OUT OF HYPERSPACE AND ONTO HOME ENTERTAINMENT FROM MARCH 2020

Sunday, 5 July 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: THREEPIO JOINS THE FIGHT!


Batting for the wrong side, adding to the droid's overall dreadful ordeal on Geonosis, Threepio, or at least his head, joins the enemy! A fun moment away from, yet linked to, the gargantuan death arena conflict of EPISODE II.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

OUT NOW IN UK PAPRBACK: 'GALAXY'S EDGE: BLACK SPIRE'


Now available in UK paperback from Arrow, after its earlier, acclaimed hardback success, return to the diverse and incident packed realm that is Galaxy's Edge, and a memorable adventure from Delilah S. Dawson at its infamous Black Spire...

Official release blurb:


Walk the ancient streets, meet the colourful characters, and uncover the secret history of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the upcoming expansion to the Disney Parks experience!
After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower―and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.
A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.
To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colourful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu―before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.

Get the paperback here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Galaxys-Edge-Black-Spire-Star/dp/1787462412/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=galaxys+edge+paperback&qid=1593720477&sr=8-2

Friday, 3 July 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: HAN IN THE BASE!


The cold climes of Hoth, and his smelly Tauntaun companion, are not to this smuggler's liking, as Han Solo, arrived back at Echo Base after sensor placing, prepares to leave the Rebels and finally pay off the long-standing debt he's incurred to infamous gangster, Jabba the Hutt.

Harrison Ford prepares to film his scene.


Behind the scenes shot with producer Gary Kurtz inspecting the scene.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE REBEL HANGAR - AS SEEN ON SCREEN!


A selection of images showing the immense Rebel hangar set completed within the all-new Star Wars Stage at Elstree, and seen in The Empire Strikes Back. Much second unit work showing pilots and male and female Rebel technicians before and during the later evacuation, plus numerous droids shuttling along, never made the final cut. The hangar was made to look even bigger and different in certain establishing shots by rearrangements of the various Snowspeeders, and full-size and partially built X-wing fighter props, and the use of children in specially made Rebel costumes positioned to make certain parts of the set look even bigger- a trick also used in other blockbuster sci-fi films of the time, like Alien and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.






Image via Ben Ageros Collection.








The impressive hangar set rearranged as another bay in Echo Base.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: BUILDING THE REBEL BASE!


Knowing that a new, bigger filming space area was going to be needed for Star Wars II, Gary Kurtz and George Lucas negotiated in advance with Elstree Studios for a new soundstage to be built for 1979 filming. The soon christened Star Wars Stage was finally near finished by June 1979 to first house the immense Rebel Hangar bay set that would showcase numerous Snowspeeder props, a full-size, newly-built X-wing fighter (with additional nose-length, wing-less partial props that would be positioned in darkened hangar bay alcoves), and the incredible full-size Millennium Falcon built in secret in Wales and transported to London for pieces re-assembly.

Despite the size, however, the final stage still proved too small, with an extension built onto the end of it which also allowed for natural lighting to open through and simulate the Hoth environment outdoors for several excellent establishing shots of the bay. The set and all it house could be rearranged so that it would seem on film that there would be several hangar bays/base entrances, rather than just one.

Here's a selection of superb images from the work-in-progress Rebel Hangar Bay...


Image: via Star Wars Archives.











Tuesday, 30 June 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE ART OF ECHO BASE!


Hidden far away in a system devoid of human forms, the icy sixth planet of the Hoth systems seems the perfect choice for one of the larger Rebel cells led by Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa to set up a base away from the pursuant forces of the Empire, as seen in this terrific conceptual art by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston from 1978-79.

An X-wing fighter departs. Art by Ralph McQuarrie.

Inside one of the Rebel base hangars. Art by Ralph McQuarrie


A very early Rebel ice cave hangar idea from Joe Johnston.


The Millennium Falcon in the bay. Art by Ralph McQuarrie.

The Falcon and other craft in the bay. Art by Ralph McQuarrie.

The massive but vulnerable exterior power generators for the base. Art by Ralph McQuarrie.

Monday, 29 June 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: PROBOT PRACTICAL!


Built by the UK's practical effects team at Elstree Studios, based on the original Ralph McQuarrie design, the shadowy Imperial Probe Droid/Probot was an intriguing addition to the location filming of The Empire Strikes Back in Finse, Norway, during March 1979. The prop would be able to turn itself and had some mild articulation, with a special all-seeing iris, though its movements along the Hoth surface were mostly achieved by having it move along a dolly camera track. In the end, very little of the practical 'Probot' footage was used in the film (either deleted or replaced in several shots by a small miniature built by ILM fused with matte plates). The practical model's biggest scene, ultimately, would be its eventual ambush destruction from Han Solo. More on that in another blog entry...



Deleted moment of the Probot destroying a Rebel sentinel outpost, as described in the novel.

Deleted moment of the Probot turning to fire (presumably on Han Solo), from a TESB teaser trailer.

Readied for use in the Elstree Studios car park.

The Probot's builders/operators have fun on location in Norway.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: ENTERING MOS ESPA!


Our disguised heroes enter the Mos Espa community in search of a new hyperdrive for their disabled ship. It will surely be a difficult task whilst trying not to attract attentions, dealing with all kinds of scum and villainy, in the process. A terrific image showing the specially built exterior sets for Mos Espa in Tunisia (heightened with extra ILM work) during the long hot summer there in 1997.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: AWAITING ABSOLUTE POWER...


In one of the Death Star conference rooms, the many top Imperial officers gather for a secret meeting with Grand Moff Tarkin, of which the most impatient for action and most power-ambitious of the assembled must surely be Admiral Motti (played with relish by Richard LeParmentier), born with the kind of thirst for evildom with the soon completion of the battle station that knows no end...

Friday, 26 June 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: IMPERIAL INTRUDER!

Phil Tippett supervises the stop motion/model photography of the Probot arrival sequence.

Had Luke been able to check out the crashed 'meteorite' that hit near him, he'd have been in for a shock as to what it contained: an armed Imperial Probe Droid (aka 'Probot'), soon out of its steaming shell and into the arctic wastes in search of enemy activity, its targeting blaster even shooting one of the Hoth's system's smallest forms of animal life in a filmed on location with the practical prop built in the UK, but ultimately becoming a deleted scene.

Emerging from the pod, as seen in the ILM model filming.

Moving into patrol in front of a composited live action frame.

Disturbed ground would also be filmed and composited on by ILM.

ILM clapperboard for the stop motion filming.

A look at the crash crater without Probot model.

Early test footage.

Readying the shot.

Joe Johnston checks the background alignment before filming.



The Probot uses its force fields and ability to camouflage in its search parameters - three effects storyboards presumed never filmed.


Two Ralph McQuarrie concept pieces.

The Probot demonstrates one of its multitude of weapons.

One of the ILM crew makes some adjustments.


The Probot as seen in the Lucasfilm Archives.

Richard Edlund with the model and life size version of the Probot.

Checking the life size model with the miniatures/model building department at ILM.

A detailed look at the model pod carrying the Probot.