Bringing Back MST3K: The Making of The Return & The Gauntlet is a "coffee table" book published in 2019 as the final reward from the Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 Kickstarter, as well as the Season 12 Pledge Drive. It covers the creation of both Season 11 ("The Return") and Season 12 ("The Gauntlet").
The first section is an introduction by Joel Hodgson, done in the style of a Kickstarter update. It includes a look back at the history of the show, including sketches from the original development and a comparison of the four main eras of the show (KTMA, Comedy Channel/Central, Sci-Fi, Netflix). There is also a look back at the Kickstarter itself, with screenshots of the campaign and captures from The Final Countdown, the live stream broadcast as the campaign concluded.
This section covers pre-production ideas. Drawing and maquettes of works-in-progress are shown, including photos of builds that would eventually become M. Waverly, Growler, Moon 13 and the Backjack. There are excerpts from various scripts and storyboards, some showing early ideas for Season 11, such as multiple Cambots and the inclusion of Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank. Concept and design art is featured from Gary Glover, Marty Baumann, Steven Sugar, Crist Ballast, Brett Bean, Ray Frenden, and Seth Robinson. A large section covers the art of Guy Davis, showing the Backjack, the Satellite of Love, Moon 13, Kingachrome, Gizmonic Institute and various vehicles for guests. There is one complete storyboard sequence (for the opening of Experiment #1101) by Josh Pruett and final boards for the show open.
The "Building" section covers construction of the sets, props and costumes. Seen in photos are Grant Baciocco, Beez McKeever and other cast and crew. There are also copious photos of miniatures of Moon 14, Gizmonic Institute and other locations used in the shooting.
Section 3 is a deep dive into the actual production, with behind-the-scenes photos of miniature photography, greenscreen work, and other moments from the shoot. All of the principle cast is seen in various stages of production. A section is devoted to Season 11 guests Kevin Murphy (Professor Bobo), Bill Corbett (Brain Guy), Wil Wheaton (Drake), Erin Gray (Martha Masters), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester), Mark Hamill (P.T. Mindslap), Jerry Seinfeld (Freak Masterstroke), Neil Patrick Harris (Neville LaRoy) and Joel McHale (Doug McClure).
Season 12: The Gauntlet
This section covers the same kind of topics as the previous three, but as they pertain to Season 12. Concepts covered include The Pretty Lady, Dr. Donna St. Phibes and the Bubbulat-R. Guests on view include Josh Weinstein (Dr. Laurence Erhardt) and Deanna Rooney (Dr. St. Phibes).
The final section gives details of the crew and team at Alternaversal. There is also a section at the end giving thanks to the Kickstarter backers and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Revival League.
The book proved to be the most difficult of all of the original Kickstarter rewards to complete. It was delayed multiple times, eventually leading to its being expanded to include Season 12, as it had still not yet been finished by the time The Gauntlet premiered. It was completed in early 2019, but languished overseas for months before finally it began to be shipped to backers in November of 2019. There were a number of reports of books arriving damaged, despite the careful packaging. With the completion of this set, the Kickstarter infrastructure was finally closed.