Tuesday, 12 March 2013


JEDI-CON 2008 (Germany)


Compiled by Scott Weller


He’s tried on one of the surviving Darth Vader costumes at LUCASFILM-one of the originals first worn by Dave Prowse.

With regards to some of the props sold recently in auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christies, Sansweet and LUCASFILM are very dubious as to whether the items being sold, especially from the first STAR WARS, are genuine. For a start, a lot of the items sold, if they are real, were stolen from the STAR WARS film set, whilst things like the recent Obi-Wan cloak may be fake-Sansweet revealed that the stitching of the cloth in the cloak that they have at LUCASFILM is different to the one sold in auction. LUCASFILM do check the items and warn the auction houses about selling possible fakes but beyond that there isn’t much they can do about it. Prop buyers beware!!

Despite it’s thirtieth anniversary, the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL DVD will never, ever be released on DVD or any format, according to Sansweet. It’s just too awful-Sansweet hasn’t seen it for a while. Lucas apparently tried to watch it recently but gave up-he said it was just too awful to watch as well. (NOTE: The respectable cartoon segment would fortunately see the light of day in the 2011 Blu-ray release)

Asked by me whether we’ll ever see any Original Trilogy cut scenes on DVD, Sansweet replied that they are working on them at the moment-an archivist is finding them, cataloging them, and they are being restored for an eventual release (they are waiting to see what happens with BLUE-RAY and other advances in technology before they make any future decisions on STAR WARS DVD releases). Sansweet says that there are cut scenes that even he wasn’t aware of. (NOTE: Classic and Prequel Trilogies deleted scenes finally arrived on Blu-ray in 2011!)

The upcoming CLONE WARS animated movie is indeed the first three episodes put together-though there is a special beginning section newly created to launch the story (later called The New Padawan)-originally it was planned that you would start in the TV series in the middle of an adventure (a la STAR WARS) but this was changed by Lucas for the theatrical versions. As well as standalone episodes, there will be two and three part episodes. There will not be future CLONE WARS animated films as far as Sansweet is aware-it is a one-off to help launch the 22 episode series. They are currently projecting three seasons of the animated show, of which work has already begun on three to four episodes of Series Two already. The current projection for the live-action series is still 100 episodes, of which it is hoped the third series of the CLONE WARS will be airing at around the same time.

There will eventually be complete soundtracks for EPISODES II and III. Basically, when the original CD albums were released, Williams specially selected the tracks that he wanted on them to represent the film. LUCASFILM have to wait a period and then they'll hopefully be able to quietly persuade him to give permission to have the whole lot released. The same with the INDY scores as well, as LUCASFILM would also like to see them released.

A rare costume test image of Boba Fett from EMPIRE.


Though the original armour was heavy on set for filming, his shoe wear was very soft, allowing him to move/glide along the floor quite easily whilst playing the part.

Some time ago he visited LUCASFILM to see his original Boba Fett costume (which, though created for EMPIRE, was later given a new paint job for his appearance in RETURN OF THE JEDI).

"You Rebel scum!" The legend that is Barrie Holland, as Lt. Renz in RETURN OF THE JEDI.


Holland, got his part in JEDI after having worked with Richard Marquand on a scene that was eventually altered/cut from the director’s previous film, EYE OF THE NEEDLE (Holland liked Marquand very much). Filming the “You Rebel Scum” scene, Holland also enjoyed working with David Tomblin, the First Assistant Director, who helped to choreograph with him the way that his character’s stood and how he held his gun towards Han and Leia. Holland found Ford and Fisher to be very nice off set. Taking two days to shoot, originally, the seven Stormtroopers alongside him (though only six are seen on screen) took out a black Rebel sentry by the main door, but the scene was cut-the finished film just shows them running into the small Bunker command room (NOTE: the majority of this filmed sequence has gone onto appear on 2011 Blu-ray). Holland’s line of dialogue is apparently him speaking-he says he wasn’t dubbed, and saw the British sound editor at ELSTREE manipulating his voice recording. Holland is also in the line-up of officers when Vader arrives at the Death Star II for the first time.

He also appeared in the Obi-Wan Night Club scenes at the beginning of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, playing one of the party guests. His scenes were sadly cut, though his foot can be seen on screen-he’s the one that kicks the vial away from Kate Capshaw on the dance floor, just as she is about to get hold of it. The scene had to be carefully choreographed so that Kate didn’t get hurt on set.


The company now has access to 2,000 new images from the STAR WARS movies, of which they select the images directly from the LUCASFILM vaults- a vast majority of these new images being black and white, which they will be making available very soon. More black and white behind the scenes image portfolios ARE planned, including the special MEN BEHIND THE MASK set, with very rare images (including two main tasters I saw involving Prowse and Bulloch behind the scenes un-helmeted at ELSTREE, and a shot of Chris Parson in his protocol Droid costume on the Rebel Command Centre set for EMPIRE)- from what we’ve seen as a little taster, this set is going to be very cool indeed, and Jeremy Bulloch is most looking forward to signing for these new pics at the Denver convention (where, we believe, he’ll also be wearing THE DENTED HELMET’s specially built new Fett at the event.).The future for purchasing STAR WARS photos is starting to look even rosier....

Apparently, there is less black and white photography on JEDI than the others films. Ben Stevens reckons that there were about 8 to 9 photographers on STAR WARS, around 5 on EMPIRE, and 2 on JEDI (the information on JEDI is incorrect; at least four were present- we know that Frank Connor, Ralph Nelson Jr., Albert Clarke and Keith Hamshere took pics on set and location).

OFFICIALPIX have the license for CLONE WARS ANIMATED SERIES and the LIVE ACTION SERIES, as well as trusty old INDY.

Robert Watts on location with the Wampa hand in Norway for EMPIRE. Image: courtesy Robert Watts.


In pre-production for STAR WARS, Watts visited the Van Nuys warehouse to see John Dykstra about the upcoming visual effects. When an excited Dykstra, explaining the technology involved, had finished speaking he was perplexed by the lack of excitement shown by Watts. When Dykstra asked why he wasn’t excited, Watts replied that he didn’t know what he had been talking about! Such was the then complexity of the motion control set-up!!

On all of the three STAR WARS films he worked on, Robert Watts’s kids often visited the sets and filming on certain days. When they were 11, 9 and 6 they visited the STAR WARS Cantina Set and saw some of the filming.

For EMPIRE, it was Watts who initiated the critical decision of getting Harrison Ford to Finse. Originally, it was planned to shoot the blizzard scene at ELSTREE, but with a real blizzard taking place at the Finse location, and knowing that it will be difficult to make a believable blizzard work in a studio, Watts makes new arrangements. 

The lost interior scene in JEDI of Luke building his lightsaber was never filmed, according to Robert Watt’s knowledge in 2008. (NOTE: though it has since controversially resurfaced in a completed form on the 2011 Blu-ray).

At Elstree, the filming in the restrictive Sail Barge interior was so hot it was warmer than any filming in Yuma.

The scene of him and Richard Marquand playing officers in the Imperial Scout Walker in JEDI was an insert filmed at ILM, and took about an hour to shoot. It was a very enjoyable experience for them. The Ben Burtt scene of him as an Imperial Officer in the Bunker was also shot and added onto the film as an insert in the US.

At the end of filming, Watts was given an original Ralph McQuarrie painting of Vader, Luke and Imperial Dignitaries in the DEATH STAR Docking bay. In real terms today, according to Steve Sansweet, if sold it would probably fetch $100,000.

Of the six films that he worked on for Lucas, Watts favourite filming experience was on RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. He loved the whole adrenaline rush of getting the movie done and that energy is clearly visible on screen. Having not worked with Spielberg previously, Watts was originally shocked when the director had him half the shooting day allocation (as Spielberg didn’t want to over-run on filming as he ha done on his flop movie 1941)-a surprised Watts asked Lucas if this was all okay and Lucas said fine-to let Spielberg have free rein.

One of the Ugnaught workers from EMPIRE.


The Ugnaught masks were quite interchangeable, so Mike Edmonds is not always the same character during the ELSTREE filming of the Bespin scenes. The actor found operating Jabba’s tail on JEDI to be an enjoyable experience and didn’t feel restricted in the costume at all-he thought there was plenty of space to operate in.


The original costume for the Whiphid creature for film testing was also worn by Dry on a very cold January day in 1982, at 6am in the morning. Adjustments to the face mask were later made by the creature shop to the creature we saw in the final film.

In all, Dry was on the film on and off for four weeks, with four days on the Sail Barge interior set and about 2 weeks on the Jabba Throne Room set. Though it’s a well known fact that the actor is bored of people asking him if it was hot in the costume, Dry was the first to tell this writer that it was hot in the costume whilst filming!! A victim of his own paradox!! A part of the eighties group TIK ‘N TOCK, he and music partner Sean Crawford, also one of the Puppet actors in the Throne Room/Sail Barge interior scenes, would practice movements and rehearse music in between breaks. In the ELSTREE dressing room they would also play practical jokes on fellow cast and crew mates.

The original Death Star model being lit for filming at ILM.


Early weapons for use in STAR WARS, that weren’t actually adapted real weapons (bought in from the Baptize armourers company in the UK (of which sixteen props were discovered un-catalogued several years back at the company in their original condition), were made from Resin moulds, like the Rebel blasters seen in the opening sequence on the Blockade Runner.

General Madine’s beard, worn by Dermot Crowley in JEDI, was fake and, having been sold off by Stuart Freeborn previously, currently exists in private hands.

Darth Vader’s decapitated hand and lightsaber from JEDI currently resided in the vast prop collection of American film fan Bob Burns, a friend of Lucas’s since the 1970’s.

Lopez owns the original ILM built/McQuarie detail painted DEATH STAR model used in the first STAR WARS. 


In Finse during the 1979 filming of EMPIRE, a stuntman (Colin Skeaping) was injured when he fell from the grappling hook lifted by a helicopter representing the moment where Luke leaps up into the belly of the Walker. He recovered quickly enough to do the stunt a successful second time.

With thanks to Chris Baker for selected images.

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