Monday 31 March 2014


Its a rough ride ahead for Willie and Short Round, as Indy perilously navigates their mine car through a whole cave load of adrenaline charged action scares, in this great image from INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

UK fans: The three classic INDY films will be showing in a special screening at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, this April 18th. Here's more info: Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Sq. London's Best Value Cinema - Events


Out on the grassland plains of Naboo, two mighty armies-one mechanical and one Gungan- meet for a decisive conflict, as the side for good ultimately buys time for its human allies to win the war for Naboo.

Some early but great CGI effects from the industry revolution that was EPISODE I.

Sunday 30 March 2014


Like mother like daughter. Formidable heroines of the Skywalker family: Padme Amidala and Princess Leia Organa: beautiful, unique and vital to the success of the first six STAR WARS movies.

Happy Mother's Day to all UK mums and families!

Saturday 29 March 2014


The character diversity and special effects action of the original classic STAR WARS take precedence in this lovely piece of Italian movie poster art from 1977/78, likely from Michelanelo Papuzza. But no Han Solo?!

Friday 28 March 2014


On their way to rescue the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor, our Jedi heroes Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi won't let a little matter of an epic space battle high above Coruscant get in their way, as this superb opening effects sequence from EPISODE III visually demonstrates.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

Thursday 27 March 2014


Trouble for our heroes inside the Endor Imperial Bunker, as the enemy springs its trap and captures them, in this classic scene from RETURN OF THE JEDI, also featuring the now iconic Barrie Holland as Lt. Renz.

Wednesday 26 March 2014


The friendship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, master and apprentice Jedi, is critically tested during decisive events building up to The Clone Wars. But together, in battle, they remain a mighty force for good, as this lovely composaite art for EPISODE II clearly demonstrates.

Tuesday 25 March 2014


One of the always impressive Imperial Star Destroyers gets ready for its filming on one of the ILM shooting stages in 1979/1980, for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Here's hoping we get to see these powerful, arsenal-packed vessels again for EPISODE VII.

Monday 24 March 2014


On location at Caserta Palace, Italy, for EPISODE I, writer/director George Lucas goes through an upcoming scene with High Quarshie, playing the loyal but overwhelmed Naboo protector Captain Panaka.

Sunday 23 March 2014


In the Death Star docking bay, as the Stormtroopers guarding the Millennium Falcon suddenly disappear, Luke, with his racing to escape friends, discover the shocking reason why...

An unused behind the scenes angle captured for STAR WARS that was shown on When STAR WARS Ruled the World back in 2007.

Saturday 22 March 2014


On Kashyyyk, jungle home of the formidable wookiees, its warrior leader Tarfful, alongside his sort-of lieutenant, Chewbacca (whose true working designation prior to meeting Han Solo has never really been pinned down- a technical assistant of some kind), get ready for battle against the Separatists, whilst Master Yoda, friend to the species, finishes an equally important conversation with his Jedi Temple colleagues on Coruscant. A scene of impeding action from EPISODE III.

After only seeing glimpses of it in comics or as a Ralph McQuarrie painting in 1978, and the briefest of moments in the second CLONE WARS micro-series, it was finally great to visually behold the Wookiee world by the time of this final Prequel film. Chewbacca's later presence in the animated THE CLONE WARS series, set before EPISODE III, was also much welcome, though its a major disappointment that a further major Wookiee/Kashyyyk plot leading into the epic Separatist battle was lost when the series was terminated by DISNEY all too early: To Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Thank You | Star Wars Blog | Star Wars Blog

Thursday 20 March 2014


Entering the throne room of Jabba's Palace on Tatooine, a silent but determined Luke Skywalker must live upto his destiny as a Jedi Knight, in this atmospheric scene from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Wednesday 19 March 2014


With the passage of time, EPISODE II saw the galaxy's supposedly noble and wise protector, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, looking more than ten years older- thanks to the Aussie make-up teams. Yet, by the start of REVENGE OF THE SITH, he looked positively spritely and more youthful. Perhaps all that happiness at seeing the Jedi destroyed did wonders for his complexion!

Monday 17 March 2014



By James S. A. Corey

Available in UK hardback from 24th March, from CENTURY PUBLISHING

Reviewed by Scott Weller

Lindsay Lohan's joined the Rebels!

Well, that's what you'd think when looking at her photoshopped face adorning the cover, alongside our veritable band of Classic Trilogy heroes led by Han Solo, to book two of the popular EMPIRE and REBELLION trilogy, our now in UK hardback from CENTURY PUBLISHING: Honour Among Thieves, an adventure told with enjoyable verve by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under their pseudonym of James S. A Corey).

Lohan becomes Scarlet Hark- the latest new character to be introduced to George Lucas's printed universe: a different but similar successor, yet timeline precursor, to old-time fan favourite Mara Jade in many respects. Just as fiery and opinionated, but a lot less arrogant, than that other red-headed heroine and former wife to Luke Skywalker, Scarlet, respected by her Rebel Alliance colleagues as one of their best undercover operatives, uses her feminine wiles, wits and abilities to their limits, not having the powers of the Force or a lightsaber to aid her-though she's also pretty adept with a blaster. Soon recovered by Han Solo, on behalf of a worried Princess Leia, the newcomer and the sometimes happily, sometimes begrudgingly beleaguered smuggler- still in a conflicted state over where his current and future loyalties lie (either to his continuing life as a smuggler or cementing his allegiance to the burgeoning Rebellion), head to a far-off planet shrouded in mystery and danger, eventually accompanied by the Alderaanian icon/highnessness (how's that for an intriguing literary menage à trois!), in a genuine race against time to stop the Empire from unleashing a newly discovered, millennia ancient weapon that will forever affect the balance of power in favour of its user...

Corey's writing captures the post A New Hope tone successfully, within an adventure that's on the right side of classy pulp, equally bringing Han Solo to life in a manner that few STAR WARS book writers have accomplished these past few years: spot-on capturing his rogue qualities, edgy arrogance but also lovability and unexpected ingenuity as one of the saga's greatest heroes. His sparring with the equally sharp and passionately determined Leia, and the feisty, youthfully spirited Scarlet (likely a character who will be enjoyed for a long time to come by Expanded Universe fans), is additionally crisp and entertaining- by the end of their Stormtrooper battling/Indiana Jones-esque escapades in the book's final section, the trio even manage a grappling hook escape flight together! 

In and out of the building chaos, Star Destroyer out-manoeuvring and explosive confrontations, the few newly created, plot-serving supporting characters tussling with Solo and company prove well utilised within a page-turning adventure that thankfully and ultimately doesn't outstay its 247 page welcome: there's never really a boring or out of step moment to it.

A marked improvement over Princess Leia's slightly cliched feeling opening entry: Razor's Edge, Honor Among Thieves is a worthy continuance//tribute to the classic tales previously laid down by Brian Daley's Han Solo Trilogy of the late seventies, whilst further raising my quality hopes and expectations for Luke Skywalker's starring role in the third and final book of the saga... 

AFICIONADO RATING: 7.5 out of 10

Get hold of Honor Among Thieves here: Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars Empire and Rebellion: Amazon.co.uk: James S. a. Corey: Books

Shotglass Digital | David Collins & Jimmy Mac Present “Honor Among Thieves”

Sunday 16 March 2014


As the Boonta Eve Classic pod race warms up, Qui-Gon Jinn offers some valuable piloting advice to young Anakin Skywalker, readying his controls, in this scene from EPISODE I.

Saturday 15 March 2014


Finally, a chance for some respite for our hero Indiana Jones, partner in adventure Short Round and unwilling traveller, the entertainer Willie Scott, having successfully freed an army of slaves from the Thuggee Cult- a glorious end to the thrill-a-minute antics within The Temple of Doom.

One of the first scenes shot on location in Sri Lanka for the film during 1983.

▶ Original Making of Temple of Doom PART 1/6 - YouTube Note to LUCASFILM: Why wasn't this great documentary released on the Blu-ray?

Friday 14 March 2014


The now defunct CINESCAPE magazine's 1998 classic STAR WARS cover, part of a general look at warfare across the sci-fi genre, is more relevant than ever with the upcoming debut of STAR WARS: REBELS this Autumn.


The US model builders sent one of the early Y-wing models to John Barry and the UK's Art Department for prop construction reference, early 1976. Notice the red stripes. The bombers were supposed to be Red Squadron whilst the onscreen seen X-wing's Red Flight were originally Blue Squadron, to have had blue strips on those models- an idea that was dropped later on due to blue screen filming issues/concerns. The Y-wing Red Squadron became Gold Squadron for the film and got a new paint job.

By the time STAR WARS Y-wing fighter toys were finally flooding the children's market in 1978/79, KENNER either used one of the original models for reference or just decided they liked the red colour markings instead of Gold. I've always loved this particular toy.

Thursday 13 March 2014


Some early art by Costume Designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero for Rebel fighter pilot visors during the Battle of Endor, conceived for RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1981.

Wednesday 12 March 2014


On Kamino, the unwelcome presence of a Jedi Knight outside their apartment makes the young unaltered clone "son" of Jango Fett- Boba- suspicious, in this scene of simmering drama from EPISODE II.

Tuesday 11 March 2014


Firmly enjoying his time working in London during late 1978 and into 1979, conceptual artist and illustrative icon Ralph McQuarrie continued to make an incredible impact on the classic STAR WARS TRILOGY, and especially its second film, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, with conceptual art, storyboards and thumbnail sketches: all impressive and all ever-lasting pieces of the STAR WARS universe.

Check out this lovely continuing tribute to the artist from 2012, now posted on STARWARS.COM:

▶ Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 1) - YouTube

▶ Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 2) - YouTube

▶ Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 3) - YouTube

▶ Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 4) - YouTube

▶ Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 5) - YouTube


The battle to end all battles? ENDER'S GAME awaits. Images: ENTERTAINMENT ONE.


Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley

Based on the book series by Orson Scott Card

Adapted for the screen and directed by Gavin Hood

Out now on Blu-ray and DVD from ENTERTAINMENT ONE

Reviewed by Scott Weller

The future must be won…

The fate of all mankind rests in a new kind of a soldier for a new kind of war, as the psychological and technological firepower of Earth battles against a deadly alien foe, under the courageous but relatively inexperienced tactical command of youngster Ender Wiggin, seemingly born for this unique destiny, in the one-off film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s eighties classic, the fondly regarded sci-fi war novel series: ENDER’S GAME. Years in the making, the lavish-budgeted film, a genuine interstellar epic, finally arrives on DVD and pristine Blu-ray this week after a critically well-received theatrical release…

And Ender, though the story’s primary hero, is not alone in his endeavours- alongside him being a specially picked cadre of mentally and physically adept youngsters as their homeworld’s ultimate defenders, whose thought processes and ideals would not be expected or anticipated by their opponents...

Earth's greatest protector: Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield).

A glossy and attractive film package channelling the kind of viewing audiences that have previously enjoyed the sci-fi/fantasy arenas explored by the likes of THE HUNGER GAMES, HARRY POTTER, PERCY JACKSON, the film has a shining and confident performance by rising star Asa Butterfield giving Ender an intense but vulnerable quality, showing us the burdens that lay in the 14 year-old’s psyche, his uneasy family life, corresponding with his young sister (Abigail Breslin), and the deep breaths he has to take when soon becoming the last best hope in the fight against the deformed Formics aliens- a race of insect creatures whom humanity believes is swarming anew to destroy them, and whom they only just beat back first time out…
Ender gets support on his new destiny from Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford)

Part of a worthy cast rather than stealing anybody’s thunder, Harrison Ford, playing Colonel Hyrum Graff, further solidifies himself as a supporting character actor of note in one of his better post Indiana Jones/CRYSTAL SKULL roles, and has some intriguing scenes with Butterfield’s “Chosen One”, whom he makes the leader of the newly
resurrected Dragon Squad of young warriors. Gruff and determined not to let the human face fall, Graff totally believes in Ender’s abilities, and will seemingly do all that he can, short of murder, to see the boy reach his prime as the ultimate defender of humanity...

Academy Award nominee Viola Davis adds subtle weight as the child psychiatrist sparring with Ford for the boys emotional well being in the trials and tribulations ahead, though Hailee Steinfeld, who so impressed with her fiery performance in TRUE GRIT, is strangely underused as Ender’s loyal friend, Petra. No longer the pacifist he portrayed in Gandhi, actor Ben Kingsley’s heavily facial tattooed character of Mazer Rackham adds some mystery before delivering important plot material needed to launch the film in to what will be it's eventual CGI layered climax.
Into the Battlesphere training area.

But its the first half of the film, with Ender’s selected to enter the military, finding his way up the ranks, gaining friendship and life experiences, that proves the best and most satisfying elements to watch, well acted and staged by director Gavin Hood, last seen helping Hugh Jackman flex his adamantium claws for his first solo WOLVERINE movie (and clearly a huge fan of Ford’s previous dramatic sci-fi output, too - check out the quite obvious BLADE RUNNER tribute scene at the film’s mid-point!).

Frustratingly spurned by its creator before its release, who was unhappy with some adaptive changes made by the production team and studio, ENDER’S GAME has the blockbuster trappings people want, but it isn’t forgettable, popcorn drowning fluff. Instead, keeping to the spirit of the author’s work, its serious sci-fi theme is layered within a coming of age anti-war story of sorts. However, it’s a sometimes uneasy fusion between the two elements that becomes a poison chalice in some areas of the films pacing structure, especially felt as it moves into its “War is Hell” second half- the stakes raised ever higher for our young hero. Don’t expect any STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE style uplifting finale with medals and applause here, either. These days, that kind of spirited warmth is out of fashion...
The first half of the film takes place above Earth on the Battle School space station

With the exception of the Battlesphere module used to train the new recruits into soldiers - an important part of the book series satisfyingly realized, some aspects of the concept visuals don’t feel quite so innovative and fresh as they surely were when conceived for the printed page back in the eighties. On screen, its visual translation/design has earlier shades of 2001 mixed with the military feel of STARSHIP TROOPERS, plus a hint of the Geonosis insect action finale of STAR WARS EPISODE II.

Fortunately, with his classy cast, Gavin Hood, challenged by adapting the book into a digestible screenplay (paring down some parts of the storytelling in order to convert it to moving pictures), makes the film an intelligent and worthwhile enterprise, clearly showing his enthusiasm for the project from the get-go whilst also trying to ground it with some serious moral depth and debate on the ethics of war.
Ender meets Earth's first alien battle hero: Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley)

Ultimately, the finale is generally satisfying but rather low-key, as Ender’s first fiery participation in the Formics war leads to future consequences and a continued destiny of an altogether different kind, giving the film its true coda and ultimately humanitarian message- something that’s not a bad thing to have amidst a sea of aimless blockbusters these days.

The likely stunning Blu-ray has the important behind the scenes extras, whilst the DVD Special Features prove disappointing: namely several audio commentaries and a few very brief deleted scenes (showing Ford’s character as a much more subtly manipulative figure in the grand scheme of things), with optional audio commentary from Hood. ENTERTAINMENT ONE could have tried a lot harder in this area for non Blu purchasers and fans…

AFICIONADO RATING: Uneven storytelling in places, but there's enough good material located within it to make it a solid entry into the pantheon of sci-fi/fantasy. 3.5 out of 5

OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/EndersGameUK

Monday 10 March 2014


Having used the secret underground passages on the waterfall side of the city, Queen Amidala leads her forces, and the Jedi escort party of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, towards the Theed Hangar Bay, in this deleted scene moment from EPISODE I.


Seeking a good life for himself and his young family in Hollywood, actor/carpenter Harrison Ford had made a reasonable career in some American film and TV appearances-of which all whom worked with him at that time had seen and noted his potential for superstar megadom. But such success had seemingly failed to materialise, at least not until he accepted the intriguing part of space pirate extraordinaire Han Solo, for some little known film being made in England during 1976, called STAR WARS. 

The rest is history. 

The first UK MAGAZINE COVER I saw Ford adorn, linked to the blow everybody away success of STAR WARS, was this one- a title that saw his incredible future on the horizon: genre magazine favourite PHOTOPLAY, then at its true editorial peak in the mid-seventies. This super-cool image would help cement his icon status as the character and the actor in years to come...

Image via The Star Wars magazines reference guide

An outtake image from that classic London photo shoot adorns the upcoming cover of Book Two in the upcoming post EPISODE IV set EMPIRE and REBELLION novel trilogy, courtesy of CENTURY PUBLISHING UK. Honour Among Thieves, written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (writing as James A. Corey), arrives from 24th March 2014, and looks set to reunite heroes and villains from the Outer Rim all over again...

Here's the cover blurb:

When the Empire threatens the galaxy’s new hope, will Han, Luke, and Leia become its last chance?
When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.
But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.
But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s x-wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.

The Genesis and Goals of Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves | Star Wars Blog | Star Wars Blog

Get hold of the book here: Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars Empire and Rebellion: Amazon.co.uk: James S. a. Corey: Books

And look out for AFICIONADO's book review in the not too distant future...

Sunday 9 March 2014


A whole host of intergalactic goodies await lucky US viewers, as they finally get to see the completed episodes of THE CLONE WARS Season Six- or The Lost Missions, as its now been called, from this month.

▶ Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- The Lost Missions: Trailer - YouTube
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Lost Missions Now on Netflix | StarWars.com

Featuring the much-anticipated vocal return of Liam Neeson as the ethereal Force ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, an ice planet-set story arc involving Season Two's previously seen senator Rush Clovis, a deadly trip undertaken by Yoda into the heart of the Sith genesis, a look back to the mysteriously elusive Jedi Sifo-Dyas, and, most importantly, a grim foreshadowing of the events of ORDER 66- and even the murky swamp vistas of Dagobah thrown in for good measure, there's something for everyone in this surely stunning conclusion to five previous years of epic and thoroughly absorbing storytelling. Thank you and goodbye to our Prequel era heroes and villains, and a big thank you to Dave Filoni and his team for such a stunning job in bringing STAR WARS to new heights of animated brilliance.

I've said it before, but STAR WARS: REBELS has a helluva lot to live up to after this....

Mystery and danger ahead for Shaak Ti.


TheForce.net: In New Interviews, Dave Filoni Discusses The Clone Wars Bonus Content

‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’: Dave Filoni on Ahsoka’s fate, Master Yoda | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episodes, Videos and Games | StarWars.com

'Clone Wars' director Q&A: Final episodes answer big 'Star Wars' questions | Inside TV | EW.com

Samples of composer Kevin Kilner's work for the series: MUSIC • KEVIN KINER

The Top 10 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episodes - IGN


We're only into March of this new year and already fantasy novelist Tim Lebbon is having a great time. Not only did he bring back warrant officer Ellen Ripley back to the ALIEN universe with great acclaim and gusto, but he's now back in the land of Sith and Jedi for his all new stand-alone hardcover tie-in to the promising and action-fuelled DAWN OF THE JEDI historical action series: Into the Void, out 13th March from CENTURY PUBLISHING.

Here's the enticing cover blurb:

On the planet Tython, the ancient Je’daii order was founded. And at the feet of its wise Masters, Lanoree Brock learned the mysteries and methods of the Force—and found her calling as one of its most powerful disciples. But as strongly as the Force flowed within Lanoree and her parents, it remained absent in her brother, who grew to despise and shun the Je’daii, and whose training in its ancient ways ended in tragedy.

Now, from her solitary life as a Ranger keeping order across the galaxy, Lanoree has been summoned by the Je’daii Council on a matter of utmost urgency. The leader of a fanatical cult, obsessed with traveling beyond the reaches of known space, is bent on opening a cosmic gateway using dreaded dark matter as the key—risking a cataclysmic reaction that will consume the entire star system. But more shocking to Lanoree than even the prospect of total galactic annihilation, is the decision of her Je’daii Masters to task her with the mission of preventing it. Until a staggering revelation makes clear why she was chosen: The brilliant, dangerous madman she must track down and stop at any cost is the brother whose death she has long grieved—and whose life she must now fear.

Includes a special, full-color excerpt from the Dark Horse comic Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi and an original Dawn of the Jedi short story by John Ostrander!

Get hold of the book here: Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi eBook: Tim Lebbon: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The author will be doing a special signing for the book at London's FORBIDDEN PLANET bookstore on March 20th 2014, from 6-7pm.