COMING SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2022

Sunday, 4 December 2022

THE CLONE WARS - A LEGACY OF DEATH!


On an unknown moon, in a time after the end of the Clone Wars, Jedi Knight survivor Ahsoka Tano surveys the eerie graves of many fallen Clone Troopers whilst preparing to cover her 'disappearance' from the pursuant Galactic Empire, in this memorable near closing scene to the animated series final episode, Victory and Death!


Friday, 2 December 2022

'ATTACK' AT 20: TO SAVE THE REPUBLIC...

Bail Organa with Mas Amedda and Senator Ask Aak  in the Supreme Chancellor's Office, discussing the fate of the Republic. Art by Paolo Puggioni.

Sent prior to being captured by the enemy, Obi-Wan Kenobi's urgent warning message about the assembling Separatist army on Geonosis has been received by the Republic, whose key leaders and the Jedi Council watch with alarm and decide their next critical course of action, an action that will surely need the intervention of the mysteriously created Clone Army on Kamino...

Several sequences of dialogue were trimmed from the scene with the final editing- Yoda tells Palpatine that only two hundred Jedi out of a thousand are readily available to go to Geonosis, whilst Jar Jar Binks would lose several lines that would ultimately be held over to his important senate chamber scene.


The disturbing message from a now captured Obi-Wan Kenobi triggers the need for action against Count Dooku and his new army.

Master Yoda's concerns grow for both the Republic's dire situation and the building aura of the Dark Side of the Force. 

Jimmy Smits proves a well cast addition to the saga as Bail Organa.

Pondering the decisions alongside corruptible Twi'lek Senator Orn Free Taa (Matthew Rowan).

Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and Mas Amedda (David Bowers) wonder who can boldly represent the Senate's need for the newly discovered Clone Army during Senator Amidala's absence?

A behind the scenes publicity team capture Orn Free Taa and his lovely associates on set.

Matthew Rowan and Jay Laga'aia enjoy a break between filming.

The Clone Army usage idea is discussed in senate.

A duped Senator Jar Jar Binks coerces the Republic into accepting and using the Clone Army residing on Kamino. An important turning point for the doomed Republic in the Prequel saga.



Thursday, 1 December 2022

'INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY' - THE TEASER TRAILER IS HERE!


Adventure is still his name! Welcome back, Indiana Jones!


Official film synopsis, as revealed on the US version of Disney+.



Wednesday, 30 November 2022

SMALL WONDERS, LARGE ADVENTURES! 'WILLOW' RETURNS, ON DISNEY+

The time for heroes has returned, in the all-new Willow TV series. Image: Disney+

Thirty-four years on from his enthusiastic and spirited playing of the role that established his acting career beyond being a beloved Ewok in Return of the Jedi, versatile all-round nice guy Warwick Davis returns to the role of the diminutive hero with lots of courageous heart and enthusiasm, Willow Ufgood, for an all-new eight-episode fantasy adventure continuance based on George Lucas and Ron Howard's 1988 sword and sorcery fusion cult hit Willow, airing exclusively on Disney+ from today (30th November, 2022).



Talented writer/producer Jon Kasdan, son of the legendary Hollywood icon Lawrence Kasdan, takes the reins of this new franchise with both confidence and a clear passion for the project, which has been several years in the making. Taking a leaf out of the The Force Awakens storytelling motifs, the new Willow series brings together characters old (not just the now more enlightened Willow (certainly the Yoda of his universe) but also the fun return of Joanne Whalley as warrior now queen Sorsha) with many diverse new unlikely hero characters (from international casting backgrounds) as they take on an ominous dark force threatening the lands of the force field barrier protective realms beyond Tir Asleen and the realm of Andowyne (once again brought to the life within the gorgeous scenery of Wales). As such evil builds, led by some grotesque new monsters, Willow's powers for good are needed more than ever. But what happened to that scoundrel swordsman Madmartigen (originally played with such charisma and zest in the film by Val Kilmer)? And what is the destiny of the once enchanted, prophecy-given child Elora Danan, whose identity has been kept such a closely guarded secret across the years?

Willow’s World: Nature & Place • Lucasfilm




Disney+ was kind enough to invite Star Wars Aficionado to a preview of the series opening episodes in London a few weeks back. So what did we think? Well, with a first episode weighed down somewhat from re-establishing the past events of the 1988 movie whilst also stetting a new tone for the ongoing series (best described as a family friendly Lord of the Rings in scale mixed with the kind of light and flippant humour enjoyed by another cult classic, The Princess Bride), alongside necessary exposition and the need to bring in the many new characters, it's really from the second episode that Willow Mark II gets a chance to properly breathe and start hitting its potential groove (and watch out for a notable scene-stealing appearance from Warwick Davis's acting daughter, Annabelle, who gives a genuinely heartfelt performance as Willow's concerned daughter), with even darker apocalyptic dangers to be faced...

Warwick Davis with the main Willow series cast and production team in London - November 16th, 2022. Image: Disney+

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the saying goes, and I think modern audiences will greatly enjoy this special comeback kid of a franchise, the assured return of Davis as Willow, and the series overall potential fantasy adventures to come... 


New episodes every Wednesday.



Tuesday, 29 November 2022

'STAR WARS' AT 45: THE DUEL - PART TWO: A TIME FOR SACRIFICE!

Surrendering to the Force in this great on-set posed publicity image for the classic sequence.

Pushed into the hangar bay by Darth Vader's continuing onslaught, and with the arrival of Imperial Stormtroopers further blocking his escape, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes a final sacrificial gesture so as to buy escape time for Luke, the rescued Leia, and the the others onto the Millennium Falcon. Kenobi's end of life work at bringing the eventually revealed brother and sister together in battle against the evil of the Empire has finally been achieved...


Great close-in shot of Guinness and his lightsaber weapon.

Vader makes a rushing offensive.

Kenobi blogs and swings himself to the opposite side.



Crossing swords in a specially posed image on set. Image via The Star Wars Archives.

The classic posed confrontation shot, without airbrushed lightsaber blades, used across the world in publicity.

Alternate shot of the classic scene.

Another of the great classic posed images used for publicity.



A selection of specially posed images on set from the hangar towards the actors.




The five guard Stormtroopers rush to watch the duel.




An interesting sacrificial gesture by Kenobi towards his enemy (almost like the sword master duellists of old saluting their opponent), developed by Lucas with Guinness on set. A posed image on set, note the lack of Stormtropers compared to the similar images above.


The cut-in half on set practical effect developed by John Stears that was ultimately replaced with an optical effect slow down in post production.

Another angle of the unused shot.

The collapsed Kenobi costume on fire in another unused and abandoned moment.


Additional image with airbrushed Vader lightsaber blade.

The final effect with collapsed cloak as seen in the completed movie.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Guinness confers with Peter Diamond and George Lucas, as assistant director Anthony Waye overhears in the background.

After three weeks of rehearsals, fight shooting was now ready to begin on the hangar bay set/adjoining corridor at Elstree, and the scene where Vader says to Kenobi: “We meet again at last”, filmed on Tuesday 1st June, 1976. Lucas and his crew, working from storyboard sequences which involved contributions by legendary British movie sketch artist Ivor Beddoes (who would also contribute on The Empire Strikes Back), film the important action in three specific sequences, with the individual scenes within those parts shot from three to four different angles (one of which would be of Sir Alec fighting, whilst another would involve Dave Prowse attacking from his side) and then photographed in a wide master shot (breaks would also be taken so as to allow Dave Prowse, boiling in the Vader costume, to have his helmet taken off and un-sweat). 

As the duel progressed (also shot on Thursday May 28th and with a second unit coverage day on Thursday 2nd June), a well-trained but over-enthusiastic Dave Prowse, unaware of his own strength within the costume, and during the scene where the two warriors are close-up to one another in an attempt to break each other's sword contact, accidentally hurls Alec Guinness with such force that the famous thespian is quickly dispatched to the other side of the corridor floor.! An apologetic Prowse, Lucas, and other members of the crew, quickly rush to Guinness aid (recalled Prowse to Starlog magazine in 1978: “There was one moment in the (lightsaber) fight where we (Prowse and Alec Guinness) came up close to each other and we’re talking through the words. And then I push him away. I sent him flying. I’d obviously caught him off balance and sent him spinning up the corridor. Everybody rushed in and grabbed hold of him and picked him up and shook him down. I certainly apologized.” Though a little winded, Guinness, who gentlemanly blames himself for the fall, would tell the continuing-to-be-extremely-apologetic Prowse not to worry, and is soon back filming the next part of the scene. Recalled Prowse to Starlog: “He (Sir Alec Guinness) was marvellous to work with and most friendly. They (the cast) accepted me as an actor on the same par with them. And it was just super.” Prowse added to Photoplay magazine in 1978: “He’s such a nice man. He (Sir Alec) actually apologized for falling over."


Guinness keeps his lightsaber close between takes.
                                                     

Guinness contemplates with his raised lightsaber blade as Lucas talks to an out of shot Dave Prowse about Vader swinging the final death blow swing.

Because of the lack of strength in the rods, and the fact that they would break easily (with technicians, in between takes, having to sweep up bits of debris that would fall as the blades clashed), the duel took longer to film than anticipated (in the finished theatrical version there are moments when you can see small bits of the light reflective tape coming off the surfaces of the sabers when they clash)-recalled Prowse to Photoplay: “The biggest problem during the fight was that we couldn’t touch. We couldn’t hit each other because as soon as the dowls (lightsabers) touched they broke. So there we were, swishing away trying to avoid each other like mad.” For lightsaber rehearsals on set, in which still photos would also be taken for publicity purposes (with airbrushing being done to the shots by ILM a year later), the actors would use uncoated wooden rods before using the actual real props. 

Sir Alec Guinness with the impressive full lightsaber blade prop. The actor enjoyed the film's new spin on the King Arthur and wizard Merlin legend.

Whilst fighting Darth Vader, Obi-Wan’s line of dialogue “If my blade finds it’s mark you will cease to exist,” though filmed, was cut from the final edit, and replaced with some over dubbing with the dialogue: “You can’t win, Darth.” With the late decision to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi just before the film began shooting in Tunisia in March, 1976, Marcia Lucas helps George with additional scripted and filmed lines of Force related dialogue linked to Kenobi during this tense sequence, so as to build up his mysterious demise into the Force. Marcia was keen to reference the mystical Force more in the film than was actually ultimately showcased and talked about.

Certain shots of the duel would also be flipped in the editing stages. Vader’s slicing through Ben Kenobi, filmed on Thursday May 27th, was achieved by replacing Guinness with an empty shape padded cloak, set up so that, as Vader’s saber hits it, an electronically detonated charge cuts the cloak in two pieces, with the bottom half falling a split second before the top, to show what was supposed to have happened. Unfortunately, the release mechanism would catch fire several times, making the shots filmed impractical for use. One long shot scene, showing the collapse of the Obi-Wan costume, would however be slowed down in post production, to give the appearance of the evaporation of Ben's body into the Force.


Posed image of Kenobi preparing to sacrifice his life to the Force.

A lovely shot of the two icons behind the scenes.