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Sunday, 11 May 2014

LAUNCHING THE LEGEND. PIC FOUR: 'THE PHANTOM MENACE' 1997

"Good luck everybody. Now lets kick some ass!" Rick McCallum snaps the clapperboard to EPISODE I's filming.

In the run up to commencement of EPISODE VII's PINEWOOD STUDIOS principal photography, apparently slated for May 14th, 2014, STAR WARS AFICIONADO presents a key image from the first days shooting of the previous six films of the saga.

June 26th, 1997. With the Original Trilogy completed and satisfying audience expectations by May 1983, STAR WARS fans would have a very long wait for the technological capabilities of the special effects industry to catch up with George Lucas's dreams and ambitions for his history-revealing Prequel Universe. By 1997, and the release of the souped up STAR WARS TRILOGY: SPECIAL EDITIONS packed with new CGI creatures and environments bolstering and recapturing his enthusiasm, along with sustained box office profits (combined with a massive merchandise tie-in deal with BURGER KING/PEPSI-COLA), the long-promised three-film saga showing the rise of the Empire and the fall of a Republic, that would gradually lead into the events of STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, could finally, excitedly, begin.

After years of conceptual art planning, animatics and story formulating, Lucas, with his new long-time producer Rick McCallum, was ready, as were the spirited and excited new international cast and crew assembled, as the UK's Leavesden Studios facility became home to intense and pioneering STAR WARS production with EPISODE I, then with the working title of The Beginning. No ambitious, time-consuming action scenes would be tackled on the first day, however-instead there would be a key scene introducing the new series deadliest super-baddies, specifically the return of Ian McDiarmid as everyone's favourite malevolence, now at a time before becoming The Emperor, and referred to here by his Sith Lord title of Darth Sidious, conferring with his new protege: the lightsaber duelling, Jedi killing nemesis that is Darth Maul, played by stuntman Ray Park. From the night-time balcony of Senator Palpatine's luxurious office apartment on Coruscant, the duo's plans for the domination of the Republic will secretly begin.

The Phantom Menace has emerged...


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