'THE FORCE AWAKENS' - ONLY IN CINEMAS. IN THE UK FROM DECEMBER 17TH, 2015

Friday, 5 February 2016

DELETED SCENE: THE DUEL BEGINS...


Having successfully blocked Luke Skywalker's fast reflex attack on his "Master", The Emperor, Darth Vader and the young Jedi back away from the seated evil to begin their intense final lightsaber duel, in an angle and moment lost from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

The Emperor watches as Luke and Vader manoeuvre to fight in this unused footage.
Father and son lock lightsabers.
An overhead greebly catches fire from the duel.

This classic battle between good and evil is superbly recreated at MADAME TUSSAUDS STAR WARS EXPERIENCE. If you haven't gone yet, get tickets here: Madame Tussauds London - Star Wars


CLASSIC IMAGE: "DON'T MOVE, JEDI!"


Having just escaped the many perils of the automated droid factory, and destroying his lightsaber in the process, Anakin Skywalker now finds himself captured by the gunslinger bounty hunter Jango Fett, and some accompanying Droidekas, in a last minute scene shot for EPISODE II.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

EPISODE VII: "WE'RE GONNA DO THIS!"


Playing the old prisoner and escort trick, rogue First Order trooper FN-2187 and Poe Dameron make their way into the Finalizer's main hangar bay and begin their plan to steal a TIE fighter, in this great image from THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Only the right side portion of this image was recreated as a set at Pinewood Studios, the rest was a cgi overlay. Note on the far right the little mouse droid scurrying about!

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: UNDER SURVEILLANCE!


Having prior investigated the stark plains of the Hoth ice planet with no success, an Imperial Probe Droid finally has some evidence of Rebel activity to report back to its masters, in this interesting Joe Johnston storyboard for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

EPISODE VII: "THAT WEAPON - IS MINE!"


As the Starkiller Base begins to implode, the snowy forest region arounds it plays host to a smaller but no less brutal conflict of nature, as the injured but still monstrous Kylo Ren demands Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from its current guardian, Finn, during one of THE FORCE AWAKENS finest sequences, featuring a superb performance from Adam Driver.

EPISODE VII: "TRAITOR!"


Maz Kanata's spacebar castle on Takodana may now have been obliterated, but her allies continue their pitched-in ground battle against the newly arrived First Order Stormtrooper squads. Meanwhile, Finn gets the chance to use a lightsaber- Luke Skywalker's no less- in battle against a former Riot Control Stormtrooper colleague now sworn enemy, TR-8R, in this exciting scene from THE FORCE AWAKENS.

EPISODE VII: BACK WHERE HE BELONGS!


It's been a long time since he's seen his beloved Millennium Falcon, but Han Solo's final re-uniting brings back happy memories during this great moment not only for the character from THE FORCE AWAKENS, but surely Harrison Ford, too- having been impressed with the vessel's detailed behind the scenes recreation at Pinewood Studios, and with their not cheapening out with working background panel toggles, as had prior been the case with the Original Trilogy!


EPISODE VII: THE ULTIMATE TEST OF FAITH!


The settlement he has been a part of for many years on Jakku now laid waste, his friends captured or killed, galactic archeologist and key member of the Church of the Force underground faith during the "Dark Times", Lor San Tekka is now brought towards his ruthless captor Kylo Ren- Max Von Sydow bringing weighty stature and class to a small but nonetheless important role at the beginning of THE FORCE AWAKENS.

CLASSIC IMAGE: SILVER CHAPERONE!


Trade Federation droid TC-14 (voiced by ROME actress Lindsay Duncan) is surprised to discover the identities of the two "Ambassadors" sent to converse with her Neimoidian masters, during the opening scenes of EPISODE I.

Monday, 1 February 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES: A CELEBRATION FIT FOR HEROES!

Our heroes gather for the finale scenes of STAR WARS. Image: Kurtz/Joiner Archive.

May 1976: One one of the biggest soundstages (H) of Shepperton Studios, London, George Lucas, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor and his team get ready to film certain shots from the finale medal ceremony within the Massassi Temple on Yavin, amongst a crowd of around 200 various rebel outfit attired extras. Because of the low costume budget many of the extras had to wear their own black shoes for the scene and some costumes had to be redressed from existing stock from the famous BERMANS AND NATHANS costume warehouse. Despite his enthusiasm for the scene and explaining to the extras what was going on in this seemingly bizarre space flick, Mark Hamill received a rather rude response from them, some muttering insults and curse words as he and Harrison Ford, equally annoyed by the Brits but trying not to make too much of it, made their way past them to the top dais to collect their medals from Carrie Fisher's radiant Princess Leia.

Harrison Ford queries Mark Hamill's Step-Step - 2015 British Academy Britannia Awards - YouTube

Peter Mayhew films his separate close-up shots as Chewbacca.
Filming towards the thirty feet high platform.
Despite the extras, though, the main stars would enjoy the filming of this sequence. At some point, the cast and crew, prompted by Assistant Director Tony Waye, even sang Happy Birthday! to their shy writer/director- if only someone had some recorded footage of that!

Presumably Gary Kurtz took the above top image during the rehearsal. Note: film still cameramen John Jay at bottom middle looking up to take his own picture towards the staircase!

Ann Skinner's continuity polaroid of Carrie Fisher- a note highlighting her barely seen bracelet. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI.
Leia's striking necklace, Planetaariset Laaksot, made by Bjorn Weckstrom of Lapponia of Helsinki, purchased by John Mollo from their Fulham shop in 1976. 

Presumably due to space reasons, only one of Script Supervisor Ann Skinner's continuity polaroids from this scene's filming would be on display to the public at a special BFI STAR WARS behind the scenes exhibition during Xmas 2014. However, the BFI's Special Collection has 8 unseen colour Polaroids of the rehearsal filming of the extras scenes, showing the way they were shot (ultimately handled by Gary Kurtz and a unit, and not by Gilbert Taylor, who didn't want to do anything too complex regarding effects) in different groups (4 shots of left side arrangements, 4 of right side arrangements), to make it look as if there were more extras on screen than there actually were, and for potential later compositing together (a process red underlined in Skinner's camera script for later ILM duties). Other so far unseen rarities: a colour image of a select group of at least four to five medal bearers (including Nick Joseph and Derek Lyons) and other rebels on the top dais, an image of two unknown generals (one with longish grey hair), 2 B/Ws of unknown staff bearers with and without helmets on between filming, a wide angle colour image, taken from almost left side, of our trio emerging from the open shield door and heading down the steps, followed by another colour shot of them, taken far left, ascending the steps to Leia and her party.

Miss Skinner's handwritten continuity cards note the following as Rebels on the dais: Victa Galucci, Pat Gregory, Eric Bass, Howard (surname illegible), Alan Gilds (or Golds), Nick Joseph, Derek Lyons, Robert Van Kapherus, George Stock, Robert Clark, and someone called "Kid".

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI Special Collections.
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