Wednesday 24 December 2014


Darth Vader makes a conversion to the confectionery side, for Kinnerton's UK Xmas chocolate advent calender!

The Happiest of Xmas and New Year Greetings to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide!

See you in line next year for THE FORCE AWAKENS!

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and co. in 1980: Star Wars on Blue Peter! - YouTube

Check out the Awesome 'Star Wars Rebels' Crew Christmas Card | The Star Wars Underworld

Lucasfilm Christmas Card (featuring Artoo and Chopper!): Happy Holidays

Tsuneo Sanda Christmas Card: Greeting Card 2014

Tuesday 23 December 2014


Stunning preview art for EPISODE VII, for Entertainment Weekly magazine, by Martin Ansin.

To say 2015 is going to be an exciting time for STAR WARS fans of all ages is surely an understatement! Here's just a small sneak peak of what will be catching AFICIONADO's specific attentions, as The Force Awakens...

EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (in cinemas worldwide from December 18th, 2015)

* Hopefully some new footage for February's US SUPERBOWL half-time entertainment/movie promos period, as well as selected behind the scenes footage at CELEBRATION in Los Angeles in April, plus footage and cast and crew attendance at SAN DIEGO COMIC CON in July; a second teaser trailer for May's STAR WARS DAY, and a final extended trailer and new character TV introduction spots by at least October/November.

* New EPISODE VII sneak peaks in all the UK film and sci-fi magazines. EMPIRE film magazine, which has a strong relationship with Abrams/Bad Robot and Disney/Lucasfilm, are bound to have special previews by summer-time and October. Continuing the tradition, the US VANITY FAIR and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY will likely do something special as well! Expect Daisy Ridley to be on the cover of VOGUE or ELLE by at least December.

* Expect several tie-in MARVEL comics featuring lead-ins to specific events and characters of EPISODE VII, plus the later adaptation of the film.

* John Williams surely stunning soundtrack, available by at least mid-December.

* Disney Theme Parks ride/material linked to the film, with new contributions (either voice work or specially shot footage) from its new younger heroes, notably John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

* Official novelisation- rumoured to be penned by Alan Dean Foster.

* Massive three-wave set of trading cards rumoured from TOPPS, separate or alongside its new Masterwork series.

Rian Johnson will be directing EPISODE VIII.


* Pre-production work, animatics and early special effects sequences will gather apace in the US and London from Summer onwards, with Rian Johnson on board for writing/directing duties. Luke and Leia will apparently continue to make vital contributions to VII and IX.


* Commences shooting at Pinewood Studios around May, written by Gary Whitta, directed by Gareth Edwards. May involve a pre-EPISODE IV story about how the Rebels, using help from bounty hunters and other shady associates, win their first major victory against the Empire and capture the original Death Star plans.


* EPISODE III gets a limited 3D release later in the year (US TBA), possibly followed by IV to VI in the format (US). The Classic Trilogy may get an additional non-3D theatrical release in the weeks of anticipation to EPISODE VII.

* Classic Trilogy to finally arrive unaltered, but restored in sound and picture quality, by November on manila Blu-ray, via DISNEY in special arrangement with LUCASFILM and FOX.


* The continuation of Season One, beginning in the US on DISNEY XD and online from early January, featuring the vocal return of Frank Oz as Yoda, Billy Dee Williams, and a possible second Vader cameo. Complete Season DVD release expected by October.

* Season Two, beginning next September/October, with possible guest voices (for a flashback sequence?) from Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker and Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano. Plus some kind of linkages in and out of that year to EPISODE VII.

* A possible Obi-Wan TV special of some kind may be in the works- TBA.


* A mountain of EPISODE VII related books for readers young and old by November/December, including a novel tie-in (arriving after the film's release in cinemas), a storybook, several visual guides from DORLING KINDERSLEY (with a spread peek at new ships in next summer's Definitive Guidebook), plus a Making of, likely by J.W. Rinzler.

* At least two lavish new archive-related SW books from J.W. Rinzler/ LUCAS BOOKS spread through the year, with separate publicity features via STAR WARS INSIDER.

* Original novels: Luke Skywalker stars in Heir to the Jedi, Vader and Palpatine in Lords of the Sith, and Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos in Dark Disciple, all in the UK from Winter to Summer via CENTURY PUBLISHING.


* MARVEL unleashes its new series of Classic Trilogy adventures in January, including separate Darth Vader and Princess Leia mini-series in February and March. It also continues its digitially recoloured reprints of classic past comic stories and film adaptations in physical and online form.

Monday 22 December 2014


This is one bar where, when you walk into it, nobody is going to shout out, "Norm!"

In charge of the Mos Eisley Cantina, Wuher (Ted Burnett) confers with a host of intergalactic patrons, including, far left, an unknown actor- who'd also be seen in 1976 for the second season episode of SPACE: 1999 - The Metamorph - as the small pig-nosed alien once known in the production notes as "Little Aunt Beru", originally to have been female and played by Gilda Cohen; Angela Staines and Christine Hewett as two "space hookers/aka Star Whores" who would become the more politically correct and child readership friendly Tonnika sisters in the Expanded Universe, and, right at the back with the goggle hat, Tommy Weldin as one of Jabba the Hutt's thugs, Gela Yeens.

In a 1977 interview, Carrie Fisher recalled that many of the unusual looking actors chosen to play aliens for the first movie came from a very distinct London casting agency, called Uglies, Inc. Before filming her first scenes as Leia, Fisher visited the Cantina set briefly, and enjoyed it.

Another great rare polaroid from the recent BFI exhibition collection of STAR WARS' 1976 Continuity Supervisor, Ann Skinner.


Meet the Humans from the Mos Eisley Cantina | StarWars.com

Sunday 21 December 2014


The formidable Savage Opress, now allied with his brother Maul, begin their rein of terror in the Outer Rim, killing anyone, or any Jedi, that stands in their way- as seen during the opening scene events of the Season Five episode Revival.


Rounding off 2014's landmark celebration of 30 classic and inspiring years of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is this lovely cover, by Jackson "Butch" Guice, to the film's compiled comic adaptation, as part of the Marvel Super Special series of 1984. I personally had never seen this particular art piece before, so I thought it was worthy of posting.


Saturday 20 December 2014


Filming the classic scene between Leia and R2 on the Blockade Runner at Elstree - July 1976. Image: Ann Skinner.

The original 1976 version of Princess Leia's message for Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Ann Skinner's UK continuity script for STAR WARS:

"General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack, and I fear my mission to return with you to Alderaan has failed. I have fed information vital to the survival of all free planets into the memory systems of this R-2 unit... my father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour... You must help me Obi Wan-Kenobi, you are my only hope."

From an earlier 3rd Draft Continuity Script of 15th March, 1976:

"Commander Obi-Wan Kenobi, I present myself in the name of the royal family of Alderaan, and the Alliance to restore the Republic. I break your solitude at the bidding of my father, Bail Antilles, Viceroy and Chairman of the Alderaan system. Years ago Commander you served the Republic in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to aid us again in our most desperate hours. He would have you join him on our home planet Alderaan. You must go to him! I regret I am unable to present my father's request to you in person... my mission to return with you has failed, information vital to the survival of the Alliance has been placed in this droid... my father will know how to retrieve it. I plead with you to see this R-2 unite safely delivered to Alderaan. You must help  me, you are my last hope." 

Skinners' advance pre-filming character notes for LEIA ORGANA, from 1976

"Sc(ene).4: puts information into R2, 16 years old. Member of the ALDERAAN SENATE, Sc.42: Her father once the ruler of Alderaan"

A wealth of Ann Skinner's rare polaroid images behind the scenes of the original STAR WARS, alongside sections of her continuity script, are currently on display at London's British Film Institute, until 4th January, 2015.

On the set of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope | BFI


Now blossomed into womanhood, the beautiful Natalie Portman strikes a dreamy pose modelling another of Trisha Biggar's equally stunning costume designs for Padme Amidala, during early events of EPISODE III.

Friday 19 December 2014


At Stuart Freeborn's London premises, the mighty gangster Jabba the Hutt- one of the most ambitious, time consuming and costliest creative projects ever undertaken in make-up construction for a movie- enters its final stages.

Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth - Life Inside Jabba the Hutt - @Jamieswb on Vimeo

Wednesday 17 December 2014


As suns-set begins on Tatooine, a friendly Jawa points the way to Anakin Skywalker as he continues his search for his mother, kidnapped and taken into the depths of the harshest of wastelands, in this lovely image taken during location filming in Tunisia by George Lucas himself, for EPISODE II.

Monday 15 December 2014


Having knowingly walked into a trap, Luke Skywalker, arrived in the hot and eerie Bespin Carbon Freezing Chamber, awaits his destiny with Darth Vader, in this classic scene- a colourised B/W still - from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Saturday 13 December 2014


Art by Paul Shipper.

To all the dedicated fans young and old across this fair isle, and to those hundreds flocking to the British Film Institute on London's picturesque South Bank to immerse themselves from the cold in a special Classic Trilogy Special Edition film screening, a genuine warm-up to EPISODE VII next Christmas, May the Force Be With You!

UPDATED 15/12/14: 8 things we learned from Star Wars Day | BFI

Thursday 11 December 2014


In the Theed Hangar on Naboo, a fast as lightning Obi-Wan Kenobi launches into a group of Battle Droids in order to free captured soldiers and pilots now vitally needed to help Queen Amidala escape her planet, whilst also setting up a resistance force against their Trade Federation occupiers. An exciting scene, and showcase for Obi-Wan's Jedi abilities, from EPISODE I.

Tuesday 9 December 2014


Showing its roots as a deliberate homage celebration to the classic fantasy comic/book adventures of FLASH GORDON and JOHN CARTER, this is the cover to a very special, and very rare, auction collection piece (belonging to early STAR WARS spacecraft designer Colin Cantwell), of George Lucas's original epic, altogether very different screenplay draft for the film from the early seventies, when it was evocatively known as Adventures of the Starkiller

If anyone has any more on this, or who the cover artist was, please get in touch...

More on Colin Cantwell's rare auction pieces (including other work on 2001 and the BUCK ROGERS TV series) can be found here: Unseen Star Wars artwork and designs come up for auction, in pictures - Telegraph

With thanks to Chris Baker for the heads-up on this.

Monday 8 December 2014


Luke Skywalker is front and centre of the action in Drew Struzan's exciting cover for Vonda N. McIntyre's 1994 Expanded Universe hardback tale, The Crystal Star. And let's face it, the cover really was the most popular thing about a book that quickly and sharply divided fandom on its original release twenty years ago. I personally found it a chore to read- a shame as McIntyre is a solid author- with characterisations for our core heroes that felt way off base in most respects.

Sunday 7 December 2014


Eventual Mrs Spielberg Kate Capshaw rehearses the classic comedy moment where Willie tries to recover a unique diamond, only to lose it, firstly kicked around, then buried within a floored pile of ice, during the film's incident-packed opening sequence.

Saturday 6 December 2014


The brief new sequence may not quite match with the existing John Williams 1977 music, but I nonetheless love this evocative shot from the EPISODE IV SPECIAL EDITION, where a Rebel sentry witnesses X-wing fighters lifting off from the Yavin IV jungle and heading towards the Death Star. It exemplifies the satisfying mixing of beauty, nature and technology often seen in the Classic Trilogy.

Interestingly, this visual idea for the shot was always present in the original script for STAR WARS-noticeable in the Revised Fourth Draft of 19th April 1976, depicting four fighters emerging from the mist enveloped foliage and heading skywards.

Thursday 4 December 2014


Yoda's finest Wookiee protectors on Kashyyyk - leader Tarfful and technician Chewbacca- pose for a great publicity image in 2003, for EPISODE III.

Tuesday 2 December 2014


Classic cover art by Dave Dorman for the DARK EMPIRE comic series. 

1991 was an incredible year for STAR WARS fans. Timothy Zahn had unleashed the first in the Thrawn Trilogy of books giving us a potent mixture of story, characters and action continuing the saga after Return of the Jedi which pretty much remains unequalled and unparallelled in its success in the franchise's Expanded Universe literary history. Then, by the end of the year, came an assault on our visual senses via the relaunch of the saga's comics dominion, via Dark Horse, picking up the rights to do a new series of adventures after MARVEL had given up the ghost and the unique opportunity at resurrecting its popular title (which had been axed before its time) - of course now, as of 2015, its a whole different story! Arriving to satiate fevered fan demand in comic stores worldwide, bouyed by atmospheric cover art by Dave Dorman (long before unfairly being left out of creating official sell-out CELEBRATION convention artwork), the unleashed Dark Side focused six-part epic that was Dark Empire.

Six years after the big Ewok party bash of Jedi, and the Empire returning events of the Thrawn Trilogy, things look gloomier than ever for the Rebel Alliance now that they've been pushed back from the main core by an enemy that's now at civil war with itself. Luke Skywalker remains the beacon of light and hope, but when he's captured by a clone copy of the resurrected Emperor Palpatine - whose life force transferred after his "demise" on the second Death Star -  it now looks as if our former farmboy, possessing growing powers in the Force than ever before, has now seemingly swayed his allegiance towards the dark side of his family lineage (a scenario that Mark Hamill had ultimately wished had happened to his character in Jedi), with only Princess Leia, now a Jedi herself and capably using the Force and handling a lightsaber, heading into the deepest regions of the galactic core, on a rescue mission, alongside familiar support from Han Solo, Chewbacca and the other icons. Can Luke be rescued before The Emperor unleashes a devastating Dark Force wave against the last vestiges of the Rebellion?

Tom Veitch's script is a worthy continuance of the saga (especially with its major action sequences) and its epic scope, giving us new backstory and concepts still being used today (including some teases about the Clone Wars (which had still yet to be defined-Lucas at that time not yet focused on coming back to do the Prequels) and solidifying the use of Jedi Holocrons), whilst nicely developing Luke's character arc and bringing back The Emperor- an enemy too worthy to be left rotting at the bottom of the Death Star's reactor core. Here we get him not just in his decayed form but also as a new, more youthful and powerful opponent, culminating in his clashing sabers with Luke in an exciting finale sequence. The mixing of old and new characters (we even get to see one of Han Solo's former girlfriends!) is confidently handled, as is the further ease of bringing additional baddies back from the grave (like Boba Fett- and yes, I can hear all those fans cheering out there!). Scots artist Cam Kennedy's exhilarating and highly detailed art would be a genuine thrill to behold (I remember being in awe of the the first issue, in particular with its showing of the Imperial City ground civil war and Luke singularly taking on an Imperial Walker!), investing the saga with all-new kinds of weapons and technology - some of which would debut in of their time officially sanctioned role playing games - mostly on the Empire's side (immense world devastators, probots big enough to devour spaceships and remote controlled TIE fighters being just some of the stand-out examples), plus new worlds to discover (like the immense and treacherous purple rock formations of the fifth moon of Da Soocha, the Imperial power enclave of Byss, and the exploration of key worlds linked to the Classic Trilogy, like the moon of Nar Shaddaa or the water planet of Mon Calamari (brutally attacked by The Emperor's new forces). Special kudos to Kennedy for his distinct and atmospheric use of colour to heighten the drama in a way that I hadn't really seen done before in previous STAR WARS MARVEL comics - making the adventure feel more like a part of the filmic universe and its continuity than ever before.

J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan may never have seen this comic book series, but I can't help feeling that, like some of the early EU books, a lot of the upcoming EPISODE VII will inherit a similar spirit in dark storytelling (especially linked to the Skywalker lineage and the rumoured idea of their having the Empire and Rebels apparently in an uneasy alliance against a new civil war fraction), featuring likely character clashes between friends now distanced from each other, alongside a visual style and similar upgraded continuity to the visual motifs, spaceships, weaponry and armies previously seen during IV to VI.

Still one of Dark Horse's finest entries, and the first and best of the Veitch/Kennedy sagas, continuing to build on the returning heavy fan demand for new STAR WARS adventures, if you haven't read the original Dark Empire previously, it's well worth your time discovering.


A prelude to the Xenomorph war, ALIEN: River of Pain bares its teeth!

Arriving in stores and online with the ferocious speed of a Facehugger attack comes TITAN BOOKS final entry in the all-new ALIEN 35th Anniversary series- River of Pain. Respected genre talent Christopher Golden's eagerly awaited telling of the tragedy of the doomed Hadley's Hope colonists seen in the 1992 Special Edition of James Cameron's barnstorming action/scare fest ALIENS, reveals how the biological Xenomorph threat would be unwittingly reborn to cause bloody terror and chaos anew...

Facing greater dangers than ever before: Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Newt (Carrie Henn) in ALIENS.

Check out the KOOL TV review here: KOOL TV REVIEW: 'ALIEN - RIVER OF PAIN' NOVEL

Get ALIEN: River of Pain here: Alien: River of Pain (Novel #3): Amazon.co.uk: Christopher Golden: 9781781162729: Books