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Friday, 17 February 2012

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: EMPIRE'S REBEL CAMEOS...


On a blue screen stage at ILM, producer Gary Kurtz tends to the headgear of special effects designer/conceptualist Joe Johnston, whilst director Irvin Kershner confers with matte painter/supervisor Harrison Ellenshaw, both playing Rebel soldiers, for the filming of a last minute insert sequence needed for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, so as to bridge scenes on Hoth leading to the evacuation of our heroes away from Imperial Forces (according to The Making of The Empire Strikes Back book by J. W. Rinzler, a similar moment had previously been shot at Elstree in summer 1979 but was deemed unsuccessful). One of the other lost scenes linked to this sequence, also shot at Elstree, was where Han and Leia trade banter by the Millennium Falcon after its unsuccessful lift-off (a scene where the prop Falcon's landing struts, specially made in Wales, actually moved for their one and only time). The sequence, which ends with Leia giving Han a sarcastic told you so look, ultimately didn't work when seen in either the dailies or in raw edited form, though one still photo of the deleted scene does exist.

This newly filmed sequence with Johnston as the Rebel solider would also feature cameos from matte painter/conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, as General McQuarrie, and Michael Pangrazio as an X-wing pilot.

McQuarrie's matte painting background of the transport ships used for the new scene.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

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