparing notes and logging many hours and miles. He will be sorely missed.”

Master of Making of…

J.W. Rinzler is the author behind multiple in-depth Star Wars books such as The Making of Star Wars, The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, The Making of Return of the Jedi, and The Making of Revenge of the Sith. He also penned ‘making of’ books for other franchises such as Planet of the Apes, Alien, and The Shining. You can listen to Rinzler talk about The Making of Planet of the Apes on this episode of Talking Apes podcast.

The author of more than twenty books, including The Complete Making of Indiana Jones, The Sounds of Star Wars, and Star Wars: Blueprints, Rinzler worked closely with George Lucas as the executive editor at Lucasfilm for 15 years before leaving the company in 2016. Rinzler completed The Making of The Force Awakens when that project got canceled. 

In addition to more than a dozen Star Wars books, Rinzler also published fiction. In 2013, Rinzler co-authored The Star Wars with Mike Mayhew, an 8-issue adaptation of Lucas’ rough draft for Star Wars. Rinzler published his first fiction novel, All Up in 2020.

Rinzler’s work at Lucas Books

He joined Lucasfilm in 2001 and became the executive editor of its publishing arm, Lucas Books. He edited and wrote an extensive roster of titles during his tenure there, with the 2007 publication of the definitive The Making of Star Wars setting an early and high standard. The book included archival research as well as interviews with key cast and crew.

Last recorded interview

All Up" with J.W. Rinzler

In August of 2020, Rinzler gave his last recorded interview during ForceFest 2020 for Skywalking Through Neverland. During the interview, Rinzler spoke about his newly released novel All Up and a possible sequel. All Up is a novel that tells the space race story, which encompassed the middle part of the 20th century. 

We haven’t seen the last of Rinzler…

Coming soon is his biography on Howard Kazanjian, the producer of Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life, (September 14, 2021). Also coming up is The Making of The Shining which documents the behind the scenes stories of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King adaptation.

Visit for more about Rinzler’s work, including his paintings.

Sad news and Generous thoughts

In July of 2020, Rinzler’s wife Rinzler shared that the author had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. In July of 2021, Rinzler’s daughter Sarah started a GoFundMe for her father when he began making end-of-life plans. Within days, fans had overwhelmed the family with love, exceeding well past the fundraising goal. It’s a small token of appreciation for a man who gave so much of his life to cinephiles everywhere.

Geneviève survives him, as do daughters Judith and Sarah, his parents, siblings, and a grandson. The family requests that any remembrances in Jonathan’s name be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Any extra funding raised for the GoFundMe will also be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

A Little About Me

My name is Eric Onkenhout, I live in Massachusetts, and Star Wars is my jam and I’ve been in this fight since I was 6 or 7 years old. Besides Star Wars, I also enjoy Marvel and Game of Thrones. I love to write, whether it’s fiction, reviews, or journalistic articles. I also enjoy long walks on the beach!
As far as movies, books, comic books, or tv shows, I tend to gravitate towards good writing regardless of the genre. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing; I like sports like hockey, football, and soccer.

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