CELEBRATING FORTY GLORIOUS YEARS OF 'THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK' AT STARWARS.COM

Saturday, 27 November 2021

CLASSIC IMAGE: UNSETTLED TIMES!


As part of the Jedi delegation, Plo Koon listens intently to the conversation between his colleagues Yoda and Mace Windu with the steadfast Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, his alien thoughts surely as concerned as they are with the rise of the Separatists under former Jedi Count Dooku, during the mystery-building beginning to EPISODE II.

Friday, 26 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: HERDED INTO A SPACE TRAP!


Escaping Cloud City and back in space, the Falcon, its deflector shields dying (in a deleted moment), is being relentlessly chased and attacked by a trio of TIE fighters, herded towards the ominous and powerful form of Darth Vader's flagship vessel.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: CRITICAL CARE!


Brutally wounded during his duel with Darth Vader, Luke has only just come out of the battle with his life, with deeper psychological scars and emotional revelations that will haunt him for a long time to come, as Leia takes him to the cramped medial area of the Falcon from which he receives additional oxygen whilst his severed hand injury is given a futuristic form of wrist cast. 

It looks as if this scene was likely a late addition to the script, certainly after the film's fifth draft of 20/2/79.

The Falcon takes further exterior batterings as Leia has to temporarily leave Luke.


The scene was originally shot longer, of which Luke discovers the fate of Han Solo at the hands of Boba Fett, but was ultimately truncated for timing and pace reasons.

The injured Luke senses a disturbance in the Force - an eerie siren call from Darth Vader.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: BESPIN ESCAPE - THE SECOND ATTEMPT!


With Luke safely rescued, Lando and Chewbacca make a fast escape for the Millennium Falcon from the underside of Cloud City, briefly avoiding three TIE fighters before they then resume doggedly pursuing the freighter out from the planet's atmosphere...

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: SAFETY GRAB!

 


Now atop the Falcon hull, Lando Calrissian desperately holds on to the injured Luke Skywalker and pulls him to safety as heavy atmosphere winds and soon TIE Fighter blast fire assault the craft in an uncompleted sequence that ultimately never made the film's final cut due to time and pacing issues. 






Monday, 22 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: LUKE'S RESCUE!

 

The deleted scene as rendered in spectacular art form by Hugh Fleming.

From The Empire Strikes Back Fifth Draft Script - 20/2/79:

SCENE 422: INT COCKPIT - MILLENNIUM FALCON - CLOUD CITY - DUSK

CLOSER POV out cockpit window of Luke getting bigger as the Falcon closes on him, until his falling body skims the cockpit window and we hear it land with a thud on the outside hull of the ship.

S423 EXT TIE FIGHTERS

The three TIE Fighters race to camera firing away.

423: INT - MILLENNIUM FALCON HATCH - CLOUD CITY - DUSK

The hatch pops open with a hiss of pressure. Lando reaches out to help the battered warrior inside the ship. Suddenly, there is a huge explosion near the ship, causing it to lurch wildly. Luke is almost thrown overboard, but Lando grabs his hand in time.

424: INT COCKPIT - MILLENNIUM FALCON - CLOUD CITY - POV

OVER THE SHOULDER POV - Clouds and flak burst as the Falcon banks away from the city. Leia and Chewie struggle with the controls.

425: EXTA UNDERSIDE OF CLOUD CITY - DUSK

The Falcon races over camera and away, followed by the three TIE fighters firing on the Falcon as they speed in pursuit.


Sunday, 21 November 2021

CLASSIC IMAGE: IN THE THICK OF IT!


Obi-Wan Kenobi heads the valiant surprise attack on the captured Theed hangar on Naboo, whilst young Anakin Skywalker rushes for blaster fire cover, in another great action shot from EPISODE I recently released in the excellent Paul Duncan written The Star Wars Archives book devoted to the Prequel Trilogy, available from Taschen Books.

Out now from Taschen Books.


Saturday, 20 November 2021

OUT NOW IN THE UK: 'THRAWN ASCENDANCY - LESSER EVIL'


The ultimate Star Wars Christmas present of 2021 must surely be the epic finale to Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy: Lesser Evil. Weighing in at a lofty 550 pages packed full of too-good-to-spoil story-wrapping political intrigue, absorbing-to-read space battles, cosmic drama and newly-revealed long-time secrets linked to the final destiny of the galaxy's most intriguing tactical genius commander. Determined to save his race from hidden enemies at work within the Chiss Ascendancy, no matter what the personal and professional cost, Thrawn is, undoubtedly, one of the finest (now officially recognised) non-George Lucas created franchise characters ever conceived, whose must-have climactic (?) 'event' title is out now in hardback from Century.

Here's the official release info:

The fate of the Chiss Ascendancy hangs in the balance in the epic finale of the Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

For thousands of years The Chiss Ascendancy has been an island of calm, a center of power, and a beacon of integrity. Led by the Nine Ruling Families, their leadership stands as a bulwark of stability against the Chaos of the Unknown Regions.

But that stability has been eroded by a cunning foe that winnows away trust and loyalty in equal measure. Bonds of fidelity have given way to lines of division among the families. Despite the efforts of the Expansionary Defense Fleet, the Ascendancy slips closer and closer toward civil war.

The Chiss are no strangers to war. Their mythic status in the Chaos was earned through conflict and terrible deeds, some long buried. Until now. To ensure the Ascendancy's future, Thrawn will delve deep into its past, uncovering the dark secrets surrounding the ascension of the First Ruling Family. But the truth of a family's legacy is only as strong as the legend that supports it. Even if that legend turns out to be a lie.

To secure the salvation of the Ascendancy, is Thrawn willing to sacrifice everything? Including the only home he has ever known?

Get it here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Thrawn-Ascendancy-Lesser/dp/1529150086/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UYL4Y84J1FX6&keywords=thrawn+ascendency+book+3&qid=1637320785&sprefix=thrawn%2Caps%2C177&sr=8-1

Friday, 19 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: LANDO THE RESCUER!

 

Image via StarWarsScreenCaps.

Rising to the Falcon's top hatch, Lando goes into hero mode as he prepares to rescue Luke Skywalker from the perilous antenna under Cloud City.

On a platform operated by a crane at Elstree, Billy Dee Williams prepares to film his elevator ascent to the Falcon exterior. Madelyn Most once more holds the clapperboard for the camera crew above.


At ILM, work continues on the close-up section of the Falcon exterior where Lando's (puppet) head will emerge to rescue Luke.


A look at the detailed puppet Lando built by ILM for the exterior shot


The model/puppet insert shot briefly used in the movie.


Thursday, 18 November 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: RESCUING LUKE!



The Falcon moves slowly and carefully into position as Lando readies himself via the to hatch to rescue Luke Skywalker.

Originally, it was planned that the bruised and beaten Luke would fall from the damaged underbelly antenna after pieces of it snapped, and the Falcon would speed to his rescue, catching his descent on its exterior hull. This was likely changed for time and effects filming practicalities.

Ken Ralston makes an adjustment to the Luke figure on the upside down cloud city landscape, which made things easier for camera filming.

Storyboards for the scene.


Rescuing Luke, the Falcon makes a swift departure as TIE fighters arrive and pursue.

As originally scripted and adapted in the original 1980 Marvel Comics Special: Luke falls when the vane breaks and the Falcon catches his fall. Art by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon.