ARRIVING IN THE NETHERLANDS, FROM 30/9/17. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Sunday, 15 July 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE DISAPPROVING TEACHER!


"I hate it when he does that!"

Obi-Wan Kenobi looks on both non surprised and with an air of slight disappointment about him as he watches his determined Padawan and friend Anakin Skywalker make a fast descent through the air lanes of Coruscant traffic in search of an assassin, during the early chase scene of EPISODE II. This was a humorous moment added on to the film during its additional shooting phase.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

CLASSIC INDY: IN THE NUCLEAR NEIGHBOURHOOD!


He's escaped the Russian agents at Area 51, and now Indy has entered an even deadlier scenario: a nuclear testing range in the Nevada Desert, in this eerie scene depicting a frightening time during the Cold War, part of early events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

EPISODE IX: THE (NEXT) NEW BEGINNING...


BEWARE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

The new custodian of the Jedi flame, Rey, lights the sky with her lightsaber as the final battle against the First Order, and its supreme leader in Kylo Ren, soon launches the upcoming EPISODE IX.

Rumors persist that IX's story, apparently set several years after the ending of VIII, will see Rey find and coherently bring together a new diverse group of varying age Jedi who will follow her in the continuing struggle - a comprised group unlike any other types of Jedi seen before and mould-breaking beyond anything established with past films, following on from Yoda's predictions to Luke in VIII of how the Jedi will and must ultimately evolve, emotional flaws and all.

Not ultimately seen in VIII, J.J. Abrams co-creations in the Knights of Ren are likely to make a final appearance too-perhaps in challenging Rey's spirited and devoted band of misfits, some of whom may also carry on into the next sequels trilogy being shepherded by Rian Johnson.

As for EPISODE IX's title, AFICIONADO bets that it will be called Fire of the Rebellion. We're likely to find out what title will ultimately be selected by the film's creative types next year, unless things change in the way that LUCASFILM/DISNEY publicity will be handled since the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story....

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: SPEEDY ESCAPE!


In the main corridor to the bridge of the Trade Federation command ship orbiting Naboo, two unique and deadly Droidekas pursue the fast moving Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi during their retreat action, in a revised ILM effects shot from the EPISODE I Blu-ray release of 2011.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

'SOLO': FIERCE CREATURES!


Fighting for their lives and their world, now under attack and planned takeover by Emperor Palpatine and his overwhelming Imperial war machine, the alien swamp warriors of Mimban prove an effective fighting force, once more echoing the might of the primitive against the high-tech concept that has been seen through the saga over the years. 



It was great to see the creatures of Alan Dean Foster's 1978 gem novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye make it to cinematic reality during the opening to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Monday, 9 July 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: HARLEY'S IN CHARGE!


Most of the main cast may have been nearing the end of their filming time for The Empire Strikes Back by August 1979, but Elstree Studios was nonetheless as busy as ever, especially for second unit director Harley Cokeliss, who'd always have a huge amount of scene shots to complete, like this one set in the Falcon cockpit.

Cokeliss talks about his involvement in Empire:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5LrmMdrgtY&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, 8 July 2018

CLASSIC ART: LOOK TO THE FUTURE, LOOK TO THE PAST...

Art by Martin Ansin that previously appeared in Entertainment Weekly.

A set of films specifically conceived, plotted and delivered from start to finish as a trilogy by their creator George Lucas, a revisitation and beginning for a diverse host of icon characters old and new, a fascinating origins examination (and re-examination) of the central villains from the Classic Trilogy fused within a subtle and intelligent look at the dangers of politics and corruption, exhilarating action scenes, bold and innovative CGI work ahead of its time (including a brave attempt at creating a uniquely comic figure), the return of John Williams (Nuff Said!), lavish and colourful costumes and production design for a new (yet old) era, and a resonant finale that effectively builds its satisfying bridge into a saga prior launched twenty-eight years earlier.

It's a package that has captured the imaginations and loyalties of two decades of Star Wars fans to have grown up and genuinely respond to the rewarding cinematic storytelling vision of the Prequel Trilogy. Admirably dedicated fans who adore these classy and enduring films on their own merits as much as the Classic Trilogy fans love their saga from 1977-1983. That The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are now, finally getting more legacy awareness, acceptable recognition and actual respect from the wider worldwide fan community, certain critics and, most noticeably, from Disney itself (notably in areas of merchandising and more recently Solo), has been long overdue.

So be gone with you (again) Simon Pegg, and those other hating cronies!

Saturday, 7 July 2018

EPISODE IX: FINN'S CONTINUING JOURNEY...


He's beyond knowing where the escape pods are now!

There was no victory for the Resistance at the end of the The Last Jedi, but at least former First Order trooper Finn has chosen the right side to fight for, and his conviction- near prepared to sacrifice his life for Leia Organa and the others - is stronger than ever with the once return of Luke Skywalker, the man he was once trained to hate. Adding strength to his resolve is the seeming demise of Captain Phasma, whilst also finally been reunited with his too long separated close friend now adept Jedi  Rey. And if the new 'Rebellion' thrives, a potential romance with loyal technician Rose Tico, hopefully recovering from her injuries at the Battle of Crait, could be on the distant horizon.

So what else lies in store for Finn? Well, actor John Boyega recently hinted that EPISODE IX, filming this month in the UK, will be set quite a while after the events of VIII, and that he'll be sporting a new look for his character- the actor having recently been seen in London with longer hair and almost mini dredlocks, which might be a visual clue to a tougher, fighting on the run Finn.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'MOST WANTED' (UK EDITION)

Fast times, fast trouble for Han Solo and Qi'ra in Most Wanted. Image: EGMONT.

Back in 1977, when Han Solo first appeared in Star Wars, confidently settling in to meet the naive ex-farmboy Luke Skywalker in a shady booth of the Mos Eisley cantina, a very young Lawrence Kasdan knew that the shady, seasoned smuggler with the glint in his eye was quickly going to be the most popular character of the saga, of which the future screenwriter would have daydream ambitions to one day bring this fascinating and relatable character's backstory to life. By 2017, those once misty dreams would become a proud reality, as the respected filmmaker joined forces with his equally enthused and imaginative son Jon to create the fun and thrilling story and script that would become Solo: A Star Wars Story. And now The New York Times best-selling author Rae Carson gets the chance to join the duo in that small elite circle bringing further facets of Solo's early origins to believable life, via the all-new movie tie-in: Most Wanted, out now in UK paperback from Egmont.

Living on the edge from his early days: Corellian orphan Han Solo.

In a book that sets the fuse to the eventual movie baptism of fire for the galaxy's most talented pilot, the Han of Most Wanted is a mould in the raw, and still has lots of to learn about life. But most of the elements we'll know and love about him in his later years - notably his recklessness and his ability to improvise - are clearly prescient. It's also in this earlier life where new snippets are revealed about the orphan (some of it also referenced in Solo), of which, amongst the surprises, is the fact that he hasn't yet become so jaded as he will be by the time of A New Hope- in fact, we get to see a point in Han's life where he actually did trust some people and would even have good relations with droids and Rodians (at a time before he encountered Greedo!) - in a noble friendship with a young green-gilled member of that race, the tech-wizard Tsuulo (who also intriguingly just happens to believe in that 'hokey religion' called the Force of Others). In further character foundations, the boy Corellian knows the beauty and potential of 'junk' and likes to soup things up to make them faster. Desperate to escape the troubles of his current criminal-edged life, he's also been building up his own connections for a one day escape- his dream to become the ultimate star pilot of a lightspeed hot spacecraft firmly lodged in his psyche!

No mere street urchin, Qi-ra is always on the look out to escape her meagre existence.

And as Han's story beginning are revealed, so too is that of his co-star in this journey of discovery and danger: Qi'ra- another unique young survivor of life's brutalities, struggling and adapting at the lower end of the food chain on Corellia within the cruelty and harshness of this relatively new First Galactic Empire. Knowing that status and power are the only way to win freedom, Qi'ra is shrewd and intelligent, always planning ahead when she can and looking for the best exit points out of any hostile situation. Having known Han for a fair while as the book starts, she's not a particular fan of the cocky youngster-in fact, she could quite easily punch his face in at times. Numerous times, actually. Their relationship is tested by the fact that there's also a rivalry between them and several others to win the new open position within the organisation of which they have so far not been able to escape from- the White Worms Gang, led by the malignant, shadow dormant Lady Proxima.

More facets of the young Han Solo are revealed.

As part of this test of suitability, Qi'ra and Han, amongst the oldest of the 'scrum rats', are sent out on seemingly separate important assignments for Proxima, both determined to do well for her. Soon enough, events for them fuse as one to go dangerously out of control, as a unique data cube from a deal that's gone murderously sour ends up in their possession, with everybody bearing any inclinations for power and ambition from what the cube contains soon out to get them for it. As the threats to their lives intensify, and being weaponless, the duo's bond grows strong when they have to rely on their well-honed instincts- neither of our young characters knowing they can truly trust anyone: a fact of life that they've always lived with. Sure enough, their enemies include a dangerous rival syndicate, their own organisation, and even the Empire, in the lead-up to a meeting with their mysterious and highly talented 'The Engineer'.

Harsh times with the White Worms crime gang.

Though the data cube story is the main thrust of the adventure, the background layering of Solo and Qi'ra's lives is well developed by Rae Carson, giving us the hardships of their day-to-day survival within the aforementioned, almost cult-like White Worms gang (with its need to be larger in scope and ambition via Lady Proxima). And more detail on the young and old orphans also forced to exist and steal for both her and second-in-command Moloch, the latter as equally unconcerned with the well being of their human work force as Proxima, and ready to cull the weak and disloyal at a whim.

Whilst Han and Qi'ra work fast to find a solution that doesn't mean their extermination, readers minds are opened to lots of seedy new locales on the planet of Corellia now made real for the big screen. Amongst them Cornet City's factories, sewers, scrap yards and underground realms. Plus visits to the weird and wonderful climes of The Silo, once home to Qi'ra in her darkest days - literally a freighter graveyard, plus a pod racing championship, underground realms, and a chase through the life-shortening industrial realms of The Foundry. There's also the kind of prisoner break-in and breakout that Han will eventually be used to by the time of his arrival on the first Death Star (links to that 'long-term construction project', as well as all kinds of references to the classic trilogy, there for fans to further enjoy, and some subtle future links to the recent Solo/Lando novel Long Shot's droid plotline involving the spirited L3-37, seen in Solo. The book culminates with a journey into space for a secret rendezvous whose pleasing outcome will shape Han and Qi'ra's destinies one step further, bringing the pair closer together in their will to ultimately escape Corellia.

AFICIONADO RATING: As author Carson keeps things bright and breezy, the early genesis of Han and Qi'ra's early history, and their individual destinies leading up to Solo, proves satisfyingly revealed. And though the book isn't quite as memorable as other recent Egmont SW film tie-ins like Rogue One's Rebel Rising, Most Wanted nonetheless capably acquits itself admirably as an efficient and entertaining adventure in its own right. 3.5 OUT OF 5


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

CLASSIC McQUARRIE: BEYOND THE SUNS...


Out on one of the the mountainscapes of Utapau (later Tatooine) a female version of Luke Starkiller uses her binoculars to look at an early version of Mos Eisley, whilst her droids wait nearby with the canopy Landspeeder. Classic 1975 art conceived for The Star Wars by Ralph McQuarrie, presented in an acclaimed and very special 'evolution' limited edition poster, one of several examples previously sold at one of the Star Wars Celebration events of a few years back.

It's been on the internet a while now, but AFICIONADO loves the brilliant live-action creation of the many early Ralph McQuarrie paintings that would be prove so evocative and help sell the idea of George Lucas's film to 20th Century Fox's mostly puzzled and money frustrated executives back in the day.

The Star Wars - Concept Trailer: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AWgzNfzRCk&feature=youtu.be