Saturday 31 August 2013


John Alvin's adrenaline French STAR WARS FAN CLUB art for the equally on-screen adrenaline pod race from EPISODE I- still one of the all-time great sequences handled by ILM ever to be seen in a blockbuster movie. Looking forward to seeing what the company and J.J. Abrams will be doing to try and top such premiere league STAR WARS action/adventure sequences with EPISODE VII onwards...

Friday 30 August 2013


At the Lars Homestead, Luke and Threepio watch as the Jawas tend to the smoking, malfunctioning "Red" R5-D4, in a classic scene from STAR WARS. In Brian Daley's radio adaptation of the classic film, it was R2-D2, on his "important mission", who ultimately sabotaged his droid rival in order to be chosen by Luke Skywalker and accompany Threepio.


The search for the lost Thirteenth Tribe of humanity, located on the faraway planet of Earth, continues for the heroes of the classic BATTLESTAR GALACTICA TV series from 1978, created by Glen A. Larson in the wake of STAR WARS worldwide success, and brought to visual effects reality by those stellar pioneers from the original ILM, headed up by John Dykstra, with designs from Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston.

The Blu-ray of the series epic pilot, originally released in truncated form theatrically in England, Europe and Canada, finally makes it way to UK shores in a well-deserved Blu-ray release this October from UNIVERSAL, as the series celebrates its 35th Anniversary. Check out the review on our sister site: KOOL TVKOOL TV REVIEW: 'BATTLESTAR GALACTICA' - THE 1978 THEATRICAL MOVIE (BLU-RAY)

Get hold of it here: Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray 1978 Region Free: Lorne Greene, Dirk Benedict, Ray Milland, Jane Seymour, Richard Hatch, Terry Carter, Maren Jensen, Noah Hathaway, Tony Swartz, Lew Ayres, John Colicos, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ed Begley Jr, Richard A. Colla, Donald P. Bellisario: Film & TV

Thursday 29 August 2013


A terrific blink and you'll miss it angle from EPISODE III showing the Separatist leader slaughterhouse of the Mustafar control room, courtesy of Dark Side follower Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader- now in combat with once friend and mortal enemy Obi-Wan Kenobi.

▶ Star Wars It's All For Real: The Stunts Of Episode III Featurette Part 1 - YouTube



Published in the UK by SUNBIRD

Reviewed by Scott Weller

“That is one ugly bug!”  - Commander Cody

Having just about won their first prior decisive victory of the legendary Clone Wars against the planet Geonosis, and its disgusting insect creature race: greedy and power mad weapons makers that rule their worlds barren, hostile desert wilderness, the Jedi Knights-the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy- are now forced to return to that forsaken location, which previously cost them the lives of almost 200 slain in battle Jedi, with the secret news, obtained from Senator Padme Amidala, that the hideous race have now rearmed themselves with new, even greater technological firepower and droid battalions, moving them into a position that could prove a new threat if re-allianced with the also vast Separatist forces currently in existing conflict within the Republic. With their resources already stretched thin, and only a handful of battle groups to fight alongside them, never has there been a more dangerous time for our Jedi heroes to quash this new insurgence, as witnessed in the superb photostory events of the excellent new SUNBIRD activity book release of LEGACY OF TERROR, comprising the visual excitement of the two very popular CLONE WARS episodes from George Lucas’s worldwide animated hit series: Weapons Factory and Legacy of Terror. Now, fans young and old can relieve the classic action packed moments from the season two tales in this wonderful photo novel, getting totally immersed within it in an all new dimension, and where you can close in on the animation and see all the richness and depth of detail seen on screen, some of which can only be seen on TVs for a few seconds at a time, within the new STAR WARS visual universe, which, thanks to Animation Director Dave Filoni and his technology stretching teams, delightfully expands upon the films created by George Lucas.
And, as well as or returning favourites, like the all-time hero Anakin Skywalker (prior to donning the evil mask of Darth Vader), and his trusty young Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, we also get to see more new Jedi characters introduced into the animated format for readers to enjoy, including the tough but logical Luminara Unduli and her own Padawan learner, who possesses a unique gift for her mental and physical healing skills: Barriss Offee. As the four friends-the ultimate soldiers for peace- work together with their trusty, battle hardened Clone Troopers to initiate a dangerous plan to destroy the stronghold of the Geonosian leader, the slippery Poggle the Lesser, they then join with the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi on a hunt for the insectoid when he evades captures and enters the dark, unexplored underground regions of its world, a convenient place in which to elude pursuit, of which rumours persist holds the dominion of a far greater threat to the Jedi and the Republic at large: the scary Geonosian Queen herself, allied with her unstoppable zombie servants. With Luminara now captured and ready to become one of the undead serving the Queen-her mind ready to be absorbed by the enemy host- can her Jedi friends rescue her in time?
Enjoy the camaraderie and bravura of our heroes, the wickedness of the diabolical villains, the horror of the alien catacombs, the excitement of the lightsaber battles, the Cloone Troopers skilled offensives, and the all round thrills and spills of the Jedi’s ultimate battle to re-take and control Geonosis and its inhabitants once and for all!
And then, beyond the visual excitement, immerse yourself into the fun of play with a whole host of games, puzzles, mazes, word searches and visual tests to hone in your abilities as the next great Jedi. You know you can do it! And when you’ve succeeded, go ahead and award/indulge yourself with the lovely four pages of terrific colourful characters, logo and episode scenes sticker illustrations-eighty in all- within in the books middle section.
Whatever you’re looking for in an activity book to keep you going up until Xmas and beyond, this is the one for you. And keep your lightsabers ready in watch for the Geonosians –they may fly down and try and take this exciting publication for themselves!

AFICIONADO RATING: Great fun for kids and kidults! 3.5 out of 5

Wednesday 28 August 2013


Han and Chewie might be miserable at their upcoming feeding to the Sarlaac Pit, on this dust ball of Tatooine, but Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker is not quite so doom-laden. His alternate plan of battle and escape from Jabba the Hutt is moving towards end game now, and he has several aces still up his sleeve-including the disguised Lando Calrissian on the skiff with them.

A lovely piece by stellar STAR WARS artist Chris Trevas from RETURN OF THE JEDI, via the kind people at the RETRO STAR WARS and STAR WARS ARCHIVES FACEBOOK pages.


Outside the Empire Leicester Square for the wonderful six-film STAR WARS CELEBRATION DAY of 2005. Images: Ian Trussler.

In a sly and damaging act of business stupidity, the legendary and centrepiece Screen One of the iconic EMPIRE LEICESTER SQUARE Cinema in the West End of London, which had one of the best picture and sound systems in the country (and the comfiest seating!), is being demolished this week and turned into two smaller cinemas- its a truly absurd move, considering that there are are already three or four small mezzanines within the building anyway, one of which you might as well save £17.50 on, stay at home and wait for the film you want to see to come on TV- it's that small!

Its demise is the end of an era, and the decision was apparently made in such an underhand way that no one was able to launch a petition or take their ire to the management before it was too late. Now only the London IMAX at Waterloo and the ODEON Leicester Square remain if you want to see a proper, BIG 70mm/Digital film experience in the main heart of the West End.

A very early 7am start inside the cinema-soon packed to the rafters.

I'll forever have happy memories of Screen One: 1978/79 was my first experience (when I saw the two original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA movies there (in Sensurround no less!) and a re-release of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (and the standout "acid trip" finale on the big screen- I found it a little scary and strangely overwhelming!). I was there the week it reopened with improved sound and accompanying lightshow in 1989 for INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (having had a superb Royal Premiere a few days before), and attending glitzy celebritiy premieres of three STAR TREK movies, as well as a special five movie screening. Beyond the many other movies I've seen there, with regards to STAR WARS, it wasn't until 2005 that the cinema had the rare and quite extraordinary opportunity to screen all six of them in one go -and they looked bloody terrific on Screen One, especially the sound design for EPISODE I and the digital projection of EPISODE II. It was the only cinema in London that truly deserved to have these films, and I was surprised it took so long for it to happen. Now, it'll likely never happen again...

Shame on you, EMPIRE Cinemas, shame on you, for putting a dagger through such an important cinema, and for tarnishing your past and future legacy for both yourselves and filmgoers...

Voice your unhappiness somewhere on their FACEBOOK page: Empire Leicester Square

Empire Cinemas Won't Talk About The Fact They're Destroying Their Monumental Screen One Tomorrow

Tuesday 27 August 2013


In dogged pursuit of an escaping Imperial Scout Trooper, Luke Skywalker accelerates through the Endor forest in his acquired speeder bike- a classic highlight action sequence from RETURN OF THE JEDI.


And so we come to Numero Uno of STAR WARS AFICIONADO's THE CLONE WARS Opening Season favourites. So many highlight episodes to consider, with so many highlights scenes. But it would be the series tenth episode, still making an impression five years on, that generates the most impact- the series then most dark and brutal episode yet, giving the series a more sophisticated and atmospheric palette to its storytelling. EPISODE III monster General Grievous finally gets the spotlight in the darkly macabre story, which is also a subtle morality tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely: the fan-favourite Lair of Grievous.

1. Atsushi Takeuchi. One of Japan's rising star mechanical designers and anime directors, Takeuchi's sadly one and only (so far?) foray into the STAR WARS universe is a triumph- full of dark, foreboding atmosphere and building dread within its great angles and fast paced visual storytelling (alongside another winning script from then story editor Henry Gilroy, who has the great idea of not having our main Jedi characters present, instead bringing in other not so well known characters, and a small party of soon dead meat Clone Troopers, to add a heightened sense of danger and vulnerability to the story, cutting them off from the outside universe). The series was now starting to become more sophisticated in every area, no doubt helped by the presence and skills of Takeuchi.

Celebration Japan: The Lair of Takeuchi | Star Wars Blog

2. General Grievous. The chesty coughster with the lightsaber killing edge has failed to impress Count Dooku after several prior missions against the Jedi,  so the nefarious Serenno-based manipulator lays a kill-or-be-killed trap for the the droid general, to see if he can improve and win his further favour, within its very own palace of the dead on the fog shrouded world of Vassek. 

This is a great chance to officially discover more about the intriguing character beyond what was first seen in the Expanded Universe- the cyborg who loves and lives to kill (and more for actor/sound designer Matthew Wood to sink his Transylvanian voice-accented teeth into). We see Grievous's original humanoid warrior visage before voluntarily surrendering himself to technology, and get further insights into his demonic and vicious character and its personal motivations, via his sparring with his medical droid EV- A4 - D (Sound Designer David Acord doing his best Paul Lynde impression). The look of Grievous "castle of death" also tells us a lot about this harbinger of death, full of traps amidst a visual look of steel and gothics that wouldn't be out of place in HELLRAISER, whilst his "pet" roggwart, Gor, shows similar trappings to its master, its flesh covered in armour, and always thirsty for the kill.

Watch "Lair of Grievous " - The Clone Wars Episode Featurette #1.10 |

3. The return of Kit Fisto. The Prequel saga's favourite smiley Nautolan Jedi (nicely voiced by Phil LaMarr), though seen briefly in THE CLONE WARS movie's opening newsreel monologue, finally gets his own story vehicle (plus a Starfighter and Astro Droid!),  of which he's in for the fight of his life whilst trapped in his dungeon-like labyrinth against the unrelenting and taunting General Grievous, whilst also looking out for/reining in his former Padawan learner, the hotheaded Mon Calamari Nahdar Vebb, whose skills are formidable but show stray leanings towards the Dark Side with his subtle arrogance and use of Jedi powers beyond an acceptable point. 

4. Nahdar Vebb. Ever since we first saw him and his race in RETURN OF THE JEDI, fans have had a warm palace in their hearts for the Rebel leader Admiral Ackbar and his salmon-like Mon Calamari race. So to see finally see another one of their ilk, this time in animated form (voiced by Tom Kenney), and as a Jedi, was both a wonderful tribute to the Classic Trilogy and an intriguing development and prospect for storytelling-nicely realised by Takeuchi and his team. Game but over-confident that they can trap or end Grievous's existence, this former Padawan soon proves himself as being out of his depth to his former master, Kit Fisto, and sadly too inexperienced in life and as a Jedi to fight Grievous. The  final moment where Grievous sneak blaster shoots Vebb is shocking but not unexpected for the audience. 

In writing and creating the character of Vebb, THE CLONE WARS team paint an intriguing picture of how the Jedi, especially the younger ones, are starting to change with their forced partaking in the galaxy-spanning Clone Wars, taking some of them once step closer to the trappings of the Dark Side, and inevitable extinction. 

5. Lightsaber duels. This episode's full of 'em, and all spectacular. Fisto and Vebb's opening clash against their multi-limbed, multi-saber adversary is exciting enough, especially when Fisto manages to seriously injure the General (its always creepy seeing Grievous doing his Linda Blair/EXORCIST-esque spider-walk!), but the Nautolan's later solo duel outside the misty environs of the castle, is brilliantly realised, our big eyed friend almost holding his own if it wasn't for the additional arrival of the cyborg's staff wielding Magnaguards. Thankfully, through some agile trickery and tactics with his trusty Artoo unit, Kit Fisto manages to live (and eventually die) another day...


Monday 26 August 2013


The lovely German poster for 1984's epic journey into darkness that was INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, though the composition tones down any scary elements and instead presents the movie in a more family friendly light, along with Indy's diverse mix of friends and foes.


At the ILM facility in San Francisco, Lorne Peterson playfully hides behind the huge close-up model of the Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger's com tower, with the Millennium Falcon secretly attached. An image taken either late 1979 or early 1980.

For more on the continuing visual effects legacy of ILM, check out this great feature: ILM Modelmakers Share Star Wars Stories and Secrets - Tested

Sunday 25 August 2013


With the official STARWARS.COM website having newly revised itself to promote a more epic vision of the saga for younger audiences, and having also shed hundreds of pages of info and photos, especially on the behind the scenes front, in the process, now has never been a better time to sample the delights of STAR WARS AFICIONADO magazine on PDF. Each issue is absolutely jam-packed with great features, in-depth information, interview quotes, stats and the best and rarest images-colour and black and white- you can get from all six films and beyond. Our MAKING OF special issues contain info material and images spanning thirty years not found in a lot of the current official LUCASFILM books and magazines, including J.W. Rinzler's acclaimed works on STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Our MAKING OF JEDI has been described by readers as an exhaustively researched and thoroughly enjoyable work for fans of that particular movie.

Here are a few page examples from Issue Ten (Prequels special), the recently released Best of Issues 1-4 (encompassing both Trilogies from the first four issues) and THE MAKINGs of STAR WARS, JEDI and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK- BEHIND THE SCENES COMPANION...

So, head over to this link to see our wide range of available back issues on PDF: BACK ISSUE PDF CATALOG  

And remember, each non-profit sale goes towards keeping the main STAR WARS AFICIONADO website (STAR WARS AFICIONADO MAGAZINE) alive for another year, too...


About to depart for the mysterious planet of Kamino, Obi-Wan confers with Mace Windu about his worries for his Padawan learner, of how Anakin may indeed have been too old when he was taken on to be a Jedi. A deleted, later re-filmed sequence (incorporating Yoda), from EPISODE II that made its way onto the 2002 DVD release.




Published in hardback in the UK by CENTURY PUBLISHING. Out in paperback March 2011, from ARROW BOOKS.

Reviewed by Scott Weller

The dramatic stakes continue to escalate for both friend and foe in the STAR WARS Expanded Universe as Aaron Allston-glad to see you’re back on the recovery track- returns to the continuing FATE OF THE JEDI saga that he helped to launch. BACKLASH may be the middle book of the series, but the danger of it suffering from “middle-itus”, of which symptoms can result in little being pushed forward with the plot and characters until the next book, fortunately doesn’t occur, with the author easily pulling together plot strands and breezily easing the reader into the next phase of the series well, increasing the dangers to both the galaxy’s Jedi protectorate and to their dearest friends and allies throughout the Galactic Alliance. It’s most dedicated protectors- Luke and Ben Skywalker- their indomitable outcast plates already full in the tracking of the now Masterless Sith, will soon face the threat of the Dark Side energy called the Abeloth, which acts almost like an intergalactic siren, bringing danger to both the Jedi and Sith clans from its depths deep in the region of space known as the Maw Cluster. What secrets lurk within its creation, and just what exciting, and hopefully disturbing, ramifications will it hold for the future? And just how do events from the previous LEGACY OF THE FORCE factor into the Abeloth’s existence? As the real mystery behind the Jedi’s madness becomes slowly more apparent, could its deadly hand be reaching out to ensnare the Skywalker family?
With one factor for evil intensifying, there’s also an evolution of sorts for the Sith, too, with Allston making good on his promises to begin an era of change for the new strain of Dark Destroyers-Vestara being such an example, possessing abilities that make her more of a hybrid with the Jedi, a situation with dangerous ramifications for both sets of species, we’re sure. Vestara, who looks likely to be a love interest for young Ben, may become the new Mara Jade on the block, and could easily be just as popular in the long run, too.
And its not only Luke and Ben that’s after Vestara, so too are the dreaded Nightsisters from a previous point in the series. But will the hunters become the hunted? And does Vestara have her own plans at work involving all of them?
Within the tale, Luke and Ben continue to work well together, though the plot line involving Vestara and the Nightsisters related to Dathomir I found mixed at best (male slaves and female force-sensitive’s separated –an attempt to do a more intelligent version of Classic STAR TREK’s Spock's Brain, if you ask me!), though I applaud Allston for continuing to try and create believable worlds and cultures that are all the more necessary for the literary STAR WARS realms. On the bright side, though, the sequence of the unification summit being wrecked by the constant appearance of the Nightsisters is pretty good, and its cool to have the Rancors in the book-a nice sense of Round Two for Luke (however, it’s ultimately Ben, who is also swiftly becoming the detective of the series, that really does most of the action work this time!).
As if this plotline isn’t enough, Allston continues maneuvering the books other story threads with the skill of an expert juggler, with none of the padding of previous books in the series. Its almost all systems go now as the book series begins to enter the final home stretch cycle and the author is clearly enjoying himself in his secured story-telling home which, though at times controversial with devotes of the Expanded Universe, he has helped to create.
Away from the Sith, Galactic Alliance Chief of State, Natasi Daala, is well and truly beginning to lose control of her abilities in leadership of the galaxy, and her plot gets stronger and more focused. Though fans have sympathized with her for her inability to converse with the Jedi and her ignorant, sometimes downright spiteful, attitudes to them (as a Force non-sensitive), she’s just plain dumb as a galactic leader and I won’t tolerate her character’s ineptness at helping our heroes any more-whatever her final fate will be in the series, I’m sure she’ll deserve what she ultimately receives. Will the Jedi and the Solo’s have no choice but to help Daala get back her political believability in the face of such recent public crisis? It all gets even worse when Allston adds a failed assassination attempt, targeted at one of her loyal commanders, to the heady mix of political intrigue.
As for Han and Leia, their roles as galactic ambulancemen for the madness stricken Jedi is over, but, with a stopover on Dathomir, their story involvement thankfully picks up for a brief period when finally re-united with Luke and Ben. Sadly, though, the partnership isn’t for long, as another conflict and chain of events emerges that separates them from the Jedi duo and sends them weaving through the books other various plotlines rather than having them stay centralized in one area, which is a bit of a shame as the book really picks up when they are all together. Generally, I feel that the Solo’s still aren’t being used as much as they should be in this series. Perhaps thats set for ammendment in the future…
As always, to bolster up the action and characterization, Allston’s unique trademark humour (especially in the occasionally flippant attitude of Ben Skywalker), which has proved popular with the readers, returns (with the character of Allana and her interaction and confounding of Artoo and Threepio on the Falcon being a sequence you’ll either love or hate). And, as with previous books, there’s also a cliffhanger ending that looks intriguing.
Overall, BACKLASH brings a bit more escapism and adventure to the series, which is nice, though there is the feeling that the younger characters are being more and more developed to replace our older, beloved characters (LUCAS BOOKS, say this isn’t so!!) who are now past middle age in the cannon. Who’d have thought there would be age-ism in the STAR WARS universe?
Hopefully, Christie Golden will pick up the pace from Allston’s enjoyable tome with a book that’s also hopefully going to be of a bigger page count to justify its hardback status: ALLIES.

AFICIONADO RATING: It may be at its middle ground point, but that doesn’t mean that the book suffers too much from the kind of problems normally faced and suffered by writers this deep in a saga run. BACKLASH, on the whole, remains fast paced and generally well executed-a vast improvement on Allston’s first book launching the series. 7.5 out of 10

Saturday 24 August 2013


Always seemingly on the blink, but always "the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy", the Millennium Falcon's interior circuitry gets some delicate but necessary repair work from Han Solo, during THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


A rare shot of some late seventies Japanese merchandise linked to STAR WARS, the promotion adapting the classic Vader head/X-wing image used on American T-shirts of the time.

Friday 23 August 2013


Legendary British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. Image: FOX.

The very sad news has come in from the Kurtz/Joiner Archive's FACEBOOK page that legendary cinematographer Gilbert Taylor BSC, who helped bring the worlds of Tatooine and the Death Star, and heroes like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, to such believable life on the Elstree Studios soundstages between April and June 1976, has passed away. He was 99. As well as the original STAR WARS, Taylor brought his considerable experience -a genuine child of British film-making- and talent to movies such as DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, The Beatles' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, REPULSION, Frank Langella's DRACULA and Richard Donner's seminal horror classic, THE OMEN, the film he completed before making STAR WARS, where he went on to join George Lucas as his Director of Photography after the director's originally planned choice, Geoffrey Unsworth, backed out quite late in the day. Taylor would continue his association with sci-fi after his one and only full cinematic encounter with the Skywalkers by going on to handle the visual reins of the lively, colourful adventure spoof FLASH GORDON, alongside director Mike Hodges. But it will always be STAR WARS for which his work, with his then regular and dedicated camera team, will be most remembered and savoured- Taylor even managed to return to that universe in the mid-nineties to film some rewarding special linking material of Dave Prowse as Darth Vader for a HASBRO interactive video/board game...


On location in Tunisia with George Lucas.

Despite the behind the scenes frictions between Taylor and Lucas at that time in 1976- more a case of the Old Cinema Guard's attitudes clashing with those of the New, Taylor was soon proud of his association with STAR WARS after it became such a world-beating success, and went on to recognise Lucas as a cinematic visionary.

Goodbye, Gilbert Taylor, and thank you...

▶ Gilbert Taylor on "Star Wars" and filming the attack on the Death Star - YouTube


He said he couldn't fight a war for her, but by the end of EPISODE I's exciting battle in the Theed City hangar bay, noble Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn has at the very least helped to give Queen Amidala and her now liberated soldiers and pilots of Naboo the chance to fight back against their Trade Federation oppressors.



A novel by Troy Denning

Published in UK hardback from CENTURY PUBLISHING

Reviewed by Scott Weller

Not yet ready to trade their lightsabers and blasters in for zimmer frames, or willing to enter the Coruscant old folks home, our original Classic Trilogy icons return for one last (?) adventure in Troy Denning's zippily paced action/adventure tale CRUCIBLE, out now in UK hardback from CENTURY PUBLISHING.

45 years on from the film saga and after the tumultuous events of the FATE OF THE JEDI which left the galaxy in a fractured state with the attack by the Sith, this footnote to that two parts good, one part bad book series has a despicable pair of evil, powerful alien twins- the Columi Qrephs- out to take over the galaxy from their mining operation/galactic trade company in deep space, alongside powerful help from an familiar and equally lethal fugitive enemy, with Luke, Han and Leia, plus a little help from friends old and relatively new, being the only people capable of stopping them. But not before the old guys, our true STAR WARS heroes, are put through one helluva wringer emotionally and physically. Han and Leia particularly have it the worse (its like the author was saying to himself, well, what seven shades of hell can I put them through today!), with the bizarre but intriguing aliens having a particularly old and personal grudge against the former mercenary space pilot. "Revenge is a dish best served cold, and it is very cold in space."

Making some sly yet affectionate references to our gang entering their senior years, and lending a kind of "It's not the years, its the mileage" mentality to them, Denning's books may not be one of the all-time classics of the STAR WARS book range, but the overall drama is told well enough to satisfy- our heroes are well captured, the action sequences are pretty big and effectively described (there's an epic fight to the death lightsaber battle which brings in new plot elements linked to the nature of the Force), and there are some further inventive ideas here and there to keep it all afloat (introducing vicious humanoid alien reptiles, Nargons, that are part cyborg, which, at first, prove effective henchmen, plus Han having to fight for his life over a very different kind of Sabacc game). Chuck in some Mandalorians, a vital link to THE CLONE WARS animated series, as well as other FATE continuity, and there's a confection that will surely please a lot of Expanded Universe fans.

Bringing closure to the FATE OF THE JEDI series, CRUCIBLE works well enough as a last-hurrah action piece than in providing any real kind of depthfully affectionate send-off to the characters. If this is indeed the very last book for our older, wiser, but no less heroic-to-the-core Classic Trilogy favourites in this particular time frame, then LUCAS BOOKS have made a wise decision to end it here and now (its well of story ideas now truly run dry IMHO), and on this mostly successful, crowd-pleasing note.

AFICIONADO RATING: 6.5 out of 10 

Thursday 22 August 2013


Seeing their attack plans taking shape, Darth Vader takes to the skies in his special TIE fighter, to destroy enemy Rebel fighters high above the Death Star, for a classic image from STAR WARS.

"The Death Star trench battle was the easiest thing (to film) in the movie. All I, Mark (Hamill) and the rest had to do was sit in the cockpits of our ships while eight guys would shake it up and down!"

Dave Prowse- Starburst magazine - 1999


Our lovable heroes Artoo and Threepio find themselves spacebound on the cover of the 1996, one-off KENNER TOYS/DARK HORSE US comic adventure The Constancia Affair, a reprint of a classic Russ Manning STAR WARS comic strip from 1978, for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

Synopsis: The Constancia Affair - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

A similar type of visual image of the droids could later be seen in THE CLONE WARS animated series episode Nomad Droids.

Wednesday 21 August 2013


Poulter in Wild Bill. Image: UNIVERSAL.
Currently promoting his new US film, the comedy We're the Millers, opposite Jennifer Aniston, former child actor, and British star, Will Poulter talked to the UK's METRO newspaper today and revealed a fascinating titbit that may be relevant to the upcoming UK filming of EPISODE VII, starting in January 2014.

Here's the excerpt:

METRO: Do you still live at home in west London?

POULTER: I do but I'm sort of between different places at the moment. I'm, er, moving into a new area for the shooting of a new movie. That's all I can say. I can't tell you what it is or where I'm going for months yet, possibly even next year because it's a bit of a hush-hush one.

Interesting, eh...

Though the next film's likely older, well-known stars are probably not cast yet, or perhaps not locked down/scheduled contractually until at least this November/December, it is more than certain that the majority of the films younger actors are already cast and in place. Poulter may fit the bill for the EPISODE VII casting call, which officially read: "Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking." Poulter is definitely a star on the rise, and I recall he had some fun moments in the third CHRONICLES OF NARNIA movie.

I doubt we'll have the entire list of new actors for EPISODE VII until the movie officially begins shooting - the same situation applying as to whether the original gang of three from the Classic Trilogy will also be officially returning...


A pair of agile Republic Z-95 Starfighters prepare to engage the Separatist enemy forces above Coruscant, in this nice CGI composite from EPISODE III.


And so, its almost time to reveal the top spot in our countdown. But not before the deserved runner-up. The imaginative, adrenaline opening sky battle of Jedi Crash, and the stunning debut of dangerous Durosian Cad Bane in Season finale Hostage Crisis were almost there as prime candidates, but ultimately the important and danger-brewing signs and portents events of Episode Sixteen, The Hidden Enemy, won the day. And here's five supreme reasons why...

Watch "The Hidden Enemy" - The Clone Wars Episode Preview #1.16 |

1. Back to the beginning. Originally devised as one of the planets to be seen during The Clone Wars of EPISODE III, the crystalline cities world of Christophsis would ultimately make their intriguing onscreen debut launching the first animated movie, and proving another intriguing, well-realised planet with potential use in future, or past, stories, with Lucas soon choosing the latter, deciding to make several further prequel to the prequel adventures there, before and leading into the ground-pounding events that introduced Ahsoka Tano, with steadfast Jedi heroes Anakin and Obi-Wan's first taking control of the planet, and afterwards, setting things up for the enemies en masse efforts to re-take the important planet back to Separatist sovereignty.

2. Traitor in the ranks. The apocalyptic live-action scenes to come of ORDER 66's Jedi Purge are brilliantly hinted at in this episode, as the unthinkable becomes reality to both our Jedi heroes and their equally surprised Clone commanders-that one of their own, a Clone Trooper, is a traitor ("Gone Jango", as Dave Filoni calls the syndrome!), setting them up for a series of explosive incidents on Christophsis, as the re-invasion plans by the Separatists begin anew. Beyond the idea of the traitor-whose cause here is seemingly for his own personal freedom from the war and his "brothers", other solitary rogue figures within the Clone ranks would be seen again throughout the series, like Season Two's The Deserter, and the amnesiac Clone Commando Gregor, playing a key part of Missing in Action.

3. Together again - Rex and Cody. Right from the start, Animation Director Dave Filoni and co. told STAR WARS fans that THE CLONE WARS would have a greater emphasis on the series fascinating, heroic, yet later murderous Cone Troopers, and they certainly lived up to that promise with just this first season, as new lead, and action confidante to Anakin and Ahsoka, Captain Rex, became one of the series most popular characters. Into the series, the early episode Rookies proved a huge hit, and especially with its scenes involving Rex- the STAR WARS equivalent of Clint Eastwood- teamed up with Obi-Wan's venerable and efficient Clone Commander Cody. In The Hidden Enemy, the pair make for a great pairing once again, as their investigations begin into their fellow officers, discovering some disturbing things about their battle habits in the process, leading to a cat and mouse search within their barracks, alongside some nice hand-to-hand action and visual flourishes that keep worthy continuity with the original STAR WARS films. Plus, they have a little help from a certain Astro Droid!

4. The return of Asajj Ventress. The "hairless harpie", first conceived as a potential villain for EPISODE II and then a four-colour star through the Expanded Universe, had made a terrific impression in Genndy Tartakovsky's first ground-breaking micro-series for CARTOON NETWORK, then making the leap to a whole new animated dimension, voiced with a sarcastically dark and sexy edge by Nika Futterman, for Filoni's CLONE WARS in its pilot feature episode, followed by her stunning lightsaber action against Ahsoka Tano and Luminara Unduli in Paul Dini's excellent Cloak of Darkness. Her ultimate reveal in this episode is not unexpected, but its great to see her once more in bitter antagonistic form towards her sworn enemies, Kenobi and Anakin, engaging them in a war of words and saber clashing for an ingenious time-buying duel inside a deserted, trap filled building-events that literally and visually take us into the opening scenes of the sadly one and only THE CLONE WARS movie.

5. Anakin in action. Caught in a tight spot and surrounded by Battle Droids, Obi-Wan and his soldiers are cornered by Battle Droids and things are starting to get hairy. Future dark warrior Anakin and his own team, meanwhile, are in a separate high-rise building, watching the continuing doom from afar, and, it seems, powerless to help them. But this is Anakin Skywalker we're talking about - "The Hero Without Fear", soon lightsaber smashing a window and repelling down towards the other building, along with his do-or--die soldiers in a bold and exciting action sequence evening the odds for rescue and escape that keeps the best STAR WARS traditions, accompanied by strong incidental music from Kevin Kilner that subtly hearkens back to his impressive themes from the animated movie.

Coming to Blu-ray and DVD from October 15th- THE CLONE WARS: The Complete Seasons One to Five, here: Star Wars Clone Wars - Season 1-5 Blu-ray Region Free: Film & TV

Tuesday 20 August 2013


Gamorrean Guards, Squid Head, and dancer Gargan (now also known as Wiebba-Wiebba), amongst others from Jabba's villainous cronies, gather to watch Luke Skywalker's tense confrontation with Jabba, in a classic moment from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Return of the Jedi Creature History with Pablo Hidalgo | Star Wars Blog
Star Wars Mysteries: Who is Wiebba-Wiebba? | Star Wars Blog
Behind the scenes of Jabba's Palace: TWO ROTJ FIRST TIME CONVENTION SIGNERS |


The original cover to Tim Dry's CONTINUUM.

Reviewed by Scott Weller

An enthusiastic and witty raconteur who has always entertained the fans at the various STAR WARS related events he’s attended (and I applaud him for how many times he must have happily answered the question, “was it hot wearing that mask??!!”), Tim Dry, the popular actor, mime artist and musician, best remembered to STAR WARS fans for his double monster acting duties as J’Quille Whipid and as a Mon Calamari officer in RETURN OF THE JEDI, has gotten in touch with me about his now available autobiography e-book of his time behind the masks on STAR WARS, and of his general experiencing of the whole phenomenon of the saga outside of the original 1982 film-making (conventions, meeting the fans, etc).

Here’s Tim’s own words on this exciting work:

Continuum –The ‘Star Wars’ Phenomenon As Experienced From The Inside”?

Have you ever wondered what it was really like to be a featured artiste in 'Star Wars' Episode VI - 'Return Of The Jedi', one of the biggest grossing movies of all time? Or to be an autograph guest at worldwide fan Conventions? Well, now you can discover it all! This is a 'Star Wars' actor's memoirs. Think Bill Bryson meets 'Galaxy Quest' and you're on the right track.

From his childhood love of myth, magic and legend to his own unique real-life involvement “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, Dry gives a highly unique, and uniquely British (yaayyy!), balls to the wall account of his involvement with STAR WARS and of his life within, outside and around of it. And it’s a tale of life in all its twisted, funny, horrible, sad and invincible connotations-a highly prized continuum if ever there was one.

Sometimes saucy, sometimes very naughty, sometimes unbelievable (but they say some of the most unbelievable things can happen only in real life), Dry’s writing is crisp, honest (and he didn’t have to pay me any money to say that!), articulate and insightful in its observations (both silly, serious, dark and in wonderment) in describing both himself and his life/career, as well as his affectionate contributions, not only to RETURN OF THE JEDI, but in being a part of the worldwide convention/appearance circuit linked to STAR WARS, of which he has undertaken a fascinating journey of discovery upon its roads during the last eight years.

Charming, sardonic and ironic (and that’s a lot of onics!) as only a fellow Brit could write it, CONTINUUM is an amusing and enjoyable breath of fresh air on the STAR WARS book related front. And Dry’s exploits have convinced me that he is, in reality, a little naughty schoolboy, like a male version of a St.Trinians pupil, let loose in the sweet shop world adventure of STAR WARS, and he’s savouring every minute of it. Almost like a Dark Side version of Alan Whicker, his life within the belly of the juggernaut that is STAR WARS fandom and convention-dom reads almost like the Prequel to FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, and is a fascinating realm, full of friends, rogues and madmen, where anything can, and usually does, happen. The sections related to his Japanese experiences (a place always appealing to me in its other world-ness and culture clashed harmony- one that I long to visit one day), and his partaking in the official STAR WARS CELEBRATION IV in Los Angeles, proving particularly interesting and amongst the best of the book, particularly CELEBRATION IV, of which Dry, as well as getting to intoxicate himself fully, and enjoyably, in both the biggest STAR WARS convention so far and in his love of all things Los Angeles/Americana, successfully conveys to us the behind the scenes events and nostalgia that helped celebrate thirty years of the saga in 2007. And where does Enid Blyton’s FAMOUS FIVE reunion come in to all this world wide convention related story telling? Well, you’ll have to read the book and find out. Prepare to be shocked!

With an opening introduction from the likes of STAR WARS/INDY producer Robert Watts no less, and a twelve-page colour photo section encompassing his TIK & TOK music career (alongside his good friend, creative partner and fellow JEDI monster performer Sean Crawford) and the STAR WARS work, CONTINUUM is a terrific read that STAR WARS fans, and anyone else interested in worldwide travel with a difference, will eagerly consume and enjoy. I look forward to future projects of such high quality from Mister Dry.

Revised cover for the new edition.

For more info on the book and how to get hold of it, head over to:

All in all, you could say it was “Monster, Monster!”