Sunday, 3 March 2013




Ever on the hunt for more information on the missing scenes of the STAR WARS SAGA, STAR WARS AFICIONADO managed to discover some fascinating new gems at CELEBRATION IV that we thought people would REALLY want to know about…

Commander Praji (George Roubicek) gives Darth Vader important information in STAR WARS.


Playing Commander Praji in A NEW HOPE (the Imperial character who tells Vader of the escape pod jettisoning down to Tatooine), the veteran British film and television actor, in only his second convention appearance, revealed that he had worked on the film for three days in total (of which one day was spent waiting in his dressing room and not being used at all!!). He also recalled that the filming of his scenes was very fast and that the crew were under great pressure to get it all done, with the white corridor wall set behind him, whilst talking to Vader and actor Al Lampart, being so delicate that you couldn’t get too near it or lean against it in case it fell down!! Additionally, due to time factors, no stills photographs of his character were taken on set (the reason why his autograph picture is from a high quality screen grab). The big news, however, was his revelation that he had additional sequences to the one seen on screen, including a death scene on the Blockade Runner which was filmed!!! Our good friend Skot at STARWARSHOLIDAYSPECIAL.COM confirmed to me at the convention that he had previously seen storyboards on the Blockade Runner in which a hidden Rebel soldier/s pops out of hiding and guns down an Imperial Stormtrooper/s. Could this scene have been filmed and involved Commander Praji? It seems the most likely explanation. A shot was recently unearthed in STAR WARS INSIDER which showed Vader watching three captured Rebels (one injured and being supported by his colleagues) being escorted away by Stormtroopers-could this have been part of that scene-could a small hidden group of Rebel soldiers carried on the fight before the Blockade Runner was totaled by the Imperials?

Asking Roubicek if he played one of the officers who watched the escape pod blasting away from the Blockade Runner, the actor replied that he wasn’t in this scene with the now revealed John Forgeham, so that means there is one unidentified actor, whose face isn’t seen, in that sequence.

Anthony Forrest filming his additional scene as a Stormtrooper in Tunisia for STAR WARS.


One of the main highlights of the convention was meeting Anthony Forrest, who played both Fixer (during filming at Tunisia and Elstree) and an Imperial Stormtrooper (at Djerba for the scene where they stop Luke and his party in the Landspeeder).

Now a film producer, Forrest’s recollections of the STAR WARS filming were impressive and highly detailed and he was an excellent convention guest. On the cut scenes side, Forrest revealed that, for the scene where Fixer, Camie and Biggs follow Luke outside Toshi station and check out the sky, where Biggs debunks Luke’s theories of an overhead space battle, that the sequence continued on inside the Toshi power station afterwards and that it didn’t just end with Camie casually throwing the binoculars back to an offended Luke.

Of the previous introduction sequence, in which Luke is re-united with Biggs, Garrick Hagon would also reveal that the sequence wasn’t just filmed in wide shot-that there were also filmed insert shots of Biggs, Deak and Windy playing the intergalactic pool game as well.

Of the Stormtrooper scene shot in Djerba, Forrest revealed exclusively at CELEBRATION that he played the lead Stormtrooper who is given the Jedi mind trick by Ben Kenobi. Basically, his playing the part was a last minute thing as Guinness decided that he wanted to act opposite another actor in the Stormtrooper costume rather than a Tunisian extra. In a quick piece of thinking, Lucas asked a sun bathing Anthony Forrest at the hotel if he would don the Stormtrooper costume as a favour to him and Sir Alec Guinness. Forrest was only too happy to oblige for the scene. The only problem being that the Stormtrooper costumes shoulder and shoulder pad sections were extremely heavy, weighing down on his sun burnt shoulders inside the costume. Forrest also recalls how raw and uncomfortable the Stormtrooper costumes were then, with very rough inside edges (Robert Watts, also at CELEBRATION IV, would later go on to state that the Stormtrooper costumes built by people like the 501 LEGION were much better than anything built for the actual STAR WARS films!!)

Luke confers with Wedge (Colin Higgins) about attacking the Death Star in STAR WARS. Image: KURTZ/JOINER ARCHIVE.


As AFICIONADO first revealed way back in 2004, long before Pablo Hidalgo unearthed the information on STARWARS.COM, British actor Colin Higgins played Wedge first and was later replaced by Denis Lawson. This has now been fully confirmed with Higgins first US convention appearance at CELEBRATION IV. He also revealed that, through his own fault, he was fired from the STAR WARS set back in 1976. Being a tv actor, the young actor was inexperienced and unused to both the process of feature film-making and the language of American film scripts (and especially a script with the nature of STAR WARS, with all its technical jargon and fantasy universe descriptions), finding himself very insecure (at one point throwing up through nerves at all the problems of filming). Not correctly saying a part of his dialogue scenes with Mark Hamill (of which the actor, who had more lines than was seen in the finished movie, was unused to American parts of the dialogue), requiring several re-takes, Higgins, who was not able to speed up his line delivery for the filming (a problem that also apparently affected Alex McCrindle when playing his scenes as General Dodonna), would un-knowingly cause the film-makers a valuable loss of time and money on re-shooting, leading them to make the decision of not recalling him back to the July filming of his characters scenes in the X-Wing fighter cockpit, and replacing him with Denis Lawson instead.

Despite his enjoying the sets and costumes and the overall epic sense of the production, as well as liking the company of Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, Higgins would also cause further accidental upset when, being one of the speaking part actors, was incorrectly thought to be a background artist when he entered the actors food line during lunch break. With the angry extras, who had their own separate food line, thinking he was a background artist as well (who shouldn’t be in the same food line as the speaking part actors), the situation would also cause further friction between them, Higgins, and certain members of the production team.

Seeing the completed film at a London cast and crew preview screening in 1977, Higgins would be thrilled at how good the film was, but decidedly upset at the problems he had encountered during the 1976 filming-a situation which prevented him from making appearances at STAR WARS events until very recently.

Mace Windu (Sam Jackson) in his office. A deleted scene moment from EPISODE II.


With his immense work on the STAR WARS Prequels, the STAR WARS AFICIONADO team were looking forward to seeing what intriguing photos and clips the effects producer would reveal in his presentation. And he certainly didn’t disappoint in that respect-the main presentation being of the photos he had taken during the Prequel filming, of which several shots were cut scenes. Notable highlights Mace’s office from ATTACK OF THE CLONES, an intriguing action shot of Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting over head battle droids magnetized to the ceiling on the bridge of the Invisible Hand for REVENGE OF THE SITH (later seen on the deleted scenes Blu-ray in 2011), and a shot of Padme wearing her famous deleted white head covering on Tatooine before departing for Geonosis, and wearing the same head gear for her arrival within the Genosian Plaza with Anakin (in the originally filmed sequence before the Droid conveyor belt action scene replaced it).

1 comment:

Rich Banks said...

I see an "oops", Wedge was played by Denis Lawson, ironically he's also Ewan McGregor's uncle(!) how kool is that? Cheers