Jonathan Rinzler

Jonathan Rinzler - Editor

Albion, CA, USA

Long-time Lucasfilm executive editor/author of nonfiction/fiction books for adults and children, many genres and media. I love good stories.

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A good editor is often a professional writer and vice-versa. As an editor I've had the privilege of working with many publishers -- Abrams, Scholastic, Random House, Dark Horse Comics, others -- and many incredible authors -- George Lucas, David Mandel, Jeffrey Brown -- and artists -- Ralph McQuarrie, Iain McCaig, Doug Chiang -- and designers on hundreds of books in a variety of media and genres: YA novels, children's illustrated, comics/graphic novels, video games, TV shows, documentaries, and so on. In the realm of nonfiction, I've edited many books on the movie and entertainment industry, in particular on Star Wars and Indiana Jones, from visual dictionaries to high-end limited edition art books. As a writer I've published more than 20 books, three New York Times bestsellers, one a #1 bestselling graphic novel. My novel "All Up," a historical fiction thriller, is to be published July 2020.

When working with a writer or artist, I want to help them tell their story as exciting and coherently as possible. I believe our #1 goal is to be entertaining. Readers should feel uplifted at the end of their reading experience. Whatever themes or lessons or information the writer may have worked in comes second. I prefer stories that move along quickly and which have rhythm--all for the sake of a good read. I also have a pretty good nose for the new and different. I'm happy to do assessments and, if warranted, a developmental edit. I'm also available for general consulting.

"There are simply no adequate words to describe my gratitude for the masterful editing of my rambling memoirs & stories into this book I now hold in my hand." -- Roger Christian, Academy Award winner and author of "Cinema Alchemist"

"I am indebted first and foremost to J. W. Rinzler for having faith that I could pull this off. He is a true guru of these type of books. His guidance and insight were invaluable." -- Brandon Alinger, author of "The Costumes of Star Wars: The Original Trilogy"

"Jonathan Rinzler always had words of encouragement whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and pessimistic about being able to finish on time. As I got busier and busier during the final months of postproduction on Episode III, he did a huge amount of work to help get the book done." -- John Knoll, co-president of Industrial Light & Magic, co-creator of Photoshop, and author of "Creating the Worlds of Star Wars"

"Jonathan's extensive research and interviews have added so much to the story of my life. After reading what Jonathan has written I feel like I know my life better than before. That probably sounds strange, but the way Jonathan has combined my stories with the stories of my crew members, reviews of the the films, and with articles written at the time, he has shown a whole different point of view." -- Rick Baker, Academy Award winner and subject of "Rick Baker: Metamorphosis"

Reviews of "The Making of Star Wars" and "The Making of the Empire Strikes Back":
“These books are the acid flashback they’ve been promising us without the mess and fuss of dropping acid . . . again. A trip worth taking.” -- Carrie Fisher, actress/author

“More than just a promotional making-of book, Rinzler’s account seeks to strip away a lot of the mythology about the movie’s creation.” -- The Hollywood Reporter

“A book like this simply blows everything else out of the water...” -- Film Review

English (CAN)
English (UK)
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Children’s Non-Fiction
Comics & Graphic Novels
Humor & Comedy
Middle Grade


  • Diamond Gem Award for Best Licensed Comic Book of the Year: The Star Wars
  • Winner Best Foreign/Translated Work on Cinema, Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma, France: The Making of Alien

Work experience

Executive editor

October, 2001 – December, 2016 (about 15 years)

Nonfiction/fiction editor of books on Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation,
and LucasArts ( The Cinema of George Lucas, Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts, ILM: The Art of Innovation, and many others). Worked closely with George Lucas on his chosen books, from Star Wars Frames to Star Wars Art: Visions. Worked closely with a number of publishers on a variety of publications and formats: Del Rey, Scholastic, Chronicle Books, becker&mayer!, Dark Horse Comics, Abrams Books, Dorling Kindersley, Titan Books, et al. Edited and created stories for dozens of middle-grade and YA Star Wars fictional books. Was key in creating the LEGO-Star Wars merger in books and a line of high-end deluxe limited editions. Worked closely with in-house and freelance designers.

Freelance writer

Rinzler Productions
January, 2001 – Present (about 22 years)

In the last four years I wrote:
All Up (historical fiction novel on the first Space Age, Permuted Press, 2020)
The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (spring 2021)
The Making of Alien (Titan Books, 2019), winner Best Foreign/Translated Work on Cinema, Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma, France
Rick Baker: Metamorphosis (Cameron/Abrams Books, 2019), “New and Noteworthy,” NY Times
The Making of Planet of the Apes (Harper Collins, 2018)

Portfolio (30 selected works)

All Up

Rinzler, J. W.

The Making of Star Wars (Enhanced Edition)

Rinzler, J.W., Jackson, Peter

The Star Wars (Star Wars: The Star Wars)

Rinzler, J. W., Mayhew, Mike, Beredo, Rain, Runge, Nick, Heisler, Michael, Heisler, Michael, Mayhew, Mike, Beredo, Rainier, Runge, Nick

The Making of Alien

J. W. Rinzler

Rick Baker : Metamorphosis: Vol 1: 1950–1989, Vol 2: 1990–2019

Rinzler, J. W., Alinger, Brandon, Landis, John, Jackson, Peter, Smith, Dick

Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy

Lucasfilm LTD, J. W. Rinzler

The Cinema of George Lucas

Marcus Hearn, Ron Howard

Darth Vader and Son

Brown, Jeffrey

Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation

Glintenkamp, Pamela, Verbinski, Gore, Favreau, Jon

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie

McQuarrie, Ralph, Alinger, Brandon, Lageose, Wade, Mandel, David, LucasFilm Ltd, Lucas, George

Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts

Smith, Rob, Lucas, George

Star Wars Costumes: (Star Wars Book, Costume Book)

Alinger, Brandon, Mollo, John, Rodgers, Aggie, Rodis-Jamero, Nilo

The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars, Episode V)

Ryder Windham, George Lucas, Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan

Vader's Little Princess

Brown, Jeffrey

Star Wars - Visionaries (Star Wars Universe)

McBride, Aaron, Tiemens, Erik, Murnane, Michael, Thompson, Derek, Jaeger, Alex, Sherman, M. Zachary, Barnes, Robert E., Zhu, Feng, Lee, Sang Jun, Church, Ryan, Fu, Warren, Church, Ryan, Various

Star Wars Visions

J.W. Rinzler, George Lucas

Star Wars Art: Comics

Wolk, Douglas, Mecklenburg, Virginia, O'Neil, Dennis, Lucasfilm LTD

Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle

Windham, Ryder, Wallace, Daniel, Hidalgo, Pablo

Creating the Worlds of Star Wars: 365 Days

Knoll, John, Rinzler, J. W.

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