Saturday 28 February 2015


Bringing dark side tyranny and terror in his wake, the world's favourite baddie, Darth Vader, returns for a hopefully exciting in-the-armour cameo within the final explosive episode of STAR WARS REBELS first season- Fire Across the Galaxy - airing in the US this March 2nd on DISNEY XD, and coming to the UK soon after. Known as the place where Jedi go to die, will our small band of heroes survive the fiery realms of Mustafar and its Imperial guardians?

Star Wars Rebels: "Fire Across the Galaxy" Trailer | Star Wars Rebels |
▶ Star Wars Rebels | He's Alive | Fire Across the Galaxy - YouTube
Interview: Dave Filoni on Star Wars Rebels, Part 1 |

Friday 27 February 2015


Between being caught in battle with Imperial Stormtroopers, and before his new bargaining with Jabba the Hutt (played in human form by Declan Mulholland), our space pirate hero Han Solo had one more problem leaving Docking Bay 94 with his Alderaan-bound charter. Trouble in the form of a snidey Imperial bureaucrat, Montross, and two of his armed officers. In the original shooting script for STAR WARS, Montross would be thankfully foiled by the smuggler's quick thinking skills, during what would have been an inconsequential but fun character showcase for Harrison Ford and Han Solo. Sadly, the Falcon interior scene, of which Bill Bailey (a friend of the late Richard Le Parmentier-originally considered for the role of Montross before being Motti) had been cast in the role and was ready on the day, apparently in costume, was ultimately cut because the Elstree filming on the Docking Bay set with Jabba had encountered problems, causing delays which were already pushing the film over schedule and costing money.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO proudly presents a PDF of this rare deleted scene exclusive in its scripted entirety, part of Ann Skinner's original continuity script for the movie, via the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Original STAR WARS AFICIONADO PDF feature on Montross:


Ric Olie's fighter squadron takes to the air, away from Naboo and into battle with the Trade Federation, in this lovely composite shot for EPISODE I which visually conjures up the kind of Flash Gordon-esque imagery that first inspired Lucas to make his fantasy saga back in the early seventies.

Thursday 26 February 2015



The American-based experiences site IfOnly has contacted STAR WARS AFICIONADO with special news of a terrific opportunity to charity bid for a unique personalised, one-of-a-kind photo of the cast of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS from their first script table reading, along with an equally special Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Lucasfilm. May the Force be with you all for this very worthy cause.

Here's the details:

Adam Driver has Joined Forces with IfOnly to Benefit Arts in the Armed Forces with a Unique Star Wars: The Force Awakens Online Auction  

Star Wars Fans Can Bid to Win A One-of-a-Kind Signed Photo and Behind-the-Scenes Tour at Lucasfilm

SAN FRANCISCO (February 26, 2015) – IfOnly, a marketplace for experiences that donates a portion of its proceeds to charities, has announced the launch of its partnership with Lucasfilm and actor Adam Driver with a chance to win a hand-signed photo by the cast of Star WarsThe Force Awakens and a tour of the Lucasfilm campus in San Francisco.  The auction, which will benefit Adam Drivers’ cause Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), is open for bidding today and will end on March 19, 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18, 2015.

The signed photo includes faces and signatures from many of the cast members from the original films as well as the new members joining them in Star WarsThe Force Awakens. The photo is only one part of the auction, however: the winning bidder will also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lucasfilm campus at the Presidio in San Francisco.

The photo alone is a special collectable, but the signed version is invaluable to the “Star Wars” enthusiast. When the film was publicly announced, each cast member was given a copy of the first photo of them together, taken during one of their first table reads of the script. Adam asked each cast member to sign a copy and is auctioning it off to benefit Arts in the Armed Forces, an organization he co-founded that brings performing arts to the military free of charge.  Driver’s career prior to being cast in “Star Wars” doesn't follow any of the typical Hollywood plotlines. His path took him through the military, to Juilliard, and then to a career in film and television. Passionate about helping those in the military, Adam uses his cause to bring performing arts to other service members.

“AITAF brings quality entertainment to veterans and those currently serving. We cultivate tonally eclectic, often hilarious content that focuses on the human challenges we all share. We recruit great actors to read it, and make it cost-free. Though AITAF offers an artistic experience that can’t immediately be quantified, the feeling after an AITAF performance is tangible, as we watch someone from the military ‘get’ that the act of self-expression is as powerful a tool as the rifle on their shoulder.” – Adam Driver, founder, Arts in the Armed Forces

The photo is signed by most of the cast, listed below.
Signatures include:
·         Adam Driver
·         J.J. Abrams
·         Harrison Ford
·         Mark Hamill
·         Carrie Fisher
·         Lawrence Kasdan
·         John Boyega
·         Oscar Isaac
·         Andy Serkis
·         Kathleen Kennedy
·         Daisy Ridley
·         Lupita Nyong’o
·         Gwendoline Christie

Option to add signatures from:
·         Anthony Daniels
·         Domhnall Gleeson
·         Bryan Burk
·         Peter Mayhew

To reach the IfOnly concierge with questions, please call 415-754-8167 or
About IfOnly

IfOnly delivers extraordinary experiences for good.  Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Trevor Traina, IfOnly is a premium experiential marketplace that offers exclusive experiences to customers who are passionate about food, wine and spirits, music, sports, entertainment, travel and beyond. IfOnly partners with A-list luminaries to curate dream experiences at every price point, with a trusted charity benefiting from each purchase. Now the largest site for curated or customized offerings, IfOnly has expanded its vertical categories to include outdoor adventure, fashion, gaming, niche leisurely activities and more. To date, IfOnly has worked with celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Kobe Bryant, Andre Agassi and Alice Waters, collectively raising money for more than 200 different charities.

About Arts in the Armed Forces
Arts in the Armed Forces bridges the cultural gap between the United States Armed Forces and the performing arts communities by bringing the best of contemporary theater to the military free of charge. AITAF programming accentuates the shared humanity of all Americans by using performance to unite artists and service members and encourage dialogue. AITAF enlists artists of the highest quality and chooses thought-provoking content with an eye to what might speak to this particular audience.


Here's a scene from STAR WARS that I want to see included on the upcoming Blu-ray release no matter what-I don't care if it turns out good or badly realised, I just want to see it. It's the moment after the TIE fighter battle where Han and Luke congratulate themselves on their laser gun targeting skills. There's a real "Whoa, look what we did!" expression on Luke's face. Classic.

UPDATES: 26/3/2015. Access to Ann Skinner's continuity script reveals some handwritten extra dialogue notes added to the TIE attack aftermath filming, linked to this scene:

LUKE: Hey, that was great! Listen, just going to the deck to see if the droids are okay.

HAN: Okay. Smooth shooting, Kid.

LUKE. Thanks.

In the following Falcon cockpit scene, just before Han sits down to talk to Leia, there's a reason why Chewie departs to the corridor, as revealed in another of Skinner's handwritten script additions:

HAN (to CHEWIE): Hey pal- good going. You did great. Go check the aft coverter. We took a couple of hits real close to that.

Acclaimed historian/archeologist Doctor David West Reynolds saw this original footage back in 1999, viewing it as part of 13 B/W film reels once referred to as 'The Lost Cut'. Here's how he described the scene in an article in Star Wars Insider:

'As Luke and Han emerge grinning from the gun turrets, Han turns to congratulate Luke, socking him on the arm and shaking him. Luke grasps his hand. Their relief at the victory is emphasised in this shot, but the important shading here is the developing friendship between the two.'

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.

Wednesday 25 February 2015


In one of the vast Death Star corridors, Vader stalks an old foe...



Ben hides in the shadows of a narrow passageway as twenty or thirty stormtroopers * rush past him in the main hallway. He checks to make sure they're gone, then runs down the hallway in the opposite direction. Darth Vader appears at the far end of the hallway and starts after the old Jedi.

* Denotes change to six Stormtroopers- this is confirmed in Ann Skinner's continuity script and a scene marked colour Polaroid of the Stormtroopers on-set, within the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.



Ben hides in the shadows of a narrow passageway as several stormtroopers rush past him in the main hallway. He checks to make sure they're gone, then runs down the hall in the opposite direction. Darth Vader appears at the far end of the hallway and starts after the old Jedi.

Stormtroopers on their way through an arched shield door corridor. This image corresponds to a continuity Polaroid for Scene 111, with the same studio/set lighting.
On the same set, a stealthy Obi-Wan watches them disappear.
Again on that set, a droid (actor unknown) walks past before Vader appears in shot. Image: via STARWARZ.COM. 
Still in the corridor, a shot not in the film, likely linked to Vader catching a glimpse of Kenobi.

Looking at Ann Skinner's Continuity Script from the original 1976 filming, the moment of Vader silently shadowing Kenobi, following on from Ben's evading the Stormtroopers (and still part of Scene 111), was likely filmed, though it never made the finished cut. In STAR WARS post-production editing, several separately filmed sequences/retakes of Kenobi and Vader filmed in the same corridor were changed (a reaction shot of Kenobi was flipped to a different direction), cut, or shifted around across the Death Star interior sequences of the finished movie.

Unless improvised whilst shooting and not listed (unlikely), Vader's sensing the nearby Kenobi (with lightsaber in hand), and the Dark Lord's heavy breathing rate altering as he feels the presence of his old master in the Force, were a clever addition by the film editors and Ben Burtt in post. This scene isn't in the Revised Fourth Draft Script of 19th April 1976, or in the later published script/transcript hybrid version of THE ART OF STAR WARS book. This second sensing by Vader of Kenobi, after the Falcon's tractor beam capture, would cleverly heighten his soon after exchange with Tarkin about the return of his old foe.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS for their help and assistance.

Tuesday 24 February 2015


The celebratory poster signalling the return of STAR WARS to the big screen!

Twenty years ago this year, after prior meetings between them two years earlier, serious work would be initiated by George Lucas and 20th Century Fox to restore the original Classic Trilogy of STAR WARS in time for its then milestone Twentieth Anniversary cinematic re-release, a scenario that would also act as an important primer for the then upcoming new Prequels films which Lucas had begun writing and preparing from the end of 1994. To say the remastering job would be immense would be an understatement. Apparently, the deterioration of the negatives, especially for the original first film, was in a far worse state than originally thought, resulting in huge cleaning and restoration work needing to be done, and several of the best original Technicolor release prints having to be utilised for selected sequences (including one copy in the collection of producer Gary Kurtz). Additionally, viewing several scenes from the original movie that he'd never been happy with back in the day due to time pressures, lack of resources and technology, Lucas decided to replace or "repair" certain scenes with all-new CGI effects shots- another tester for the ground-breakers of ILM after the success of JURASSIC PARK and an indication of what could be done for the future with the Prequels. Additionally, previously deleted scenes would be added where desired, alongside other specially shot new sequences at ILM. Finally, the trilogy would receive a brand new sound mix from the series dedicated long-term sound designer, Ben Burtt, who hadn't really been allowed to go near the original mix (apart from being a consultant), handled by veteran Sam Shaw, back in 1977.

▶ "Star Wars Trilogy (1997)" Special Edition Trailer - YouTube
▶ Star Wars special edition 1997 making of (part 1 of 3) - YouTube
▶ The Empire Strikes Back special edition 1997 making of (part 2 of 3) - YouTube
▶ The Return of the Jedi special edition 1997 making of (part 3 of 3) - YouTube
▶ Sci-Fi Channel Special -- "The Force Returns -- Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition" (1997), [RAW]* - YouTube
▶ Star Wars MTV Movie Special 1997 part 1 of 3 - YouTube
▶ Star Wars IV Special Edition Comparison Death Star Battle - YouTube
Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope (Comparison: Special Edition - DVD Edition) -
▶ Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition DVD Trailer - YouTube
▶ Conan O'Brien 'Mark Hamill 3/18/97 - YouTube

Publicity material for the soon to follow VHS releases.

Arriving like a juggernaut at just the right time and place in the worlds of entertainment and sci-fi from January 1997, the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITIONS, released in a serialised every couple of weeks way, would have fans young (many of whom had never seen the films in a cinema) and old re-hooked on their favourite heroes and villains, of which additional publicity and exposure would be generated via a huge promotional tie-in with BURGER KING and COCA-COLA, with profits/funding to LUCASFILM going towards the costs of bringing EPISODE I to life. At the time in 1997, the majority of audiences enjoyed the fact that STAR WARS, whether it was upgraded or not, was back, and that they could finally see it the way it was meant to be experienced- as part of a cathartic response within movie theatres. At that time, he new scenes and enhanced sound were also welcomed and considered a part of that enjoyment process. But such celebrations weren't to last- as the following three years progressed die-hard fans enjoyment and willingness to accept the SPECIAL EDITIONS was tainted with the news that Lucas preferred these new versions over the original movies and didn't want the latter released on DVD or Blu-ray (though a non anamorphic 1995 laserdisc master set would eventually materialise on DVD around 2006- designed to generate needed profits for LUCASFILM). With the DISNEY takeover of 2012, and the impending release of EPISODE VII, fans will hopefully get their dreams of an anamorphic, unaltered STAR WARS Classic Trilogy release on Blu-ray made reality, but let's not dismiss those original 1997 SPECIAL EDITIONS- there were some genuine improvements here and there, and they had far less creatively divisive changes made to them than what would later be seen by the further "upgrades" by 2004 and 2011. Nor should we forget the genuine and heartfelt impact the returned Trilogy brought in, affectionately reawakening the franchise for good with worldwide audiences...