Thursday 31 January 2013


In a deleted scene from EMPIRE, set just before the Vader dinner scene, Lando takes Han, Leia and Chewbacca on an outdoor walkway tour of the Bespin mining colony. Why the scene never made the final cut is unknown-perhaps lack of time and advancing release date pressures at ILM saw it cancelled.

Scene dialogue as from the Marvel Comics adaptation 1980:

Leia: It's a lovely outpost, Lando.

Lando: We're proud of it. The air is quite special here...stimulating. (To Leia) You could grow to like it.

Han: Only until the Falcon's repaired, old buddy. 

Enjoying a scenic tour against blue screen!

Billy Dee Williams on the walkway set at Elstree, just as a technician does some sweeping!

An early Ralph McQuarrie conceptual piece from EMPIRE showing Lando and Leia outside the Bespin mining colony.

Rough concept art by Michael Pangrazio's for his unused 1979 painting for the deleted scene's background.

Wednesday 30 January 2013


Now realised via the miracle of CGI, a concerned Yoda talks to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine about the worrying, building state of trouble concerning the Outer Worlds against the Republic, and a now beleaguered Jedi presence caught in the middle of it all, during an early scene from EPISODE II.

Tuesday 29 January 2013


An intriguing What If? Jodie Foster as Princess Leia from the original STAR WARS. Image composition: Chris Baker.

She kept her stomach butterflies in check whilst swinging across a chasm thirty five feet above a studio floor, would wear two 'Danish buns' on her head with the kind of charm and regalaty no one else could match, and near-confidently used potentially dangerous live firing blanks weaponry with game and gusto within enclosed spaces against heavily costumed can-hardly-see Imperial Stormtroopers rushing against her. The young 19 year old Carrie Fisher would equally show great aplomb when it was discovered that there could be no underwear in space and that her natural assets would have to be reined down with gaffer tape! Additionally, during and between STAR WARS films and filming, she would later fight and re-fight, then control, a deadly bulimic condition and drug induced addiction that she had deliberately, as well as in-deliberately, found herself caught up in, then managed to believably look like she was chained up to a giant super slug creature whilst still oozing tons of on screen sex appeal, in ways that would last for the next twenty five years plus. 

All the above (plus the comedic suffering of having an action figure with a facial likeness more akin with Eddie Munster) to show for herself in her iconic playing of Leia Organa, and yet there'd still be one all powerful anxiety, looming large within her heart and soul, to haunt the ever terrific Carrie Fisher to this day-and one that she will never seemingly get over. That time in April/May 1976, newly arrived in England, when she was absolutely convinced that she wasn’t right to play the soon iconic role of Princess Leia Organa (and had even been told that by one of the STAR WARS crew (presumed to be one of the casting people-whoever it was, shame on you!)), felt she was too fat and that her performance wasn’t right from the get-go-that she would ultimately be replaced by George Lucas and Gary Kurtz with the more popular, seemingly more audience appealing teenage actress Jodie Foster-already a sensation at the age of 12 for her mature performance as the prostitute Iris Steensma in TAXI DRIVER, as well as soon giving an equally superlative performance as the nightclub singer Tallulah in Alan Parker’s 1976 kid’s musical/comedy fantasy BUGSY MALONE (opposite Scott Baio). 

And yet, recent evidence comes to light that Miss Fisher should never have worried about the possibility-that Miss Foster was never, ever going to be in STAR WARS, and that the chances of her having taken the part were about as remote as England, at least so far as by 2009, ever winning another World Cup soccer tournament!!!, as evidence from an issue of the UK’s EMPIRE film magazine (October 2007) unearths some intriguing new information from an interview they conducted with the actress whilst she was promoting her revenge/vigilante movie THE BRAVE ONE,  that will hopefully help shatter and destroy Carrie’s previous anxieties and nightmares that have haunted her to this day (and mentioned numerous times in things like THE EMPIRE OF DREAMS documentary from 1994: “Nope-still too tubby-bring in Jodie Foster!!”).

Here’s the interview section…

EMPIRE (Ian Nathan): If you’d gotten the role of Princess Leia back in 1976, how do you imagine your career would have been different?

FOSTER: So, Carrie Fisher would be doing what I’m doing now? I don’t know. Had I done STAR WARS, first of all, my kids would love me way more –they just love STAR WARS. I do think my mom would have made a really big point for me to go on and do really serious other movies to get out of the whole STAR WARS thing. I’m not sure I would have done the second or third.

EMPIRE: Have you actually ever thought about it?

FOSTER: Never did, because I really didn’t get that close. They offered me the movie and asked my about my availability and I was like, “I’m sorry, I’m not available, I’m under contract at Disney and I can’t do it.”

EMPIRE: Your life could have been so different.

FOSTER; Yeah, it all could have been different. There are all sorts of other ways it could have been different, too. I mean, all the movies that all of us do that could have completely changed your life…But you know what? I only need to have one career. I only need to make the movies that I make and honestly, I don’t think I’m going to be on my deathbed going, like, “Damn! I didn’t do STAR WARS!”

So, it seems that, though Lucas and/or FOX (probably the latter, wanting more familiar stars to appear in the movie) at least talked with Jodie about the possibility of the Leia role early on in Pre-Production, the talented actress would not have been available to play the part anyway. 

Carrie, we hope that you have read this information and can now sleep easily.

You may like it at times, then again you may not, but facts are that you are the definite person/actress to bring Princess Leia to life. No one else could, or ever would, come close to the screen magic you brought to the screen in the STAR WARS Trilogy!

UPDATE - 2012. Christopher Walken, the alternate choice by Lucas for Han Solo, recently revealed in an interview with the British men's style magazine SHORTLIST that he did a test as Han Solo with Jodie Foster.

UPDATE - 2024: Foster talks again about what could have been as Leia:

Monday 28 January 2013


Pesky Trade Federation Droid Starfighters break out to attack a squadron of Naboo fighters in this special ILM publicity composite for EPISODE I.

Sunday 27 January 2013


Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher pose for one of the most famous images in the world from RETURN OF THE JEDI, as Luke and Leia prepare to make another infamous and breathlessly classic swing away from danger: this time departing Jabba's about to explode Sail Barge and onto a waiting skiff piloted by Lando Calrissian. It's a terrific end to an exhilarating action sequence.

This is surely one of my favourites images from the movie, and I'm presenting it in the fullest version possible, so as to preserve the integrity of photographer Ralph Nelson Jr.'s original composition.




Compiled by Scott Weller and Ian Trussler

Gary Kurtz makes an adjustment to a piece of Bacta sheet attached to Mark Hamill's cheek during an April 1979 filmed scene eventually deleted from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Image: KURTZ/JOINER ARCHIVE.

AFICIONADO is transferring over its archive of behind the scenes info onto the blog site. Here's the first-with lots more to come...


In one of the original scripts for STAR WARS, the Imperials on the DEATH STAR monitored Luke, Leia and the gang inside the station as they were trying to make their escape. A small portion of a scene linked to that was partially filmed at ELSTREE in 1976 but never completed for reasons that it was considered over complicating the plot. The partially filmed scene was shot on the DEATH STAR War Room set, with Tarkin and Vader talking in front of it some computer graphic front projection material which was abandoned (an image seen in THE MAKING OF STAR WARS hardback edition book, page 180).

Right from the start of EMPIRE’s filming, Billy Dee Williams was contracted for two films to play Baron Lando Calrissian and was to have been a developing character- they (Kurtz and Lucas) knew they would be doing JEDI as well. The first sequel happened because FOX wanted one-STAR WARS, as has been previously documented, was originally conceived as a stand alone film.

For EMPIRE, the Second Unit stayed for three weeks after the main unit had finished at Finse to complete action scenes/pick ups, although there was one week where they weren’t able to film anything because the weather was too bad.

Prior to the EMPIRE Norway filming (considered the first official principal photography of the movie), there had been reference test footage filming at ELSTREE of sets, costumes, etc.

Unhappy with the face of the Wampa ice creature on location, they did test footage at ELSTREE of another look for the creature (one which saw it more alien, and bearing large insectoid eyes) and some test footage was shot. That facial look was abandoned as it just didn’t look right, in favour of a more organic, realistic looking creature. Later on, Kurtz was not a great fan of the new Wampa scene expanded in the EMPIRE SPECIAL EDITION.

The original KENNER twelve inch figure of Boba Fett was originally to have had far more operating functions and was to have had a remote control unit (a 1978 black and white image exists of Kurtz with the figure and using its remote control). Kurtz was also regularly involved in the decisions regarding the merchandise releases and what was selected.

Originally in the story ideas planned by Lucas and Kurtz for JEDI, Lando accompanied Han on a guerrilla mission against the Empire. In the subsequent battle, Han was killed and Lando, guilt ridden at his not being able to have saved him, left at the story’s end-deciding to set up another colony similar to Bespin. Kurtz knew that Harrison Ford had wanted to be killed off, and the idea of killing Solo off halfway through JEDI, after having been rescued earlier in the film was something that he felt would raise the story stakes for the audience, that they (Lucas and Kurtz) felt it would be a shocking but worthy demise for the character and that it would totally shock and surprise the audience. Carrie Fisher was ultimately disappointed that the original ending for her character in JEDI, as previously told to her by Kurtz-that she would end up being crowned the Queen of the last remnants of her Alderaanian people, didn’t happen in JEDI. And with Luke, well, he pretty much does a solitary figure/Clint Eastwood western-type ending and goes off into the sunset-the only person to appear in the never made EPISODES 7-9 (though there had been ideas to have selected characters previously from 4-6 appear in cameos through the films). Darth Vader would not have died in the original REVENGE OF THE JEDI and the storyline/dynamic of his being Lukes’ father was to have continued in a form ultimately far different than what was to appear in the 1983 movie, and the Emperor was not to have been in the Saga until the ninth, finale, episode. None of the ideas conceived by Lucas/Kurtz for the original REVENGE OF THE JEDI were ever put down on paper as a proper storyline treatment. There were very few notes made for the Prequels when he and Lucas were working on EMPIRE-a few little notes about the Clone Wars and other bits but nothing substantial as far as Kurtz could recall.

The original negatives and masters for the three Classic Trilogy films are all at FOX in California, as, according to Kurtz, LUCASFILM doesn’t have the special storage facilities required to hold them. FOX owns the masters for STAR WARS but LUCASFILM own the masters for EMPIRE and JEDI.

According to Kurtz, the restoration of the STAR WARS TRILOGY SPECIAL EDITIONS for 1997 release saw lots of problems. EMPIRE and JEDI weren't so bad quality wise, but the original STAR WARS was the worse for wear. The full film master negative created for the movie (of which prints are then made (or “struck”) for cinema screenings), which was created from the original 1977 constructed camera negatives, was of poor stock and had deteriorated and was irreparably dirty from constant use for creating prints (of which Lucas/Kurtz were unaware at that time), which made the task of re-mastering the footage on the first film even more difficult, and requiring material used from twelve different varying quality Technicolour theatrical print copies of the film (many of which were also suffered numerous types of wear and tear from constant runs through theatre projectors over the seven years or more that the film was shown at the cinemas) to aid in the restoration. In some parts of the SPECIAL EDITION of STAR WARS some scenes are grainy because they apparently had to create new footage taken from a duplicate print of the original film material-hence the loss of quality- rather than from the master negative which had deteriorated.

It was Kurtz who helped push LUCASFILM for the release of the laserdisc transfers (sadly non-anamorphic) of the original unaltered films from 1977, 1980 and 1983-the only way to currently officially see them- onto release on DVD in 2006 as an extra alongside each revised SPECIAL EDITION.

Kurtz was able to appear at CELEBRATION IV in 2007 as he had business in the US and was able to make a surprise appearance for several panels. He quite enjoyed the event and is still very surprised at just how popular STAR WARS is and how it’s endured.

Kurtz has assisted J. W. Rinzler with the upcoming THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK book out next year, giving the author some detailed behind the scenes information and photo material from his own collection.

He is currently trying to get finance for his upcoming Russian soldier-themed World War II film.

The EPISODE III Chewbacca looks like he's having a bad day!


Two sets of Wookiee costumes and masks were created for each Original Trilogy movie. Sometimes there was a case of mix and match of mask and body suit depending on the day to day condition/cleanliness/preparation of the costumes.

At CELEBRATION EUROPE, esteemed British make-up artists Stuart and Kay Freeborn, in wheelchairs, attended the event and had a special picture taken with Australian Prequel make-up artists/creature creators Dave and Lou Elsey (who created a new Wookiee costume for Chewie in EPISODE THREE), with Peter in the middle of the group. Mayhew enjoyed seeing the Freeborn’s again after such a long time, and having the photo taken.


Presumably only his second UK signing appearance, Hugh revealed that he didn’t appear in ATTACK OF THE CLONES because he didn’t want to come on to it without seeing a script beforehand, and LUCASFILM were adamant on his being ready to film on specific dates he, at that time, couldn’t yet confirm or commit to.


Lively as ever despite being in a wheelchair (of which Hugh Quarshie maneuvered him around the convention at one point), Baker revealed that, during the Tunisia 1976 filming of STAR WARS, he spent a day off from shooting in the company of Sir Alec Guinness and his wife Merula, traveling with them in their car to various travel sites. Baker was present when Merula had her artwork of a local area confiscated by a tribe of Bedouins (a family of about fifteen) who objected to her painting an image that they had deemed holy to them. This was the only day that Baker really got to know Sir Alec during the filming and said he was he was a lovely man.

Hilariously, at the events all too brief (perhaps mercifully brief, actually) and unprofessionally arranged STAR WARS guest talk, Kenny was asked if he ever actually farted within the droid costume at any time!!!-surely a question that would never get past the CELEBRATION convention management in the US, though Kenny did humorously respond with something I sadly didn’t hear as the dealer hall area enclosure around us was too loud!!


She played the part of one of Padme’s handmaidens in the yellow dresses at the end of the film (shot during last minute pick ups at LEAVESDEN) because they couldn’t get a lot of the original actresses, who played the Handmaidens from the original first part of shooting, back for the new filming. She fit one of the costumes, so she instantly joined the cast. We gather Nick Gillard also played one of the handmaidens, or “Standmaidens” as they were called, for similar reasons.

Jake Lloyd and his family enjoy London-it’s very much considered a second home to them what with all the filming they did here for EPISODE ONE. This was Lisa’s first UK signing.


Sebastian was at the Con signing pictures of himself in THE PHANTOM MENACE as a Blue Senate Guard but it was as another role that he spent most of his time on EPISODE ONE. He spent six week in June/July of 1997 filming at LEAVESDEN studios as a Battle Droid. As one of ten other guys he was dressed each day in a white jump suit and fitted with a head piece to resemble a Battle Droid and also to help the other actors with their eyeline.

A childhood fan of the saga, landing work on the first of the Prequels was a huge deal for Sebastian. At the time he had already done a fair amount of extra work on films but was starting to move more into production work, making his own short films.

He remembers the EPISODE ONE set being a very relaxed place and recalls mixing with the main stars, noting that Natalie Portman in particular was very laid back and friendly. Between takes he would often sit and watch the monitors playing back footage as George Lucas reviewed different takes.

After his original stint in 1997 he was surprised to be called back in August 1998 to film pick up shots at LEAVESDEN for two days. This time he filmed the role of the Senate Guard that escorts Senator Palpatine upon his arrival back on Naboo just prior to the end ceremony. He remembers the two days being extremely hot with the heat only being made worse by the very heavy Senate Guard helmet and heavy velvet cloak he spent all day in.

On screen, Sebastian actually appears alongside himself as on the set he was the only Guard, so ILM duplicated him and Palpatine is flanked by Sebastian and his duplicated self as he exits the Cruiser to greet Queen Amidala.

LFCC was only Sebastian’s second convention appearance and his first in his native UK. His first was in Japan, a couple of years back, where he appeared alongside his friend and fellow Battle Droid stand in, Tom Sanderson.

Since doing EPISODE ONE, Sebastian has done occasional film work, notably ALEXANDER with Oliver Stone, and the Paul Bettany/ Kirsten Dunst movie WIMBLEDON.These days he runs an Art School and still pursues his film production work.

Saturday 26 January 2013


Director J.J. Abrams.
So now it's finally confirmed: J.J. Abrams, wunderkid behind TV's LOST, FRINGE and REVOLUTION, having resurrected PARAMOUNT's STAR TREK franchise to new heights of box office success with the re-imagined Classic Series films, as well as bringing nostalgia with his monster movie SUPER 8, is taking the directorial reins for EPISODE VII. It's going to be a big responsibility for the film-maker-already a devout WARS fans to his heart and soul-but the launch of the new saga is surely in a very safe pair of hands. Though, as a Classic TREK fan, too, it's a bit of a shame that Gene Roddenberry's equally legendary opus has now lost the man who gave it it's cinematic mojo back, primarily in its re-execution and visualisation (though PARAMOUNT will be keeping his talents on the producing front for the eventual third film).

Speaking of mojos, despite the overall often undeserved critical mauling the Prequels got, I never thought that STAR WARS had lost its touch as the world's number one sci-fi and fantasy saga, and certainly not its box office power on generations of audiences. Just like the build-up to 1999's THE PHANTOM MENACE, EPISODE VII has the kind of expectant audience goodwill, especially with the news of Abrams joining, to send anticipation and box office receipts for DISNEY into the stratosphere...

Congratulations, Mister Abrams. Now, "Lights, Camera, ACTION!"

Official LUCASFILM release: Star Wars Is Being Kick-Started with Dynamite | StarWars.com

Friday 25 January 2013


Disheveled from the Force blow sent against him by Master Yoda, the Emperor, within the secure and private confines of the Senate Chamber underbelly, prepares for a new attack, in a classic moment from EPISODE III.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

Thursday 24 January 2013


Lightsaber still activated, Darth Vader walks through the Carbon Freezing Chamber on Bespin, thinking that his prey, presumably Luke Skywalker (above left, in some kind of storage cylinder), has been captured in his trap. An early concept idea by Ralph McQuarrie from late 1978 or early 1979 for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


An ILM technician has a check of the specially constructed set portion of the Wampa lair on Hoth, and its bony remains nearby, for filming of additional scenes for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: SPECIAL EDITION, featuring the beast chomping on a meaty snack before turning its attentions to Luke Skywalker.

Wednesday 23 January 2013


Sir Alec Guinness: the definitive Ben Kenobi.

With the news of its upcoming September release, I'm genuinely looking forward to reading John Jackson Miller's no doubt epic novel charting Obi-Wan Kenobi's self-exile as "Old Ben" out in the Dune Seas of the harsh Tatooine desert. James Luceno did a fine job charting his previous arrival on Tatooine, where EPISODE III ended, in Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, illustrating his new status to the locals at Anchorhead and Mos Eisley as a crazy old man talking to himself (when he was actually conversing with Qui-Gon Jinn in the Force) all the while the Empire began hunting down other fugitive Jedi across the galaxy. Kudos also to Ryder Windham, who added some additional fine meat in his biography The Rise and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but this should prove the definitive tome of the popular Jedi Knight in the lead-up to EPISODE IV, of which I'm also rather envious- it's something deep down that I've always wanted to write myself...

A new life whilst protecting a new hope. STAR WARS: KENOBI, coming soon...


An atmospheric promotional shot of the looming Clone War army emerging from the dusk of Geonosis, making their debut in 2002's ATTACK OF THE CLONES- at first considered a force for good, despite their mysterious origins, they would later become a terrible force for evil spread out across the universe.

Tuesday 22 January 2013


George Lucas, with support from British crewmen Assistant Director Anthony Waye (varying scale producer of many James Bond movies from the eighties onwards, including work on the recent SKYFALL) and Camera Operator Ronnie Taylor, lines up a shot for location filming in Tunisia, sometime in March/April 1976.

Monday 21 January 2013


Pretty much all of the main cast of EPISODE ONE gather for continued top secret filming on the blue screened Coruscant landing platform set at London's Leavesden Studios during Summer 1997.

Sunday 20 January 2013


Here are the reasonably successful photo montage covers for the 2006 DVD releases that had the special "bonus discs" of the unaltered Original Trilogy: non-anamorphic transfers of the laserdisc masters from the mid-nineties. Here's hoping that anamorphic, un-enhanced versions of our favourite films will eventually, finally be released on Blu-ray by an even more commercially exploitative LUCASFILM/DISNEY for the saga's eventual Fortieth Anniversary in 2017. Fingers crossed!