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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

EPISODE IX: THE FINAL TRAILER IS HERE!

The new US release date poster for The Rise of Skywalker.

Truly putting the capital 'E' into 'Epic'!

Enjoy, and book your tickets for December 19th/20th, 2019...

(12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Final Trailer - YouTube

https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-final-trailer

https://uk.ign.com/articles/2019/10/22/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-running-time-how-long-length

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: A TIME FOR CELEBRATION!

The heroes of EPISODE I assemble for the closing ceremony sequence on Naboo.

Celebrating the return of their freedom, the streets of Naboo are filled with joyous people and children in song, as the Gungans begin a new alliance with the humans, a unification cemented via a special peace ceremony and the giving to them by Queen Amidala of a unique energy globe - the Bola Crystal.

With the election of a new Supreme Chancellor promising to bring goodness back to the Republic Senate, as well as a new and powerful young Jedi into the ranks of that esteemed order, the future looks bright for our heroes as EPISODE I ends on a memorable high...

Keeping Natalie Portman's costume clean and accident free for Natalie Portman between takes.

A stunning shot of Natalie Portman as Amidala.

With her once adviser and now galactic ruler, Chancellor Palpatine.

The cast between filming.

Jake Lloyd has fun on the Leavesden backlot.

The new-look Anakin Skywalker is revealed, as his training is about to commence.

The full Jedi Council are present for the scene, shot on the Leavesden Studios backlot.

Amongst the many extras in the scene would be a variety of people linked to the Star Wars production/merchandising divisions worldwide, or family members linked to key cast. Enhancing the scene further, ILM would also provide digital crowds in post production.

The Naboo guard line up.

With the Bola Crystal, awaiting the Gungan party.

Boss Nass arrives at the Palace plaza.
"Peace!"
Jar Jar is ready to celebrate. Note the background extra to his right: Les Conrad, who originally appeared as a Blockade Runner Rebel Trooper in the original Star Wars

The end to EPISODE I.

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: A VISION OF SERENITY!

The splendid outfit of light and beauty worn by Natalie Portman for the film's closing ceremony.

A special day of celebration for her people means that Queen Amidala must wear a special costume in response, of which Trisha Biggar and her team pulled out all the stops to deliver a truly beautiful silk and petals design for Natalie Portman to wear outdoors during Summer 1997 filming at Leavesden Studios, of which celebrated film unit photographer Keith Hamshere would take the representative publicity shots/wardrobe reference images.

Photographer Keith Hamshere at work in the studio.

"It had to be very light and beautiful with the feeling of a wedding dress. George also liked a drawing Iain McCaig had done that showed a very large, unusual collar at the back at the dress."

Trisha Biggar - 1999

The costume and designs as compiled for a TOPPS Card.



A rare publicity image taken on set at Leavesden Studios, on a palace corridor set recreation.

Monday, 21 October 2019

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: TO MOURN A JEDI...

A tribute to the fallen...

The victory of liberating Naboo has come at a terrible price, as important mourners from across the galaxy join the Queen and her people in honouring the passing of Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, his body burnt to ash but his soul transferred to the Force.

Above set showing the mourners at Qui-Gon's funeral.

Sio Bibble (Oliver Ford Davis), a Handmaiden, Ric Olie (Ralph Brown) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) are also among the background attendees.

"There's no doubt the mysterious warrior was a Sith..."

Having promised Qui-Gon to train the boy, Obi-Wan takes the upset Anakin Skywalker under his wing. A filmed but deleted line from Obi-Wan to Anakin: "He is one with the Force, Anakin... You must let go." 

Meanwhile, the Jedi Council ponder the continuing mystery of the returned Sith.

"Always two there are. A master and an apprentice..."

A turning point for the galaxy lies ahead...

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: A TIME OF CHANGE!

A posed publicity image of Yoda and Obi-Wan.

In an empty area of the palace, Yoda confers with Obi-Wan on the uncertain future of young Anakin Skywalker, but Obi-Wan, now qualified from his Jedi trials against Darth Maul, is resolute. He will train Anakin, without the approval of the council if he must. Yoda has no choice but to agree, despite the potential warning he gives to the former Padawan of "The Chosen One" prophecy believed in by the late Qui-Gon Jinn.

A line early in the conversation from Obi-Wan was filmed but never made the final cut:"Qui-Gon believed in him. I believe in Qui-Gon."

Frank Oz, properly returned as Yoda.

The opening wide angle scene featuring Yoda walking was achieved as a digital shot (from a created CGI version of Yoda that wasn't used - deemed not up to scratch technology-wise - apart from this one moment). The rest of the sequence was shot at a time period after the main batch of principal photography had been completed, with Frank Oz returning to primary puppeteering/voice duties alongside Ewan McGregor (wearing a hair piece) on a raised set built at Leavesden Studios.

One of only two shots in EPISODE I filmed with a test digital camera.

"The actors were so taken by Yoda it was extraordinary. I was very flattered. I think people respond to the character because he is very much like a Zen master- and I think everyone would love to have someone like him to talk to. Yoda is universally appealing."

Frank Oz - 1999
Obi-Wan confers with Yoda on Anakin's future.

"We could see what Yoda was doing on TV monitors beneath the set. If George was satisfied with a take, we'd move on. Other times, we'd play back the performance and decide to make some adjustments."

"From a physical standpoint, Yoda is very demanding, but I'm always happy to revisit the character and to work with George."

Frank Oz - 1999

"Frank is the character. We (his puppeteer team assistants) just tried to give him freedom, and to work with his performance, to flow with it. No matter what we rehearsed, Frank would always do something a little more, a little different for the real take."

Kathy Smee (Yoda Puppeteer) - The Making of EPISODE I book - 1999

Sunday, 20 October 2019

THE CLONE WARS: AHSOKA THE LIBERATOR!


She's been happily reunited with her former Master Anakin Skywalker and friend/fellow Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mandalore during the Outer Rim sieges, now they have full confidence in her as she leads a special Clone Trooper force into battle- during their emergency absence- against the tyrannical former Sith Assassin turned crime lord Darth Maul, in this great teaser image for the upcoming finale wrap up season of The Clone Wars, coming to the all-new Disney+ US cable channel in early 2020.


THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: THE NEW PEACEMAKERS!


Naboo has been freed from the slimy grip of the Trade Federation, and joy has come for the planet and its people with the news that the noble, dutiful Senator Palpatine has been elected to the highest office in the galaxy- the Republic's Chancellor. Surely this will be a time of new peace and prosperity for all as the happy Palpatine arrives to congratulate Jedi hero Obi-Wan Kenobi and the intriguing powers of young Anakin Skywalker, whose career the statesman will watch 'with great interest'!

A terrific scene with subtly grim foreboding, and one added onto the film late in the day during additional reshoots during early 1999. Care had to be taken to keep Jake Lloyd out of close-up shots because he had gotten older-looking a year and a half on from the original period of filming.


Due to the late scheduling of the reshoots, so close to the film's release, many of the actresses playing the Handmaidens were not available to return, so other members of the production team (including Nick Gillard, who fitted one of the available costumes) and Jake Lloyd's mum, Lisa, took the back ground roles. Another extra filled in for Sio Bibble when actor Oliver Ford Davis was not available - a fact all too clear on screen!

The re-shoot handmaidens, including middle left to right: Lisa Lloyd, LUCASFILM's Lynne Hale, and Nick Gillard! 

Additionally shot in that extra principal photography was the departure of the captured Trade Federation villains, awaiting trial on Coruscant. This replaced an earlier scene filmed but cut, set in the Throne Room with Amidala.

Filming the Trade Federation leaders being taken away.


Rounding off the VIP cameos at the Chancellor's arrival were three key men from the making of the Star Wars films, including Sound Designer/Editor Ben Burtt, Producer Rick McCallum and co-Film Editor Paul Martin Smith.


Ben Burtt in character for blue screen filming insertion 

Burtt, McCallum and Smith line up for the shot filming.

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: SUPREMACY ON CUE!


As additional material/re-shoots for EPISODE I continues at Leavesden Studios in early 1999, Ian McDiarmid returns to film a new near-finale scene of the newly elected Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's arrival on Naboo, added to hint at the future father-figure 'friendship' he will have with young Anakin by the time of EPISODE II.

On the ship's ramp following Palpatine and his blue armoured senate guards are the Jedi Council members. Samuel L. Jackson was not available for the new scene, as part of the Order's arrival on Naboo, so instead an unknown extra filled in for him all too noticeably! Yoda was played by a proud Warwick Davis, in a special mask and costume, for a walking shot that never made the final cut, of which no behind the scenes stills have so far been released of this moment.

"We will watch your career with great interest!"

Saturday, 19 October 2019

EPISODE IX: YOU GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS...


They'll face the First Order and the Empire with bravery and friendship one last time, as Joonas Suotamo's Chewbacca gets ready to film a big action scene with his droid buddy BB-8, on location in Jordan for the upcoming EPISODE IX.

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: GOODBYE MY FRIEND...


Critically wounded from Darth Maul's double lightsaber blade, the dying Qui-Gon Jinn departs the world of reality and 'the living Force' showing dignity and tender compassion for his loyal friend and Padawan in Obi-Wan Kenobi. A genuinely sad moment from EPISODE I, as Obi-Wan makes a promise to train Anakin Skywalker with Qui-Gon's passing....