Saturday, 20 July 2019
The sweeping magic of the original Star Wars, in all its landmark facets of characters and technologies, is once more beautifully encapsulated in this lovely art from Japanese artist Noriyoshi Ohrai.
Friday, 19 July 2019
A new and unique underwater civilisation awaits our Jedi heroes, following their Naboo native friend Jar Jar Binks to the deep depths of temporary safety within his bubble environment home of Otoh Gunga. A memorable visual moment from EPISODE I, accompanied by equally memorable music from John Williams.
"Otoh Gunga was hard to envision because it was a totally alien world. But even so, George always emphasised that the designs, no matter how alien or outlandish, had to be based on reality. In order for the audience to relate to them, they had to have some tie to our culture and history. The danger in designing an alien society- for which we inventing a history and culture- was that it would be too fanciful and too unreal. Art nouveau has a very distinctive and organic look; and once I had that idea to lock onto, the city became much simpler to design."
Doug Chiang- The Making of EPISODE I book - 1999
Thursday, 18 July 2019
|The big moment has arrived for Ewan McGregor, watched by Nick Gillard and Ty Teiger.|
"So we walked down there (to the prop room), and then the props guy came out with this big wooden box... Now I romanticise this meeting, I must warn you... but I remember it was this big wooden box, with padlocks on it, which he unlocked. He said, "Are you ready?" And I said, "Yeah." He opened it up and there was like 9 or 10 different lightsaber handles. It was like going to buy a Ferrari and trying to choose which model you like!"
"There were all different shapes (of lightsabers). I mean, if you look in the film you'll see that Liam Neeson's lightsaber handle is different shaped than mine. I, however, got the first choice, and I got the sexier one!"
Ewan McGregor - Entertainment Tonight web interview - May 1999
"It was an extraordinary kind of moment. I lost myself in it. I got to choose my own lightsaber. It's a sexy one, of course."
Ewan McGregor - Empire magazine - August 1999
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Having rescued him from pursuant Battle Droids, Qui-Gon Jinn mildly scolds his Padawan learner Obi-Wan Kenobi for not looking after his protective Jedi weapon, its power temporarily unresponsive after swamp water submergence. An early deleted scene and interesting character moment on Naboo which, surprisingly, has not so far been released on DVD or Blu-ray.
This scene would be echoed between Master Kenobi and his own apprentice Anakin Skywalker ten years later, during events of EPISODE II- "This weapon is your life!"
"George was always keen to say that this was a character (Obi-Wan) in development. Because a lot of the time I'd just be behind Liam here, or here... And George would say, "Now listen, this is a character in development, so by the time we get to the second movie..." And I always knew that was the case. But the way he described it was that he was an apprentice Jedi Knight, but he was very straight, very "by the book," and was frustrated by his master, who bent the rules."
Ewan McGregor - Entertainment Tonight TV/Internet interview - 1999
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
|The saga begins today, twenty years ago, for expectant UK fans...|
"When I made The Phantom Menace, I knew that I was basically not going down the commercial route that everyone expected. I knew that I was doing it with a nine-year old kid, and everybody said, 'You can't do that. It's got to have Jedi fighting and all this kind of thing everybody wants to see.' I knew I was doing it without the cast from the other films, and everyone was saying, 'You've got to work Harrison Ford into it somehow.' I said, 'It's a Prequel. How can I do that?' And if I'd been doing it in Hollywood they would have done all their market research and said, 'This is the kind of movie you've got to make.' I'm more interested in the story than in whether or not the the film is a commercial success. That made everybody in marketing very nervous, but they did the best (they could.) Since we have to finance the advertising of our films, they do their best to get the tie-ins and do all kinds of things to make sure the film doesn't fail."
George Lucas - BBC News Online interview - 1999
|Key plot points selling the film in the US TV campaign of May 1999.|
"The fans expectations had gotten way high and they wanted a film that was going to change their lives and be the Second Coming. You know I can't do that. It's just a movie. And I can't say, now I gotta market it to a whole different audience. I tell the story. I knew if I'd made Anakin a fifteen year old instead of nine, then it would have been more marketable. But that isn't the story. It is important that he be young, that he be at an age where leaving his mother is more of a drama than it would have been at fifteen. So you just have to do what's right for the movie, not what's right for the market."
"I'm very sorry they don't like it. They should go back and see The Matrix or something."
George Lucas - Empire Magazine - September 1999
|A pre-release group publicity image outtake.|
US TV TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg8LcsGbd2E
"I love the fact that kids can go and see it. It's the first film I've made that kids could or would want to see."
Ewan McGregor - Heat magazine - 1999
"It (the film) has an unembarrassed idealism that I liked. It's not ashamed of idealism. Ewan is so cute; he's a total heartthrob. It's also very beautiful, with all the costumes and images. And I play a strong female character. I'm the one everyone works for and takes orders from. I'm in control!"
Natalie Portman - Online interview - 1999
"It's a rollicking great story told very inventively and creatively. I also think that these Star Wars films offer a return to old fashioned values and the ethics of loyalty and truth, integrity and humility. People may not intellectually grasp that but they intuitively feel that they need to see these types of stories that make a complex world easier to comprehend."
Liam Neeson - Empire magazine - August 1999
Having stowaway debarked his own Trade Federation ship, newly arrived in the Naboo forest, Qui-Gon Jinn is soon caught in the frightened animal herd caused by the advancing enemy technology. An event that will lead him into an unusual encounter with a lone exiled Gungan, Jar Jar Binks!
|Storyboard of Qui-Gon and Jar Jar's close encounter!|
"When George and I first started talking about this, he told me to check out Buster Keaton films. His son spoke like Jar Jar at that age, four or five. And George wanted the character to have this child-like innocence."
Ahmed Best - Premiere magazine - June 2002
|Early animatic of Jar Jar's original introduction.|
|His 'mornin munchen' scene was ultimately never developed to full CGI.|
|"The ability to speak does not indicate intelligence. Now get out of here."|
"I wanted to be Jar Jar Binks, I thought I could bring a certain quality to that part, but I guess I just didn't seem funky enough."
Liam Neeson - Online interview - 1999
Monday, 15 July 2019
|Jar Jar Binks. Hesa back!|
"George (Lucas ) made a movie for kids. That was always the idea, and they love it. What hasn't really been explored in all of this is how serious I am about the character. Some people look at Jar Jar as this novelty act, that he's there just to get a laugh. That's just disrespectful to George, to me and to everybody involved in the film. Jar Jar was probably one of the most complicated characters ever to be created in movie history. It was the first time somebody had said, "I'm going to do a completely digitally animated character which looks like and is voice by a live-action actor." That's not easy to do. A lot of work was put into him and a great deal of respect was paid to the character's creation."
Ahmed Best - STARLOG magazine interview (1999)
|Early character art from Doug Chiang.|
|Character studies for Jar Jar by Iain McCaig from 1996.|
|More character studies.|
Ahmed Best talks Jar Jar:
|A selection of character maquettes for Jar Jar, as displayed at the STAR WARS IDENTITIES exhibition. Image: Chris Baker.|
Jar Jar character introduction TV spot (1999):
Sunday, 14 July 2019
Now arrived on the icy world of the Banking Clan that is Scipio, Count Dooku emerges from his solar sail vehicle to survey the Surprise carnage wrought by his emotionless droid soldiers against a now dead squad of clone troopers. A dark moment from The Clone Wars Season Six episode, Crisis at the Heart.
Saturday, 13 July 2019
A shot which surfaced back in March 2017 - in their crash-landed U-wing vessel on Eadu, the enigmatic Force worshipper Chirrut Imwe channels his faith to the universal energy field, watched by an intrigued Jyn Erso, in a sadly deleted character moment from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Friday, 12 July 2019
|A look at some of the potential Naboo wildlife soon disturbed by the arrival of the Trade Federation.|
A key ILM concept artist since the mid-nineties, especially with regards to creating believable creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit, Terryl Whitlatch would be one of the main talents who brought the non human realms of Naboo to conceptual life for EPISODE I, as well as contributing visual development to both the unique Jar Jar Binks and Tatooine's flying businessman, Watto.
|Terryl Whitlatch from 2011.|