Sunday, 26 March 2023


The time for the first trench run to the Death Star's thermal exhaust has begun, by the trio of pilots comprising the speedy Y-wing bomber fighters of Gold Squadron. Despite early hopes that their attack run would be uneventful and successful once past the heavy weaponry emplacements on the surface and towers, the arrival of top pilot Darth Vader and his two TIE fighter wingmen soon see the brave Rebel pilots quickly obliterated. 

Classic 1970's interview with John Dykstra:

The fighter trio would soon be in the murderous targeting sights of Darth Vader and his wingmen.

Working from Colin Cantwell's original model concept for George Lucas in 1975, the ultimate version of the Y-wing fighter seen onscreen was once again design refined and upgraded for model miniature building and filming at ILM by Joe Johnston.

The original model design by Colin Cantwell.

Conceptual work and blueprints for the refined Y-wings by Joe Johnston.

The revised Y-wing fighter model takes shape at ILM.

Unpainted models on poles.

Joe Johnston applies paint detailing and weathering to the models.

Various angles of the Y-wing for reference.

One of the original Y-wing models with the Red Squadron markings later changed to Gold.

The models gathered for filming at ILM.

Joe Johnston at various work with the models.

John Dykstra goes through a potential move for the model during ILM filming.

Joe Johnston at work on one of the fighter models.

David Jones (?) at ILM with model and trench section.

High angle shot, that may have been for either Star Wars or Return of the Jedi. If anyone can confirm which, please get in touch.

Saturday, 25 March 2023


We all knew that Hayden Christensen would be returning to the Star Wars saga in Obi-Wan Kenobi to play the post Episode III malevolent form of Darth Vader, and perhaps also for some specific scenes as Anakin Skywalker linked to Order 66, but who wasn't surprised by this excellent additional new flashback sequence of Obi-Wan and his Padawan learner sparring in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It was both wonderfully nostalgic to see the iconic pair again in action/banter but was also fine storytelling linked to the soon ongoing hatred Darth Vader would show towards his former friend and master, and how Obi-Wan could always beat his young friend thanks to his life experience, balance with the Force, and temperament in conflict.

Will there be more scenes like this should a second season be announced shortly? Let's hope so...

Thursday, 23 March 2023


Abrams Books is stylishly getting into the celebratory spirit for Return of the Jedi's Fortieth Anniversary this year, with a lovely venture that takes Al Williamson's epic Marvel Comics adaptation art from 1983 to a new level of enjoyment, especially for younger age readers...

The official release info: 

An epic retelling of Return of the Jedi for Star Wars fans of all ages, with classic art from comics icon Al Williamson.

Experience the original movie like never before! Follow the adventures of favourite characters during some of the most memorable moments in Stra Wars history: from Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo's escape from Jabba the Hutt; to Luke's showdown with Darth Vader; to the climactic Battle of Endor, where the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance.

With art from comics legend Al Williamson, gatefolds, and a cinematic feel, this collector's board book is the perfect gift no matter your generation, for both lifelong Star Wars fans and the littlest Padawans.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023


Darth Vader confers with Moff Jerjerrod in a specially posed publicity image.

Darth Vader immediately makes his mark on the Imperial officers with his arrival at the second Death Star, as a shocked and surprised Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington, brilliantly dropping his 'adam's apple' early on) realises that the station's construction must be put back on schedule at all costs, especially so with Vader's news that the Emperor himself is on his way to inspect the ultimate weapon in the not too distant future...

Another specially posed image - note that Vader and Jerjerrod are walking in the opposite direction to what was seen in the film, as the immense hangar set was only half built from one side.

The Emperor is coming to the Death Star! A great posed image, of which a similar B/W would be adapted for use in the Marvel comics adaptation of the film.

Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon's artwork for the scene in the 1983 Marvel adaptation, which primarily adapted publicity stills. 

B/W outtake from the famous Vader publicity shoot used for the film's magazines/tie-in's and merchandise.

Having had a superb time working with director Irvin Kershner on The Empire Strikes Back in developing the 'thinking man's Darth Vader', actor/body builder Dave Prowse's return to the Star Wars filming universe from February 18th and 19th, then in and out towards April, 1982, is sadly not so welcoming by the new production team regime, as his scenes playing the character are scaled back primarily to posed publicity images and walking/conversation sequences on the second Death Star's key sets whilst stuntman Bob Anderson (having previously played Vader to great success in action scenes for TESB) becomes the primary actor to play the role for the film's showpiece lightsaber duel sequence, and its key dialogue sequences linked to Luke and the Emperor. Not enjoying working with new director Richard Marquand (who largely ignores the actor and any suggested input from Prowse), not allowed to see the film's entire script (indeed, with the total secrecy surrounding the project, Prowse is often given fake lines to say as Vader that will be replaced with the real ones spoken by James Earl Jones during 1983 post production), and overall feeling untrusted - regarded as a security leak due to his friendly and enthusiastic connections with the Star Wars fan base, as well as a then mostly positive relationship with the British press - it's no wonder that the actor would go on to famously consider his brief time spent on Return of the Jedi as the most unpleasant experience he'd ever had on a film set. But worse is still to come, and in the most unfair of ways, for Prowse at Elstree in the not too distant future...

Continuity polaroid of Michael Pennington and Dave Prowse on the hangar set - February, 1982.

Enthused and ambitious British director Richard Marquand is keen to continue using the best and brightest of the British acting community's talent on the film, even using/recommending friends he'd previously worked with or known whilst he himself had briefly been in the acting profession during the late sixties and early seventies. Acclaimed British Casting Director Mary Selway Buckley would be on hand to equally advise Marquand. Michael Pennington was once such popular stage actor that Marquand was keen to use for an Imperial, especially in the role of the nervy but loyal Moff Jerjerrod. Across the period of filming, Pennington's on-set stand-in was Jack Dearlove, whilst Dave Prowse's was Roy Emerson.

Michael Pennington in a posed publicity image as Moff Jerjerrod.

In the original drafts, Jerjerrod's character was to have had a much more expanded role as a rival to Darth Vader in the Emperor's eyes - picking up where Vader failed in trying to capture Luke. He was, in effect, the Emperor's Counsel (and Vader would have to salute him!). As a result, Vader was to be very jealous of Jerjerrod. The ambitious Moff was also not supposed to be quite as nervous and cowardly as he ended up being during the beginning of the final film. In fact, he mouthed off to Vader quite a few times and there was always an air of competition between the two. In the final draft, however, Jerjerrod's role was reduced and even more so when the eventual final cut of the film was released. It is widely believed that Jerjerrod wears the wrong rank badge due to a "blooper" during production on ROTJ, as claimed, for instance, at the Star Wars Technical Commentaries fan website. However, there seems to be no direct proof supporting this, and Jerjerrod's insignia need not, in fact, be inappropriate for his rank.

The expansive Death Star hangar set primarily built as a one half side only set located on the prestigious Star Wars Stage at Elstree would house a specially built (from ILM design plans) partial replica of the superb Imperial Shuttle set. More on that, behind the scenes-wise, with the later arrival of the Emperor...

Monday, 20 March 2023


Newly arrived on the mysterious and doom-laden realm of Exegol, home to the legendary Sith Lords of old, the First Order's new Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren, is a man on a disturbing mission - to slaughter the re-emergent Dark Side force that is Darth Sidious (aka Emperor Palpatine) and prevent his own empire from being usurped, in this effective and memorable beginning to The Rise of Skywalker.

Saturday, 18 March 2023


Image: Jonathan Olley for Lucasfilm/Disney.

Even legendary Wookiees like the mighty Chewbacca (as personified by the amiable actor/sportsman Joonas Suotamo) need time for a break once in a while, as seen here during the original location filming in Italy for Solo: A Star Wars Story, during 2017. These BTS shots captured for media publicity mildly echo those of Peter Mayhew's filming as Chewbacca, enduring harsher cold and snow during Finse, Norway 1979, for The Empire Strikes Back.

Deleted scene moment of Han and Chewie having a brief snowball fight on Vandor, watched by Tobias Beckett. 

Joonas Suotamo in costume holds an umbrella to protect the Yak hair costume from the watery snow elements.

Thursday, 16 March 2023


The battle intensifies as Padme makes a bold move alongside Anakin. Art by Ryan Valle.

Leaping onto one of the Geonosian's dutiful Orray beasts of burden, Padme and Anakin (lightsaber slashing from an attached carriage) bring extra firepower to the intense battle between Jedi and Droids taking place in and across the Geonosian arena. Though eventually felled, the unique Jedi/Senator pairing fight on, soon to be corralled in with their surrounded colleagues...

"I was really excited to fight alongside the Jedi because in the first one I didn't really get much to do. I told George I don't just want to be the girl getting saved by the guys.

It was much better in this one. A lot of the stunts deal with running from and fighting with imaginary creatures, which was somewhat amusing. Everything is blue and cushiony, so when you fell it wasn't painful."

Natalie Portman - Lucasfilm promotional interview for EPISODE II - circa 2000/2001

Art by Ryan Church.

Blue screen work filmed at Fox Studios and later with extra footage at Ealing Studios, London. 

Though now felled and their Orray dead, our heroes verbally spar and fight on with their 'aggressive negotiations'!

This brief conversation scene was a very last minute addition to the film, captured only a month before the film had to be locked down for release.