Thursday 30 April 2015


Before they disappear into decayed oblivion, I thought I'd scan and post my Polaroids from my family's visit to the excellent RETURN OF THE JEDI costumes, props and artwork exhibition based for one month only at London's then prestigious HARRODS department store, during May 1983- packed with great items, a selection of that eagerly awaited first wave of PALITOY action figures with the new ROTJ logo on (Mum bought me a Royal Guard!), and a superb teaser trailer on a television loop that I just watched and watched gobsmacked alongside other kids (I'll always remember gasping when Han and Chewie were on the skiff as it overturns from laser fire, Leia getting wounded (I thought she was going to die!) and Wedge's X-wing and Falcon manoeuvring across the Death Star II landscape)- three years of waiting since TESB and I was finally seeing some new STAR WARS footage! Great times, of which I hope today's kids are just as excited now about THE FORCE AWAKENS as I was back then about JEDI.

Sorry about the overall quality, but I think you guys and gals will enjoy looking at them nonetheless. At the time, the newer characters/creatures got the most attention in front of the camera.

Love the McQuarrie diorama background, plus Endor Leia and Jedi Luke to the corner.
The UK's first proper look at the Royal Guards.
A Mon Calamari and those recognisable droids.
A special alcove recreation of Jabba's Palace, with Han in carbonite.
A Gamorrean Guard makes an ominous appearance.

Another fan has a more expansive set here: Return Of The Jedi Exhibition, Harrods, London, May 1983


Warwick Davis, some old friends, and very happy fans, welcome back STAR WARS!

Here's some more great shots we hadn't previously seen from the very special THE FORCE AWAKENS live streaming event from CELEBRATION ANAHEIM to London's EMPIRE Leicester Square IMAX cinema, hosted by Warwick Davis.


All images by James Gillham/Sting for DISNEY UK.

Warwick acts as a fine compere to events.
Old enemies enjoy popcorn and posters!
The live transmission has begun!
The new stars on the block!
A character-packed performance!


Down amongst the brisk and varied nightlife of the Coruscant gambling district, Zam Wesell's damaged speeder prepares to make a fast crash-landing, in this colourful conceptual art image for EPISODE II by Ryan Church.

Wednesday 29 April 2015


BB-8 gets a proper introduction at CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. Image: Curtis Reynolds.

Anyone with prior doubts about BB-8, the newest droid heading into the STAR WARS universe with THE FORCE AWAKENS, were quickly bowled over and had their hearts warmed by his very cute premiere appearance and personality showcased at the recent CELEBRATION ANAHEIM convention. And he/it's so tiny when appearing alongside his "big brother" in Artoo Detoo!

Quite the scene stealer at CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/GETTY IMAGES for DISNEY.
BB-8 with Rey (Daisy Ridley) on the scavenged world of Jakku at the start of THE FORCE AWAKENS. Film images: DISNEY/LUCASFILM.
Artoo and BB-8 at CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. Image: Alberto E.Rodriguez/Getty Images for DISNEY.
A nervy BB-8 hasn't yet won over Han Solo. But it won't be long...

I look forward to seeing both of them in action this December, especially BB-8, what with his journeying alongside the no doubt intimidating presence of Harrison Ford's Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon, and riding into X-wing action with the Resistance against the First Order.


Newly arrived on one of the sky platforms at Coruscant, Queen Amidala's loyal retinue guards the main ramp to her starship, whilst Supreme Chancellor Valorum's blue armoured bodyguards begin their ceremonial flank. A deleted scene from EPISODE I, of which a brief moment showing George Lucas directing can be found on the 2011 Blu-ray release. Note later THE HOBBIT star Richard Armitage as the helmeted guard on the left of the ramp.

Tuesday 28 April 2015


As a skilled and talented art director, he's helped directors like Christopher Nolan, Sir Richard Attenborough and Steven Spielberg bring their epic movie-making visions to life- from the gritty realism of A BRIDGE TOO FAR, to the comic book heroism of that Darkest of Knights, Batman, in BATMAN BEGINS, and even the quirky fun of DISNEY's spirited live-action version of 101 DALMATIANS. But Alan Tomkins is best remembered by STAR WARS fans for his behind the scenes work at the UK's Elstree studios and on location for the original two groundbreaking movies of the Classic Trilogy: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

Tomkins will be sharing his photo collection and anecdotes on the STAR WARS films, as well as his expansive movie career in general, for a new book coming this June- Stars and Wars, published by THE HISTORY PRESS. Just from looking at the cover alone, with its two rare main images, this will surely be eagerly awaited...

More info and preorder details from THE HISTORY PRESSStars and Wars | 9780750956178


A big day for Luke Skywalker. Images: Ann Skinner/BFI.

Arrived at Anchorhead's Tosche Station, the ever-enthusiastic Luke prepares to depart his landspeeder vehicle and see his buddies, in this intriguing behind the scenes continuity Polaroid shot taken in Tunisia by Script Supervisor Ann Skinner, during the near end of filming in Tunisia- April 1976. Note the wooden block supports holding up the speeder at each corner.

Side angle of the Speeder supported by wood planks.
Mark keeps his hat on!

Miss Skinner's January 1st, 1976 continuity script, currently held in the BFI Special Collections, would have specific red underlining for any scenes that were to have been handled in the US by ILM. This particular arrival shot was originally red underlined to have had an establishing background matte painting, described as showing "heat discharging electro bins generating heat waves from a dozen or so bleached white buildings", as well as a "power stand" and some kind of "robot". By the revised 15th March 1976 script draft, however, this idea had been dropped.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI Special Collections.

Monday 27 April 2015


Catherine Taber and David Collins at the forefront of SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY.

The second THE FORCE AWAKENS teaser, STAR WARS REBELS Season Two, ROGUE ONE, BATTLEFRONT- just some of the big memories and events to savour from the recently finished CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. But let's not forget some of the other highlights that, if you didn't catch them at the time live or via the Verizon live stream, are equally worthy of tracking down. The prime standout for me had to be SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY, the second instalment of the well produced and directed Han Solo audio drama trilogy created and written by Kyle Newman and F.J. DeSanto for the US CELEBRATION events, featuring David Collins doing a very worthy job recreating the role of everyone's favourite space smuggler, alongside many of the excellent voice cast from THE CLONE WARS animated series, playing old and new heroes and villains whose destinies are quickly interlinked with Han and Chewbacca...

Meet the Cast of Smuggler's Bounty |
Star Wars: Smuggler's Bounty - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

As someone who adored the Brian Daley audio drama adaptations for the Classic Trilogy (still available on Highbridge Audio CD) with their brilliant fusion of drama and sound design, listening to SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY instantly recaptured the fun of that unique time, in a format for the franchise that 's genuinely worthy of resurrection. Newman has stated that he has a 300 page audio drama script adaptation of THE PHANTOM MENACE ready to go- which I think everyone should support and ask LUCASFILM to produce. Imagine a Prequel Trilogy on audio that's truly depthful in exploring events and character actions that could only be briefly explored in each two hour plus movie. Remember how good that 13 episode STAR WARS was back in 1981? That could be done with THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH, especially if it utilises the talents of Newman, an enthused Prequel devotee, and that CLONE WARS series animated cast.

Enjoy SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY on the Youtube/Verizon link, around the 3 hour, 15 minutes mark:  ▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Live Stream, Powered by Verizon - Day 3 - YouTube

And look out for a refined version of the story on STARWARS.COM in the not too distant future- make your presence known to the powers-that-be that you like it, and want more!

Sunday 26 April 2015


Back during World War II, the American flying pilot heroes had sex siren Betty Grable as their icon painted on their planes as they went into life or death battles. And in the universe of the Clone Wars, one group of irregular helmeted Republic heroes have their deserved new pin-up in that equally sexy champion of justice: Padme Amidala. Let's just hope Anakin doesn't see it! Oh, too late!

A piece of previously unseen concept art for the sadly never fully competed "Batch Batch" story arc from THE CLONE WARS, revealed by Dave Filoni at a special panel and screening at CELEBRATION ANAHEIM 2015.

Check out the cool liveblog trasnscript and superb conceptual art for those episodes that were not to be - featuring Wookiees and Tusken Raiders no less! - here: SWCA: The Untold Clone Wars Panel Liveblog |



The quiet and unassuming town of Midwich. Population 2,000. A place where everybody knows everybody, and life is good and prosperous. Good, that is, until 10am on the morning of their annual summer fare, as the inhabitants are suddenly knocked out for six hours by a mysterious and unknown power, of which a select group of women inexplicably find themselves pregnant and ultimately birthing a group of silver haired, intelligence and extra senses enhanced, super dangerous children who can kill just by looking at you, possessing a unique biological imperative to survive and prosper as the ultimate rulers of the Earth. By any means necessary...

Christopher Reeve's teaching skills soon become an annoyance to his "class"!

▶ John Carpenter's Village Of The Damned (Trailer - 1995) - YouTube

Now celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary, master of horror and fantasy John Carpenter's remake of the classic British sci-fi tale VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, sprung from the ideas-packed mind of acclaimed novelist John Wyndham, and also previously made as an eerie B/W movie of the Fifties that would make both a visually memorable impact on Carpenter's childhood and play a vital part in the formulation of his filmmaking career, is a tightly made and enjoyable transfer to modern leafy America. Main star Christopher Reeve, in his sadly last performance before his all-too-tragic horse riding accident, shows quiet character and ultimate courage as the town doctor trying to find a way to make the children discover their humanity, though soon realising that they are just too dangerous and must be stopped at all costs before their powers can accelerate further. Co-star Kirstie Alley returns to some serious acting, after her comedic stint as goofy Rebecca in CHEERS, to play the cloak and dagger incident liaison scientist who has secret theories about the creation of the superchildren, whilst CROCODILE DUNDEE's sexy Linda Kozlowski plays the caring and conflicted single mother whose unique child she must win over from the collective brood he has become symbiotically linked with. Plus, of course, there's a fun, if all too brief appearance from STAR WARS veteran Mark Hamill, shedding his heroic Luke Skywalker image to play an emotionally unsettled priest who realises all too well, and quicker than most in Midwich, the dangers which they all face, planning to take his own individual action- even if means going against his principles as a man of the cloth. "The Children", with their eerie visual appearance and memorable ILM optically enhanced eyes, led by Lindsay Haun and Thomas Dekker, are also very good and prove the film's ultimate standouts. After all this time, VILLAGE remains highly watchable and visualised with enthusiasm, yet it feels way too short at 94 minutes and could perhaps have done with more character development and atmosphere build-up in between its creepily calculated bouts of horror and physical injury perpetrated by those ruthlessly logical, dark-minded creatures who'd truly never make it to Sunday School!

Sensing the horror to come: Mark Hamill as Reverend George.

I've seen VILLAGE on HD TV before, but this UNIVERSAL/FABULOUS FILM's Blu-ray release showcases the best picture and sound quality yet, accompanied by a singular but enjoyable teaser trailer.

AFICIONADO RATING: It may not be up in the higher echelons of his previous iconic work with THE THING or BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, but VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is a satisfying entry in the John Carpenter biography, presenting an overall story concept that continues to be worthy of examination and remaking. 7.5 out of 10.

Gte hold of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED on Blu-ray here: John Carpenter's Village Of The Damned [Blu-ray]: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Mark Hamill, John Carpenter: DVD & Blu-ray

Saturday 25 April 2015


It was the powder keg waiting to be detonated- the flame of Rebellion against the Empire launched by a lone Jedi previously abandoned to an uncertain fate and now finding a life and cause to believe in, well-teamed alongside a Twi'Lek female out for payback against the many cruel and evil overlords making their unpleasant mark across the galaxy, cemented in their position by the leadership of the corrupt Emperor Palpatine. The birth of STAR WARS REBELS is confidently brought to life by acclaimed novelist John Jackson Miller, as the officially canon adventure A New Dawn, a big success in its original hardback release last quarter, makes its way into handy UK paperback, courtesy of ARROW, and with a foreword by the series co-creator Dave Filoni.


He's coming for you...

And a lively preview for our heroes next animated TV adventures this Summer, with the fearsome return of you-know-who:

▶ Star Wars Rebels Season Two Trailer (Official) - YouTube
Learning More About Rebels At The Celebration Press Conference -
Star Wars Rebels Strikes Back at Celebration |

Friday 24 April 2015


STAR WARS AFICIONADO is proud and delighted to present a limited series of exclusive images featuring stunning digital effects/model work by ILM, linked to the second teaser of the eagerly awaited The Force Awakens.

Day Three: One down, one to go, as the Millennium Falcon, still chased by a skilled First Order TIE fighter pilot intent on catching its prey, enters the vast interior of a long abandoned, heavily salvaged cruiser wreck. A genuinely evocative and expansive image, shown in greater scope and clarity than what was seen in the second teaser, which also, story-wise, cleverly reveals the enormity and cost of the Galactic War aftermath post RETURN OF THE JEDI.

With thanks to DISNEY UK  for their continuing help and support.

Thursday 23 April 2015


STAR WARS AFICIONADO is proud and delighted to present a limited series of exclusive images featuring stunning digital effects/model work by ILM, linked to the second teaser of the eagerly awaited The Force Awakens.

Day Two: Its weaved its way through asteroids and exploding Death Stars, and now Han Solo's trusty smuggling vessel, the Millennium Falcon, despite many prior bumps and bruises and another change of ownership, gets to prove her worth all over again to her berthed crew mates, spectacularly and breathlessly manoeuvring in, out and around the wreckage of numerous immense crash-landed space vessels littered across the dune wastelands of Jakku, whilst pursued by two of the First Order's most lethal TIE fighter pilots.

A soon classic, sensational scene from EPISODE VII, shot in Abu Dhabi, realised via helicopters and IMAX cameras, that will get STAR WARS fans whooping and cheering with delight!

With thanks to DISNEY UK for their continuing help and support.

Wednesday 22 April 2015


STAR WARS AFICIONADO is proud and delighted to present a limited series of exclusive images featuring stunning digital effects work by ILM, linked to the second teaser of the eagerly awaited The Force Awakens.

Day One's picture shows scavenger Rey, former Stormtrooper Finn and little BB-8 escaping from lethal air assault via a TIE fighter duo, in one of the salvage yard townships of the desert plains of Jakku- a planet caught in the dying echoes of prior galactic warfare. Soon, a very familiar vehicle will become their salvation, though leading to a whole new world of IMAX screen-sized trouble.

With thanks to DISNEY UK for their continuing help and support.

Tuesday 21 April 2015


The latest STAR WARS CELEBRATION event proved a genuine sell-out. Convention floor images: Curtis Reynolds.

Four days of soon-to-be-pop-culture-legend STAR WARS magic at Anaheim, California have come to an end, but let's continue savouring the good and the great moments from this year's popular event. Thankfully, grim reports of very long lines, poor crowd control, inadequate parking facilities, an internal air conditioning system that almost froze everybody to death, and venue areas not big enough to house desperate-to-get-in attendees ultimately didn't dampen fandom's incredible, nay rabid, enthusiasm for the evolving universe past and present that is the STAR WARS saga, especially after that opening morning trailer reveal...

▶ Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2 - YouTube
Star Wars executive 'staggered' by teaser reaction - BBC News
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Viewed 88 Million Times In 24 Hours |
▶ Bob Iger Interview with - Star Wars Celebration Anaheim - YouTube

Re-introducing the beloved veterans of the saga... Image: ZIMBIO.
... and introducing the next heroes! Image: BOSTON GLOBE.

Special thanks also to LUCASFILM, REEDPOP, and VERIZON for their live-streaming efforts across the four days, of which worldwide fans not able to attend this stellar event could enjoy so many great panels and show floor interview exclusives.

▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Live Stream, Powered by Verizon - Day 1 - YouTube
▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Live Stream, Powered by Verizon - Day 2 - YouTube
▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Live Stream, Powered by Verizon - Day 3 - YouTube
▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Live Stream, Powered by Verizon - Day 4 - YouTube

Finally, Abrams and Kennedy meet the worldwide fans and unveil THE FORCE AWAKENS!

Kennedy and Abrams launch THE FORCE AWAKENS▶ The Force Awakens Panel LIVE from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. International - YouTube

Boyega, Ridley and Isaac, and droid buddies, backstage at the event. Image: ZIMBIO.

Inside the Magic | Star Wars Celebration Anaheim
The sights of Star Wars Celebration (pictures) - CNET - Page 13
JJ Abrams Buys Pizza For Everyone Waiting in Line at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim |
▶ Kathleen Kennedy Interview with - Star Wars Celebration Anaheim - YouTube

AFICIONADO contributors at large. Curtis has a mighty bone to pick with the Rancor!
Whilst Mel is struggling to catch up with Rey!
The new heroes of STAR WARS REBELS get their deserved time in the spotlight.

▶ J.J. Abrams Interview with - Star Wars Celebration Anaheim - YouTube
▶ Mark Hamill describes his VO for The Force Awakens Trailer - YouTube
Mark Hamill admits he had 'no choice' over reprising Star Wars role for The Force Awakens | Metro News
Carrie Fisher: 'I was quite the space slut' - Telegraph
▶ Star Wars Battlefront Reveal Trailer - YouTube

Han Solo's back in trouble again!
Mel gets to check out the latest Imperial hardware...
... and personally inspect the chrome!

Star Wars Celebration: Billy Dee Williams insists he’s no smooth operator | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times
Star Wars Celebration: Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid recalls ‘Return of the Jedi’ | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times
The force awakens the rumour mill: the craziest new Star Wars theories | Film | The Guardian
Rebelscum Star Wars Photo Archive

Intriguing, early concept art for the gritty combat adventure, STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE.

SWCA: Rebel Women Who Fought the Clone Wars Panel Liveblog |
▶ Star Wars Celebration Anaheim: Rebels Season 2 Panel and Premiere Review!! - YouTube
'Star Wars Rebels' Season 2 Trailer Packs In Plenty of Darth Vader - The Hollywood Reporter
Star Wars: Rogue One will be a prequel to the original trilogy | The Verge
STAR WARS CELEBRATION 2015 Promo Art by Craig Drake — GeekTyrant

And, in 2016, STAR WARS CELEBRATION EUROPE returns to its rightful home- the UK, for three days from July 15th- 17th. Get your tickets here: Buy Tickets - Star Wars Celebration • April 16 - 19, 2015


So, did Darth Vader's ominous and evil presence in the new STAR WARS REBELS Season Two trailer get you amped for more Dark Side action? Well then, you'll gonna love the latest CENTURY PUBLISHING hardback release featuring the double-whammy team-up of both Vader and his Master, Darth Sidious, fighting for survival on a war-torn Ryloth, during the latest canon adventure from the LUCASFILM Story Group that is Paul S. Kemp's exciting Lords of the Sith.

Here's the story blurb:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

Look out for AFICIONADO's review soon, once Darth Vader has relaxed his Force choke on us!

Get hold of Lords of the Sith here: Lords of the Sith: Star Wars (Star Wars: Jedi Academy Trilogy): Paul S. Kemp: 9780345511447: Books


UPDATE 20/4/15: Rob Inch was confirmed as Stunt Coordinator for THE FORCE AWAKENS via STARWARS.COM's CELEBRATION ANAHEIM ROGUE ONE update: Rogue One Details Revealed at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim |

No stranger to the sci-fi arena with his recent work as Stunt Coordinator on FOX's ALIEN Prequel Prometheus, EPISODE VII's apparent new Stunt Coordinator (as recently listed on IMDB), Rob Inch, is no stranger to the STAR WARS universe, either, having been Liam Neeson's stunt double on several lightsaber duel sequences for EPISODE I, as seen here alongside Ray Park, Andreas Petrides and Prequels Coordinator/legend Nick Gillard, for a fun behind the scenes image on the Theed Hangar set at Leavesden Studios in 1997.

We wish Inch success with the action-packed new beginning to the franchise, surely stepping into the biggest of successor shoes after such impressive prior work established by Gillard and Classic Trilogy veteran Peter Diamond...

Rob Inch - Film and TV Stunt Co-Ordinator - represented by Sara Putt Associates

Monday 20 April 2015


A new life and new dangers for Finn (John Boyega) in THE FORCE AWAKENS. EP VII imagery: Disney.

From watching the new teaser trailer (a zillionth time!) for THE FORCE AWAKENS, its clear to see that J.J. Abrams and his film's costume designers are clearly continuing to weave the connective tissues between their new STAR WARS universe and that originally created by George Lucas and his first costume designer John Mollo- specifically here with John Boyega's ex-Stormtrooper turned hero character of Finn, getting out of the bulky white combat armour and into something that's very heroically familiar to that worn by Luke Skywalker from A New Hope.

Rey, Finn and BB-8 under TIE fighter attack on the desert world of Jakku.
Finn's costume as premiered at STAR WARS CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. Image: Curtis Reynolds.
A closer look at the concept art for Finn's attire. Note: Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber in his coat pocket.
That now iconic yellow ski jacket from A New Hope.
One of the classic publicity/costume reference images from 1976 of Mark Hamill, without the jacket.