Saturday, 30 November 2013
The last remaining Rebel pilots, including Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker, prepare to make their escape from Hoth and the newly arrived Imperials, in scenes originally filmed in Norway, circa late March 1979, with Mark Hamill and Denis Lawson in attendance. This image, however, may be part of one extra exterior scene with Luke and Artoo that would later be filmed at Elstree, near the end of principal photography on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, or its a location shot with an expanded background, of which ILM would add the departing Rebel transport.
Friday, 29 November 2013
Bringing his two new Jedi friends to the hauntingly beautiful underwater realm of Otoh Gunga, gangly exile Jar Jar Binks faces a hostile welcome from his fellow Gungans, in this early scene from EPISODE I.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Outside a mosque in the small fishing village of Djerba, Tunisia, and almost at the end of the location shoot for the original STAR WARS, actors Mark Hamill and Garrick Hagon take a break from filming their eventually deleted reunion scenes as Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter, as George Lucas gets ready for the next camera shot...
UK fans of George Lucas, don't forget to catch the enjoyable half-hour documentary profile on him- part of the HOLLYWOOD'S BEST DIRECTORS season-on the SKY ARTS 1 HD channel, tomorrow at 7pm.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Aware in the Force of impending danger to his continuing pet project that is Darth Vader, Darth Sidious, now Emperor of the Galaxy, takes a squad of Clone Troopers to the volcanic fire spraying world of Mustafar, and soon discovers the destiny of his once all-powerful disciple of darkness...
Another classic moment from EPISODE III...
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
An intriguing early ROTJ concept for the originally planned for second indigenous race of the forest moon of Endor: the Yuzzum, who ended up being too impractical and costly to realise, with the Ewoks eventually being the lone race helping the rebels beat the Empire. The idea of one of having one of these creatures in the finished film was eventually reworked into being a lone Muppet type alien, later given a CGI makeover, in Jabba's Palace on Tatooine.
Monday, 25 November 2013
Another wonderful and evocative piece of art from Drew Struzan for the STAR WARS Saga- I'm assuming a private commission- showcasing the beauty and inner strength of Prequel Trilogy heroine Senator Padme Amidala, as personified by Natalie Portman, for EPISODE II.
Struzan's recent movie poster art/autobiographical film, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, is now available on DVD. Find out more about the acclaimed project, and the versatile talent, here: Drew: The Man Behind The Poster
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster Trailer (Theatrical Trailer) - IMDb
Sunday, 24 November 2013
The wonderful, action packed cover spread poster by legendary comics artist Jim Steranko for his THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 1980 special edition of MEDIASCENE magazine- an image as beautiful and exciting today as it was back in its original publication, which also featured unprecedented access to the making of the film, alongside some great and revealing interviews with Lucas and Irvin Kershner.
With thanks to the RETRO STAR WARS FACEBOOK PAGE for the image.
Saturday, 23 November 2013
An action move deleted from the breathtaking finale lightsaber duel of EPISODE I, as Darth Maul deflects a punch from a determined Obi-Wan Kenobi, inside the Theed Power Room on Naboo.
Nick Gillard may sadly not be returning to coordinate the action in the new Sequels, but his legacy lives on, and will surely be a tough act to follow...
Whether he be running from poison pipe wielding Hovito indians, breathlessly evading enormous boulders or jumping off moving tanks, there's always one constant to Indiana Jones adventures: his legendary Fedora hat. It even manages to escape oblivion and return to its master, if a little wind-swepped and battle scarred, during one hilarious and distinctive moment in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE!
Finally, for US fans, the original, classic Indy Trilogy is available to buy separately on Bu-ray or via HD download. Amazon.com
Friday, 22 November 2013
A lovely image of the original Summer 1977 press screening invite, bearing the iconic Ralph McQuarrie logo, by FOX UK for the first full London press screening of the original STAR WARS at the huge screen DOMINION THEATRE in the West End-soon given an electric and overwhelmingly positive reception by the 1,000 plus attendees, and quite a venue to enjoy the visual spectacle of the movie, of which all press attendees and many of the films cast and crew, including Garrick Hagon (already pre-warned by Anthony Daniels that his early scenes had been cut), were literally gobsmacked by it-many of those who previously predicted that it was going to be a disaster actually getting out of their seats to clap at the incredible opening Star Destroyer scene! Quickly, from this response and the box office records being broken States-side, the UK newspapers were making demands to cover the film in the lead-up to its eventual smash-hit Xmas release.
A second no less enthusiastic screening, for trade, press and publicity, would be held in late October, again at the DOMINION, (guests would include TV presenter Michael Aspel, DOCTOR WHO star Tom Baker, with his producer Graham Williams and script editor Anthony Read, actor Richard Griffith, and upcoming new BBC sci-fi TV series BLAKE'S 7 producer David Maloney and its creator Terry Nation- all of whom would be envious of its big budget effects and blown away by the overall film). There was also at least one further advance screening in November at the Leicester Square Theater, again located in London's West End heart.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Dave Elsey checks in on the final make-up decision making of legendary Aussie cult film and TV actor Bruce Spence's transformation into the Utapau leader, Tion Medon, at the FOX STUDIOS, Australia in 2003, for a pivotal scene in EPISODE III.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
|To hunt a traitor: Sir Alec Guinness is George Smiley. Image: BBC.|
UK fans of Sir Alec Guinness, beyond his work as Obi-Wan Kenobi in STAR WARS, should check out tonight's much-welcome BBC 4 repeat run of the acclaimed, brilliantly made, award-winning adaptation of spy genre author John Le Carre's TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY from 1979, beginning in weekly two episode chunks from 10pm. Guinness is absolutely superb-understated and quietly powerful- as George Smiley, the retired spy brought back into service to find a traitor in "The Circus" hierarchy, in this genuinely classy production, with great acting support from the likes of Hywel Bennett, Michael Jayston and a cameo from STAR TREK's Patrick Stewart as Smiley's Russian nemesis, Karla.
It's well worth checking out, full of atmosphere and slow-building twists and turns-far superior to the recent over-stylised film version starring Gary Oldman...
Now arrived at the Death Star II, Darth Vader's iron grip will ensure that the battle station is completed on schedule, in this great image from RETURN OF THE JEDI taken at the top of the immense STAR WARS Stage in 1982.
Monday, 18 November 2013
STAR WARS: KENOBI
A novel by John Jackson Miller
Published in hardback in the UK by CENTURY PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Scott Weller
Having wanted to read a proper novel about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life and times as that strange old hermit going in and out of the Tatooine wastelands, looked on with disdain and mistrust by the general populace as a crazy old hermit, this was a book that I, and I’m sure many others, were most eager to read. How much you enjoy author John Jackson Miller’s adventure of the desert depends greatly on what you personally wanted to see explored. This is not quite the epic book I’d hoped for- it doesn’t go through the whole twenty-year period that Kenobi would have in exile- instead Miller sidesteps all that for the most part, focusing on the characters recent arrival on that planet far away from the brightest centre of the universe, and opts for something a little different, weaving a more intimate character drama than we’ve seen in a while, with the odd bit of requisite STAR WARS action-it’s a union that proves an enjoyably concentrated if hardly classic read.
As the book begins, Kenobi is isolated and could be considered lonely by any other standards if he wasn’t quite such a disciplined Jedi, though the weight of the galaxy remains fixed atop his shoulders, ladled with guilt about what has happened to his former Padawan and best friend Anakin, and his ultimate role in the destruction of the Republic and his beloved family that were the Jedi Order. Concurrent to these brewing thoughts, our bearded hero is trying to adjust and settle in to the Tatooine lifestyle such as it is, whilst also keeping a low profile. Alas, such good intentions are not to be, for, no matter how far he tries to not be recognized or get involved, he can’t help attracting trouble and unlikely attentions- the results of being a newcomer within a small community, albeit stretched out over a large area, and quickly becoming a semi-nexus to events linked to a group of farmer settlers trying to carve out a living in the moisture capture business. With some of the locals proving too avaricious for their own good…
The harsh beauty and wilds of Tatooine, its powerful twin suns and its harsh environs, a place where day to day survival is hard for both the indigenous species and its human interlopers is strongly evoked in the tale’s 300 pages- a genuine plus for the book. It’s the wild west elements of the STAR WARS saga, that are satisfyingly explored- in many respects there’s an aura of several classic genre films about it translated to Lucas’s universe: from Alan Ladd’s SHANE to John Wayne’s THE SEARCHERS to Clint Eastwood’s PALE RIDER, as Ben’s Jedi skills are used, albeit subtly, in all manner of incidents: from rescuing wayward children to fighting off Krayt Dragons! Its here in this self-exiled land of little opportunity that the personality of Kenobi also becomes more humble and friendly in his singular existence, and in trying to communicate in these early days with the Force spirit of his late friend and mentor Qui-Gon Jinn- a handy narrative plot device to reveal Obi’s personal and innermost thoughts and feelings, filling in the gaps and adding some more character nuances between now and his later “death” by Darth Vader.
On this personal side of things beyond his small and basic hut dwelling, he even gets a love interest of sorts in widowed shopkeeper Anileen, spirited yet wanting more from her life, whose children comprise wayward son Jabe: a Luke Skywalker-type gone rogue, soon causing trouble, and eager and loyal, but also resolutely inquisitive daughter, Kallee. These three core characters are given believability by Miller and interact well with Kenobi, alongside some distinctively painted characters for the settlers community, young and old, human and alien, headed up by Orrin, a vaporator farm owner on the make, responsible for the defense of the various outlying homesteads against the livelihood threat of the Sand People- seemingly with a smile on his face yet bearing an ambitious soul looking to spread his business interests. It’s Orrin who ultimately fears Kenobi the most, considering him an unusual rival and hindrance to his long-term goals and his important relationship with Anileen.
Amongst all the new story material and character elements, Miller, with his clear and strong writing style, carefully and subtly weaves in the all-important continuity between EPISODEs III and IV when he has to, involving both Kenobi and the building state of the Galactic Empire in general- a lot of thought has clearly gone into the way this has been structured. Other important moments on the desert world that build up his new life history include becoming that aforementioned “crazy old hermit” (cleverly built up through the eyes and anxiety mindsets of the supporting characters he comes into contact with), finding and tailoring his new digs, riding his faithful Eopie beast of burden, Rooh, walking the Jundland Wastes, and even cadging the odd lift or two from a Jawa Sandcrawler.
Determined not to catch the always hungry eyes of possible Imperial spies and Jedi hunters, going into major cities soon proves difficult for Kenobi, but, at one major point of the book, it becomes unavoidable, resulting in his having no choice but to sneakily go into conflict against some of the planet’s undesirable criminal elements in Mos Eisley-notably an appearance by MARVEL COMICS original visual incarnation of Jabba the Hutt: Mosep, in an Expanded Universe history “patch-up” that proves nostalgic if a little forced.
Despite some crowd-pleasing scenes, there are still a few things here and there that are ultimately and disappointingly mentioned only in brief passing, like Owen and Beru Lars with baby Luke (whom Kenobi has recently delivered to their protective and nurturing custody at their Homestead), who sadly make no appearance in the book.
As well as human opponents (including a group of bored juvenile delinquents not too dissimilar, if more rowdy, than Luke’s deleted scenes Anchorhead posse), there’s also the threat out there amongst the rocks and boulders from the nomadic and belligerently hostile Sand People, of whom a core group causes trouble across the region, led by the mysterious, savagely intelligent creature that has been nicknamed “Plugeye”, determined to kill the human settlers and bring its people together in the process. Seeing the power of Kenobi, whose magic it first misreads as belonging to another, sets the course for further power struggles and violence to come…
The development of the race in the story is ultimately overdone to my personal tastes-their earlier, fascinating aura of unique mystery, which had been present in the films, now lost as they become just another set of sci-fi aliens. The development of Plugeye has a twist but it failed to capture my enthusiasm, especially when ladled with some previously established, far-fetched Expanded Universe storytelling. There’s nothing wrong with that old saying, “Less is More”, and that should have been applied here.
AFICIONADO RATING: In a year of STAR WARS publishing packed with good ideas that didn’t quite meet their full potential, KENOBI thankfully rises above my personal expectations to be one of the better and more pleasing additions to the current Expanded Universe crop, and likely only the first of an eventual series outlining our Jedi hero’s new life on the hauntingly beautiful world of Tatooine. 7.5 out of 10
Get hold of KENOBI here:
|A familiar friend at the BAD ROBOT workshop in the US: The first official EPISODE VII behind the scenes image.|
I hear the wheels of pre-production gathering speed...
Star Wars: Episode VII to Open December 18, 2015 | StarWars.com
Chiwetel Ejiofor Interview on Star Wars, 12 Years A Slave & Half of a Yellow Sun - YouTube
JJ Abrams talks Star Wars 7 and new book with Neil Gaiman | SciFiNow - The World's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Magazine
BBC News - Star Wars hopefuls attend open auditions in Bristol
'Star Wars': A look back at Year One of the Disney regime | PopWatch | EW.com
J.J. Abrams On His Dynasty: Too Much Power For One Man | WPPB
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Riding fearlessly through the sludge seas of Panna, atop the intergalactic equivalent of "Nessie", the mysterious, helmeted figure of Boba Fett comes to the aide of the crash-landed Rebel heroes within the Millennium Falcon. But is he friend...or foe?
Wonderful art by Jamie Snell, with inks by Emily Jayne Weber (from the DEVIANT ART website) recreating this classic moment from 1978's STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL popular animated segment, handled by Nelvana Studios. It's a worthy showcase celebrating the character's long-admired 35th year within STAR WARS folklore.
Concentrating on the development of Fett back in 1978, check out this classic STARWARS.COM feature here: SWCVI: The As You Wish Helmet Project: Boba Fett | Star Wars Blog
Boba Fett actors from 'Star Wars' reunite | Inside Movies | EW.com
Will Ferrell is Boba Fett: Will Ferrell Steals Scene in 'The Internship' Bonus Clip - Video | Rolling Stone
Astro and Protocol Droids are welcome to join the Kashyyyk party, as the Wookiees celebrate a Happy Life Day. Yep, it's that time of the year again, but with a difference, as the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL hits its landmark 35th Anniversary!
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Anakin Skywalker welcomes his trusty friend Artoo Detoo back to operational life after his bravery stopping a remote controlled Republic Cruiser packed with explosives, during events from THE CLONE WARS Season Five episode Point of No Return.
Don't forget, Season Five is still available on stunning Blu-ray, and DVD, here:
Amazon.co.uk: clone wars season 5: Film & TV
Enjoying the experience of working on a blockbuster movie at the FOX Studios, Australia, a beaming Hayden Christensen takes a break during blue screen filming of the Coruscant air speeder chase.
Friday, 15 November 2013
On the small Dagobah cave set at Elstree, 1979, a dummy version of Darth Vader is detonated to explode and collapse, for the dream sequence where Luke encounters the Dark Lord and instantly makes his retribution. At the time, visitors to the set leaked the duel encounter to a UK newspaper, unaware of the actual complexities of the scenes presence in the ultimate story.
Thursday, 14 November 2013
In the Mos Espa Pod Race bay hangar, conniving junk dealer Watto prepares to make what will ultimately be the worst deal of his life with Qui-Gon Jinn, in a memorable scene from EPISODE I.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
I never get bored looking at exciting Classic Trilogy related art, especially for the original movie-still my favourite all these years on. Here's a gem from 1983, for the cover of the ATARI video game Death Star Battle.
Anyone out there know the artist?
Image: via www.gamesbase.com
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Newly arrived on Tatooine, the self-exiled Obi-Wan Kenobi visits the Lars Homestead with a gift of life and love for Owen and Beru Lars, in the emotionally satisfying conclusion of EPISODE III.
To find out what happens next with our venerable and isolated hero, check out John Jackson Miller's UK hardback release of KENOBI, out later this month from CENTURY PUBLISHING. AFICIONADO's review will be posted shortly...
Kenobi: Star Wars: Amazon.co.uk: John Jackson Miller: Books
With thanks to Chris Baker for the above top image.
Sunday, 10 November 2013
A slightly more fierce and intimidating looking Ewok from the norm poses for a publicity image during the UK shooting of RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1982.
With EPISODE VII around the corner, and set after the events of JEDI, is it possible that one or two Ewoks might make a cameo appearance? Don't forget, J.J. Abrams and co. bought back the furry Tribbles for a cameo in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, so anything's possible!
STAR WARS: LEGACY OF THE FORCE
BOOK NINE- INVINCIBLE
BOOK NINE- INVINCIBLE
Released in paperback in the
by ARROW BOOKS UK
Reviewed by Scott Weller
With the intriguing Tatooine Ghost and the epic volume Star by Star of THE NEW JEDI ORDER already under his literary belt, popular sci-fi novelist Troy Denning knows the characters, old and new, of the STAR WARS SAGA and its EXPANDED UNIVERSE by heart-and he has a writing style, alongside Matthew Stover, that fans have always enjoyed. So it is no surprise to discover that he had been chosen by the people at LUCAS BOOKS to bring to all-important life the next, and final, chapter of the LEGACY OF THE FORCE saga after previous devastating developments in books like Sacrifice and Revelation. And if you thought your heart strings had been effectively plucked out with the former, and the tragic murder of Mara Jade Skywalker, brace yourselves for the darkness ahead, as INVINCIBLE takes four of our primary characters –in particular the two key children of the Solo family- into a arena of evil and conflict, and a lightsaber showdown, that make you wonder if they’ll ever get out of it…they say it’s always darkest before the dawn and INVINCIBLE may prove it!
This final novel has so much to tie up there are moments when you wonder whether it can be done successfully and so live up to reader expectations. Well, for the most part it does. And, fortunately for us, Denning has never been afraid of such challenges. Surprisingly, many fans expected an adventure the size of STAR BY STAR-which you can damage your fingers from holding-it’s that weighty!! But, as any good book reader knows, the page count shouldn’t matter as long as the story is told well and can be read well. Despite that smaller page count, the author puts everything into INVINCIBLE’s story and characters that needs to be told.
Denning’s writing style is fast and fluid as expected and the descriptions of the action are fine, as are the stronger characterizations which, intriguingly, many feel are far superior than they have been in the last few LOTF books and in certain parts of Denning’s previous novels within the cycle.
As mentioned earlier, the book focuses on four characters who have proved highly popular with LOTF readers- Jacen, Jaina, their father, Han Solo, and Luke’s son, Ben (the latter mostly in a B plot that utilizes his character in a better way than most of the previous books in the LOTF series), though primarily on Jaina and the challenge of meeting her destiny as “Sword of the Jedi”. Many fans may bemoan the lack of participation of most the other main classic characters (like Luke and Leia) in major ways this time, and miss the way all the previous STAR WARS books have criss-crossed the stars in following the numerous plotlines-there is less of that here and the story is much more concentrated in a manner that you could say is all the better for it-there’s no serious epic Death Star type weapon or major league Imperial plot to be blown up, or a race against time in that kind of sense. The search-and-destroy mission aspect of this book is not handled the way you expect. Also positively, many readers have enjoyed Boba Fett’s appearance in this adventure much more than previously in this particular series, and he has some enjoyable in-character dialogue…has he outstayed his welcome? Probably, but everyone loves him regardless!
Additionally, as well as Jaina, hero turned baddie Dark Lord Jacen Solo also has some fine character moments, and there are links to the past thrown in that work effectively for long term readers, too. The final duel between brother and sister, as depicted on the nicely realized cover, is a finely described one, though again some readers may find it a bit anti-climactic as part of the overall arc of the series story…
To reveal too much of the book and its story would be a crime, and we at AFICIONADO aren’t party-poopers! All in all, there are some pure STAR WARS/ space opera moments of the best sense and some well described action… and loyal readers may get a shock surprise at the end of the adventure, too…
Judge for yourself and then look forward to STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI!
AFICIONADO RATING: Whether INVINCIBLE ends the LEGACY OF THE FORCE saga in the manner that you’re after is up to you and “your own point of view.” However, with a writer of Troy Denning’s calibre on board to helm such a special LUCAS BOOKS event, you have a better chance of enjoying this read than with some of the other authors out there… 8 out of 10
Saturday, 9 November 2013
The powerful Pantoran leader Baron Papanoidia (who bears more than a passing resemblance to STAR WARS creator George Lucas!) and his family gather on Coruscant in a scene from the memorable Season Three episode, Sphere of Influence.
Having successfully fought off one of the trio of alien beasts within the Geonosian Death Arena, Padme uses her chains to rescale the top of a column, in a tense scene from EPISODE II.
Friday, 8 November 2013
Evading the Imperial blockade around Hoth in their X-wing fighter, Luke and Artoo make preparations anew to journey to the Dagobah system, in a scene from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Amongst his dedicated team for the new and then upcoming Prequels, George Lucas brings mirth to the ILM planning room as he loses his mindset whilst going over which scenes/images will handled via live action and which will be models or CGI, during the ambitious 1996/97 pre-production stages for EPISODE I, looking over 3,500 storyboards at a special effects team meeting. We imagine J.J. Abrams and co. are going through similar territory for EPISODE VII as we speak...
“I think he’s waiting until the technology is both sophisticated enough and affordable-and it’s just about reached that point.”
DENNIS MUREN, TALKING ABOUT THE FIRST OF THE PREQUELS BEING SUPPOSEDLY SET FOR RELEASE THEN ON MAY 25TH 1997 - SCI-FI UNIVERSE MAGAZINE 1995
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
The terrifying visage of Darth Vader stands before Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in this moody 1982 image for the July issue of the American comics magazine AMAZING HEROES, which at that time had a special feature on STAR WARS in the four colour genre in the run up to RETURN OF THE JEDI...
If anyone knows the artist, please get in touch.
UPDATE 7/11/13: An anonymous source has kindly contacted AFICIONADO to tell us that the artist was Kevin Nowlan. Thanks for getting in touch!
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Newly arrived-well crash-landed!- on The Invisible Hand, and having dealt with a squad of Battle Droids, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker push on with their efforts to find and rescue the captured Supreme Chancellor, in a moment from EPISODE III.
Monday, 4 November 2013
ILM creature shop technician Tony McVey (who also sculpted Salacious Crumb!) makes some adjustments to the Rancor, of which inside the creature costume suit is a dedicated Phil Tippett, for what would ultimately be unused footage for RETURN OF THE JEDI.
With thanks to Chris Baker.
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Building towards production, but is the rumoured late UK filming start ultimately just a ruse to put press/fans off the scent- as was done with 1997's secret earlier filming with EPISODE I?
Master Filmmaking Team Announced for Star Wars: Episode VII | StarWars.com
Michael Arndt Isn't Writing 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Anymore
J. J. Abrams and Star Wars VII | The Times
Did Anthony Daniels just slip up and confirm C-3PO's return in Star Wars 7? | Blastr
Harrison Ford talks 'Star Wars: Episode VII' return on 'Late Show' - Zap2it
▶ Harrison Ford al David Letterman Show 31.10.2013 - YouTube
Arriving in the nick of time, the firepower packed Clone Troopers arrive in the Geonosis Death Arena, buying escape time for the captured Jedi, in this exciting sequence from EPISODE II.
Saturday, 2 November 2013
A TIE fighter and TIE Bomber swarm around an Imperial Star Destroyer like pilot fish about a whale in this great 1979 storyboard by Joe Johnston from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Actress/singer Willie Scott makes her colourful entrance at the Club Obi-Wan during the memorably bravura musical opening in Shanghai for INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
Friday, 1 November 2013
Flanked by the seemingly wise Senator Palpatine and loyal Captain Panaka, Queen Amidala prepares to enter her senate pod and later address the other political delegates, in a scene on Coruscant cut from EPISODE I.
Costumes behind the scenes: