Thursday 30 June 2011
Artist Lucamara's front sleeve work for the upcoming STAR WARS six film Blu-ray box set has been met with a mixed reaction, but here's the full piece of art previously posted at the DEVIANTART site.
General Han Solo and Princess Leia, with Chewbacca and their Rebel Commando squad, continue their uneasy journey into the dark and dangerous corridors of the Imperial energy shield bunker so as to find and neutralise its command and control area for the incoming "surprise" fighter attack on the Death Star II.
This action sequence, which involves the group accidentally running into a Stormtrooper patrol and getting into a firefight, is probably one of the most desired deleted scenes from RETURN OF THE JEDI, after the infamous Tatooine Sandstorm, that I hope will be included on the Blu-rays. So far, those talented people at ORIGINAL TRILOGY.COM have found a foreign Blu-ray/DVD classifications source (FSK - FSK Suchergebnis) confirming that the deleted/extended scenes for both trilogies will have a running time of up to 45 minutes each, so it looks like we'll get a worthy selection of material to enjoy...
Here's an early look at the box sets from a LUCASFILM STAR WARS MEDIA DAY press event last week: A Destiny Revealed: Star Wars Media Day Brings Blu-ray and More to New York City: BigPictureBigSound
Wednesday 29 June 2011
The delightful Karen Allen poses for a lovely promotional picture as spunky Marion Ravenwood in the dress given to her by Captain Kananga from the finale of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Allen as an actress, and Marion as a character, would show great on-screen charisma opposite Ford's Indy and she remains the series ultimate female companion/partner/adventurer. After years of waiting, her later return in THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL was demanded and much appreciated by fans worldwide...
Outside on the vast landscape plains of the Owen Lars moisture farm/household, those pesky but lovable Jawas begin to gather their odds and ends droids for possible sale, including two recent acquisitions: See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo!
Truly another magical scene from the original STAR WARS!
Tuesday 28 June 2011
On one of the deserted sound stages at ELSTREE Studios in London circa late 1978/early 1979, construction work continues for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on the Millennium Falcon's cockpit and interiors, whilst a Rebel laser cannon is readied for ultimate shipping to the cold climes of Finse, Norway for its battle against Imperial Walkers.
To check out more on the behind the scenes construction blueprints of the STAR WARS saga's legendary ships, droids, and planets interiors and exteriors, J.W. Rinzler, acclaimed author of THE MAKING OF STAR WARS and EMPIRE books has a lavish, if pricey, new tome out at the end of the year, full of never before revealed info and interviews with some of the top behind the scenes names to have worked on the amazing and influential production design side of the film. Check out the links to STAR WARS: THE BLUEPRINTS here: Star Wars: The Blueprints and how to get it in Europe here: Star Wars: The Blueprints (Limited Edition Hardcover) @ Forbidden Planet
Monday 27 June 2011
|Flanked by Mon Calamari, Padme, in underwater costume, takes deadly aim in Season Four of THE CLONE WARS. All images: LUCASFILM ANIMATION.|
Here's a few more shots from the eagerly awaited opening episodes of the epic-looking Season Four of THE CLONE WARS, airing on CARTOON NETWORK presumably around late September /early October in the US (and hopefully on SKY MOVIES PREMIERE HD in the UK not long afterwards).
|Artoo and Threepio get their own stories amongst the Clone Troops.|
|A Republic vessel makes its way planet-side...|
|More aliens large and small for fans of all ages.|
|Its lightsaber combat time for Adi Gallia against General Grievous.|
|More fishy Jedi action with Kit Fisto and his soldiers.|
|Will Artoo save the day once again?|
|Mon Calamari charge!|
|Our favourite droids encounter new life forms whilst on a special assignment.|
Here's the most recent trailer for completism: StarWars.com | The Clone Wars: Season 4 Extended Preview
Ahsoka Tano's pairing with the mighty Chewbacca in THE CLONE WARS episode WOOKIEE HUNT was surely one of the best creative decisions ever made by the LUCASFILM ANIMATION production team, and undoubtedly a main highlight of the Third Season. Here's to future blendings of past and future STAR WARS characters.
STAR WARS: CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA
Written by Simon Beecroft
Published by DORLING KINDERSLEY
Reviewed by Scott Weller
Just in time for the exciting release of the entire six film STAR WARS Saga set on Blu-ray this September comes the new and excitingly produced accompanying and celebratory visual/information release from long time publishing greats DORLING KINDERSLEY: the CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA, presenting picture packed profiles and details of all your favourite heroes and villains, perfect for catching up on or re-discovering as STAR WARS continues to rule the waves of the world’s imagination. In a brand new size and re-design perfect for your coffee table, writer Simon Beecroft, a long time senior member of KINDERSLEY and friend to STAR WARS/LUCASFILM, whose work on the companies important books linked to the saga stretches back to the very first DK projects of the mid nineties onwards, gives us a noteworthy text that puts together everything you’ve ever really needed to know about the many characters of that Galaxy a long time ago, far, far, away, and their place in the history of the saga, either large or small, linked to the timelessly enjoyable and galaxy spanning adventures of Jedi Knight turned Dark Lord of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker and his redemptive son, Luke.
Rebels, Empire, Separatists, Republic, Jedi, aliens and droids of every creed and colour are here. Even the Asteroid Space Slug from EMPIRE gets a memorable page! From main characters to blink and you’ll miss ‘em extras, charting everyone from Admiral Ackbar to Zam Wessel, the best are all to be read about, in this, the most detailed and welcome fusing of the two film trilogy universes yet, easily accessible for readers in alphabetical form and full of facts, statistics and informative annotations, backed up with a selection of some of the best specially chosen old and new photographs (a mixture of stills, posed promotional images, and, in the case of the Prequels, some CGI renderings) from the LUCASFILM archives, with nearly a dozen or so from across the films that I’ve never seen published before.
Intriguingly, with so many thousands of stills from the treasure trove that is the LUCASFILM ARCHIVES to access for the project, its surprising to see that not every character has a colour shot, with some full length shots actually being specially colourized for the book (check out the Admiral Ozzel, General Madine and Ponda Baba sections for proof of this-obviously there were no existing or usable colour shots of the characters in full length available for use). Some, like Moff Jerjerrod, have even had costume feet/boots added onto them when the original full length images for cut outs haven’t been either available or in good enough quality to blow up for illustration and printing…
Also, and a very a good job has been done here, when full length shots of a character or costume haven’t been available at all, the books makers have worked with LUCASFILM in getting the original costumes from storage and having a model newly photographed in them-check out from RETURN OF THE JEDI the Rebel soldier/commandoes, and the A-wing pilot.
And look out for some little surprises, too. Presumably the deleted scene movie character, the Rebel General Cracken from JEDI: the crack Falcon gunner from an unseen portion of the finale space battle, has been included and named because he’ll presumably be finally seen on the deleted scenes section of the Blu-rays –these things aren’t put in to an important book like this without a reason!
Its also pleasing to see some of the lesser known characters in greater visual reference, like one of the creepy JEDI imperial dignitaries following The Emperor, and some of the strange and unusual creatures from the Prequels, as well as page sections for groups of characters like X-wing pilots. Such care to detail in this book is most welcome.
The only character the ambitious project has problems with is gravity chair using Tatooine Moisture Farm owner, and husband of late Shmi Skywalker, Cleig Lars: the main image used was probably the only full length visual available from a film frame long shot and looks very fuzzy. Additionally, a few of the EPISODE III characters from the Republic senate and THE DELEGATION OF 2000 are missing, presumably for space reasons. But these are very minor nit-picks for this quality book.
As the Encyclopedia’s press notes state, it really is everything you ever wanted to know about your favourite STAR WARS characters, who’ve now taken on an iconic life of their own over the last thirty four years, and are up there on a romanticized legendary fiction level with the likes of King Arthur, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes.
Touring the CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA’s encompassing pages is a terrific treat for fans of all ages, produced, as ever, to the usual high quality DK presentation, reproductions and printing, and is of a nice purchase price that won’t damage your wallet…
AFICIONADO RATING: 4 out of 5
Sunday 26 June 2011
In a small ex-garage in Van Nuys, California, sometime during late 1976/early 1977, where an unsuspecting world outside of it has virtually no idea that STAR WARS is on the way, ILM Visual Effects Technician/icon Richard Edlund makes an adjustment to a TIE fighter model prior to blue screen filming.
Saturday 25 June 2011
As Yoda and his arriving Clone Trooper forces make their much welcome appearance and provide cover fire, the core Jedi survivors of the Geonosian arena battle, plus the brave Padme Amidala, make their way to the escape transports in this fantastic and exhilarating action sequence, backed up with fine re-use of John Williams stirring EPISODE I music, for ATTACK OF THE CLONES.
Friday 24 June 2011
Playing one of the few senior officers luckily not strangled by Darth Vader, and despite being on the side of the baddies as an Imperial, popular British actor Kenneth Colley would have a memorable supporting role, enjoyed by STAR WARS fans worldwide, as Admiral Piett in both THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (posing for the above publicity and costume reference image) and RETURN OF THE JEDI-coming back for the latter film because Lucas realised just how popular he'd become as Piett with the fans three years earlier...
Thursday 23 June 2011
Actor Vic Tablian was the eye patched Nazi conspirator in Egypt simply known as Monkey Man, with his partner in crime, the brilliant, Nazi saluting Capuchin Monkey who almost steals the film. Tablian would end up having two roles in RAIDERS. He would also play the villainous Barranca who tried to kill Indy at the beginning of the film, before the discovery of the entrance to the Hovitos warrior tomb/temple.
We'd all seen the pictures before the release of EPISODE II where, within the vast interior of the Jedi Temple Archives, Obi-Wan Kenobi looks on at a bust (one of many showing other historically important Jedi), bearing the visage of Count Dooku, leading to Librarian Jocastu Nu recounting to him (and the audience) how the ex-Jedi Master has become one of the few of a group, intriguingly known as "the Lost Twenty", to have deliberately departed the Jedi Order of their own free will due to differing viewpoints with the colleagues. Sadly, the fascinating scene, which revealed how Dooku's then recent departure had proved a bitter blow to the Council (soon further surprised by his becoming the leader of the ever-growing Separatist Forces against the Republic), disappointingly never making it into the final film.
Here's hoping for either a re-insertion of the footage into the film on Blu-ray or, at least, a welcome appearance in the Deleted Scenes section...
Wednesday 22 June 2011
Celebrating the arrival of their Golden "deity" to the forest of Endor, the Ewoks carve out a wooden throne in his honour and take him to their tree top homestead. The others in Threepio's party aren't so lucky, tied to stakes and carried in a most undignified way by their captors. The majority of this scene, filmed at the Californian Redwoods in April/May 1982, in which the Ewok party traverse a large log/bridge, didn't actually make the final film. It looks as if this scene may be linked to the one and only sequence that famous Stuntman Vic Armstrong actually worked on for JEDI, as he confirmed to AFICIONADO contributor Ian Trussler last month at the launch of his new book on his incredible career in the stunt industry:
"I asked him to say exactly what he did on JEDI and he said he only did the long shot (at ELSTREE) of the heroes being carried on the poles by the Ewoks, he doubled for Harrison/Han as Harrison had a bad back that day.
I then double checked and said, "that was it, you didn't do the Yuma shoot on the skiff?", to which he replied, "Sadly no, I did not do that."
So there you have it. Decades of speculation ended direct from the horses mouth."
For even more detailed info on the making of JEDI, check out our informative and exhaustive special issue, here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO ISSUE 14 - THE MAKING OF "RETURN OF THE JEDI"
Tuesday 21 June 2011
Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi work out their next move whilst trapped in the Force powerful dominion of Mortis in ALTAR OF MORTIS, the second part of writer Christian Taylor's popular Mortis Trilogy fantasy, from the recent THE CLONE WARS Season Three, now officially announced for release by LUCASFILM/WARNER BROTHERS on DVD and high definition Blu-ray this October.
Here's the info: StarWars.com | The Clone Wars Season 3 on Blu-Ray and DVD This October
Monday 20 June 2011
Here's a terrific and evocative piece of art by the late sci-fi talent John Berkey-a favourite illustrator of George Lucas- from sometime between 1976 and 77, showing Rebel X-wing fighters making their attack runs in, out and around the mighty planet killer, the Death Star, from the original STAR WARS. Sadly, this image from Berkey (whose other great film work would include art for KING KONG (1977) and SUPERMAN III (1983)), which was created as part of his commissioned work for the STAR WARS poster campaign, was not eventually used, though one other piece of character/action art (featuring the towering figure of Lord Vader with a defiant Luke, Leia and the droids underneath him) would make the grade as the iconic cover of the UK SPHERE BOOK edition of the movies adaptation in 1977. This Death Star battle art is yet another fine example of the incredible artistic work done for the saga over the last thirty-four years, and its stunning depiction remains indelibly iconic....
Check out more of Berkey's brilliant sci-fi work here: John Berkey Image Gallery
Sunday 19 June 2011
|A duo guaranteed to bring in the masses! Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in COWBOYS & ALIENS. Image: UNIVERSAL PICTURES.|
Here's the first proper poster for the new Ford/Craig/Favreau blockbuster COWBOYS & ALIENS, based on the popular graphic novel, blasting its way into cinemas next month, and COMING SOON.NET has an intriguing new behind the scenes feature from DREAMWORKS/UNIVERSAL PICTURES on the ambitious project here:
Cowboys & Aliens Behind-the-Scenes Featurette Debuts - ComingSoon.net
And watch the most recent third trailer for the film, via THE HUFFINGTON POST website:
'Cowboys And Aliens' New Trailer: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford In Jon Favreau Film (VIDEO)
Finally, some extra TV spots via the James Bond website MI6: James Bond News :: MI6 :: New trailer and TV spots for Daniel Craig's 'Cowboys & Aliens'
Saturday 18 June 2011
Click the pic to fully enjoy this great ultra high res image from ILM for EPISODE II, featuring Obi-Wan and the Kaminoans inspecting the early battalions of Clone Soldiers, which clearly shows the kind of picture quality improvements/difference we should get when the film makes it's debut on Blu-ray in September. Made on digital video from the outset, the Prequel should look even more incredible to look at than ever before and be the closest we'll ever get to seeing how it was meant to be watched from the outset...
Friday 17 June 2011
In a dark and smokey medical chamber of horrors buried deep within the hidden realms of Coruscant, the damaged, deformed and brutalised body of Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, is worked on by a group of droid surgeons and technicians, to be re-imagined as an evil new form of artificial life support systems and heavy metal armour of the blackest, bleakest kind. A rampaging, hate fuelled force for evil will soon emerge, in this classic image from EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH...
Thursday 16 June 2011
Check out the first clip from the upcoming STAR WARS Blu-rays exclusively at PLAY.COM. Ewan McGregor talks about his first experience seeing STAR WARS, and his uncle, Denis Lawson as Wedge, on the big screen. Most of the talk is not new, but the inclusion of un-dubbed previously unseen cockpit footage of Lawson against blue screen, with Lucas off camera providing dialogue exchange as Luke, is terrific. Lawson's voice was dubbed over in STAR WARS and EMPIRE's eventual cinema release (on the former by David Ankrum), but was strong enough to be left intact for RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Lawson was always Lucas's original choice to play Wedge, but was unavailable for the original filming at Shepperton in May 1976, for scenes in the Rebel Briefing Room (with Colin Higgins taking the role). When filming of the cockpit scenes was happening at Elstree by July, he had become available to play the role with Higgins departure. The rest is Classic Trilogy history...
A group of loyal Rebel soldiers prepare to meet heavy Imperial resistance cutting its way into the Blockade Runner in search of the stolen data tapes of the Death Star. In the original script (and comic book), the Stormtroopers blast downwards from the ceiling and into battle-an intriguing image. Though what was finally seen on screen in 1977 with their explosive entrance would prove more than exemplary!
Wednesday 15 June 2011
On the strange but beautiful world of Felucia, a squad of Clone Troopers, prior to ORDER 66, traverse its wilderness en route to a new battle with Separatist forces.
Nazi henchman Toht (Ronald Lacey) makes a dangerous nuisance of himself when he captures Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) in a tense scene from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
Tuesday 14 June 2011
Another lovely ILM image to enjoy from the 1997 SPECIAL EDITION's, this time from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, expanding the locations and beauty of the universe that is the STAR WARS saga, and showing the Millennium Falcon confidently making its way towards one of Bespin's numerous outdoor landing platforms. Not enough was seen of Cloud City's exterior in the final quarter of EMPIRE and this moment/extension is one of several additions that opens things up a bit more.
Could a few more picturesque sequences like this be appearing on the upcoming Blu-ray disc/special features for the film?
Monday 13 June 2011
Their gleaming Naboo craft parked in the not too distant Tatooine landscape (filmed once more on location in Tunisia), Anakin Skywalker, accompanied by Padme Amidala and the trusty Artoo Detoo, arrives at the wilderness boundaries of the Lars Homestead, desperate to find out news of his mother, Shmi.
A picturesque moment, leading to fateful tragedy, from EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES.
Sunday 12 June 2011
|A classic image of Billy Dee Williams as he films a deleted Cloud City scene against blue screen for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.|
So, is something coming up on the STAR WARS front for Billy Dee Williams, who played our favourite Cloud City administrator, Baron Lando Calrissian?
Regular AFICIONADO contributor Chris Baker sent me this intriguing info regarding his recent Phoenix Comic Con Q & A appearance:
A younger fan asked a Q of Billy -
"if he had ever made any or been offered any cameo's in the PT"
- Billy says "ahh, no"
They confer for a moment then his handler/assistant/manager further states that he has to look something up on the Internet but he would like to expand on (or add to) the answer for that fan's Q
A couple of Q's later (in his follow-up) the assistant states that "Sadly, we can't actually say anything because it's a confidentiality thing and it hasn't been announced yet .. But!, if you all keep your eyes on star wars .com you will get what I'm saying in about 30 days I'd imagine.”
Lando would only be in his teens with the onset of the Clone Wars, so might Billy be voicing the characters father in the animated series? Or even a new character? Interesting possibilities to think about. With the new Live Action TV series (when it happens) pretty much removed from the core characters of the six films, it's either THE CLONE WARS or perhaps Seth Green's new animated SW comedy series for LUCASFILM. Time will tell.
Regardless of who he plays, it's just nice to have another Classic Trilogy actor back in action within our favourite saga...
Saturday 11 June 2011
Mark Hamill and Sir Alec Guinness have some behind the scenes fun with Anthony Daniels as See-Threepio and Artoo Detoo in this great shot from the near completion of Tunisian filming on the original STAR WARS in April 1976.
Friday 10 June 2011
The battle damaged golden shell of See-Threepio rests uncomfortably on Chewbacca's furry back-an unlikely duo unique to STAR WARS- as they race to the Bespin landing pad sheltering Boba Fett's about to depart Slave One craft, in this classic race against time moment of comedy and suspense from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Thursday 9 June 2011
As the re-emerged Anakin Skywalker saves his son from the Dark Force energy blasts of Emperor Palpatine, his former Master's energy bolts surround and bombard the once Dark Lord of the Sith servant-with one particular blast hitting a fateful spot, reaching into Vader's helmet and destroying a fragment of his brain...
Despite many STAR WARS fans thinking that the animated bolts hitting Vader's head and exo-skeleton were an addition put on during the SPECIAL EDITIONS re-vamps they were actually on the original 1983 version of RETURN OF THE JEDI all along, but subtly animated in quick as a flash moments- so as not to disturb younger audiences- which you have to pause your VCRs/DVDs to fully see (intriguingly the X-ray image shows a metal neck and shoulders making Vader even more cybernetic than would be seen in EPISODE III in 2005). The bolts were a last minute inclusion to the film asked of ILM's animators by George Lucas,via an insightful suggestion from Ben Burtt, during the final stages of its 1983 post-production.
With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.
For more on the making of JEDI, check out our special issue here: BACK ISSUE PDF CATALOG
Wednesday 8 June 2011
Indy (Harrison Ford) and Marion (Karen Allen) get into trouble once again-this time on the market streets of Cairo (actually shot in Tunisia)- when they are unexpectedly attacked by Nazi sympathisers in this classic scene of memorable comedy and action from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
With several additional/re-shoot scenes filmed in Death Valley, USA in early 1977, as well as a small amount of original footage the year before in Tunisia (the above shot filmed there in STAR WARS CANYON (the large rock, behind the Jawas, was, I'm sure, in the finale of RAIDERS, too!)), here's the classic scene audiences loved upon the films original release, where Artoo is sneakily captured by those little scavengers of the Tatooine desert: the Jawas!
Tuesday 7 June 2011
The ever faithful Artoo Detoo stays by Master Anakin Skywalker's side quite literally in his Jedi Starfighter as they pierce the defences of General Grievous's Invisible Hand cruiser and skid across its landing bay in the opening scenes of EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.
Monday 6 June 2011
|The menace of Vader looms large at the Hollywood Bowl. Images: Curtis Reynolds.|
What a magical evening!
UPDATE: 6/6/2010: THEFORCE.NET have footage of Williams at the concert here:TheForce.Net - Latest News - John Williams Conducts SW In Concert
|Williams enjoys his special appearance.|
|And gets a terrific response from the fans.|
|Lightsabers proudly held high in the audience!|
|The light show continues...|